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Leonard N. Zinman, MD

Leonard N. Zinman, MD, FACS, FRCS (Hon), Professor of Urology and one of the founding fathers of reconstructive urology, passed away on June 26, 2021.

Dr. Zinman was a graduate of Boston University and Tufts University School of Medicine. He completed his surgical training at the Boston VA and Urology Residency at the Massachusetts General Hospital, where he was inspired by both Drs. Wyland Leadbetter and W. Hardy Hendren to pursue a career in genitourinary reconstruction. He joined the Lahey Clinic in 1964 before embarking on fellowships in Reconstructive Urology with Mr. Richard Turner-Warwick at the Institute of Urology in London, England from 1967-68, and Renal Transplantation at Middlesex Hospital from 1973-74 with Mr. David Innes Williams at Newcastle Royal Infirmary, New Castle, England.

Dr. Zinman, whose career at Lahey Hospital and Medical Center exceeded 50 years, founded the Center for Reconstructive Urologic Surgery at the Lahey Clinic in 1973.  While at Lahey he served as residency program director from 1970-1990, and Chairman of the Department of Urology from 1986-1993.  In 1987, Dr. Zinman co-founded the Society of Genitourinary Reconstructive Surgeons (GURS) with Drs. Gerald Jordan, Charles Devine, and Charles Horton, and served as president in 1992.

During his long and distinguished career, Dr. Zinman made significant, innovative contributions to the field of urology. His academic work includes over 130 peer-reviewed published manuscripts, multiple textbooks, and numerous visiting professorships. At Lahey, Dr. Zinman was instrumental in creating one of the finest urologic reconstructive centers in the country. His pioneering efforts changed contemporary reconstructive urology, helping improve the lives of patients worldwide. In his own words:

“Our major contributions over the past three decades have been the development of techniques to repair radiation injuries, male genital cancer, integrated use of axial muscle and myocutaneous flaps with oral mucosa onlay grafts in long segment high risk strictures, the adjunct use of antiproliferactive antifibrotic injectable agents, and the use of alternative grafts.”

Dr. Zinman won numerous awards during his career, including election to the American Association of Genitourinary Surgeons (1994), Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons (2010), AUA Lifetime Achievement Award (2015), Society of Genitourinary Reconstructive Urologic Surgeons (GURS) Lifetime Achievement Award (2019), and the Frank Lahey Award (2019).

Yet, the true impact of Dr. Zinman’s career is not encapsulated by the awards and achievements he received during his illustrious career, rather, by the profound impact he had on all those who knew him.  Dr. Zinman had a passion for medicine and insatiable thirst for knowledge and inquiry.  He loved his patients and colleagues, and we all loved him back. In addition to improving patients’ lives, he trained countless residents, forever impacting future generations of urologists.

The urologic community has lost a visionary surgeon, leader, and friend. We will forever be grateful for the impact he had on all of us.

Dr. Zinman leaves behind his beloved wife, Roberta (Green) Zinman of Canton, his son, Eric Zinman of Cambridge, and loving brother Murray Zinman of Connecticut and the late Samuel “Sonny,” Israel, Beverly, and Ethel Zinman. Dr. Zinman was the son of the late Harry and Gussie (Katz) Zinman.

As an expression of sympathy, contributions may be made to the Reconstruction Urologic Surgery Fund in memory of Leonard Zinman, MD, sent to Lahey Hospital & Medical Center, c/o Philanthropy, 41 Mall Rd, Burlington, MA  01805.  You may also donate online here.


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