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The International Burn Foundation (IBF) was conceived and created by Dr. James Carlton Tanner, Jr. in 1983. Dr. Tanner's vision was to establish a prize that would be awarded to a person or persons who has or have made an outstanding contribution to any aspect of burn management or to an outstanding practitioner of burn treatment. Dr. Tanner provided the initial trust fund for this award. It was also his goal to promote the aims of the International Society for Burn Injuries (ISBI) and to motivate individual investigators to perform research, undertake patient care and treatment, and attempt to solve other aspects of the burn problem. The primary purpose of the IBF is to administer the trust fund which was initially provided by Dr. Tanner and to choose the recipient of the prize.


Dr. Tanner enlisted the help of Dr. John A. Boswick, then the Secretary General of the ISBI, to be the first Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Foundation. In recognition of Dr. Boswick's vital role in establishing the IBF, the prize is known as the Tanner-Vandeput-Boswick Prize (TVB Prize). It was Dr. Tanner’s desire to have the ISBI serve as the forum through which the prize is awarded. Beginning in 1986 The Burn Prize has been awarded every four years. The Prize consists of a gold pin that is emblematic of the award and a cash prize which has grown to be approximately $100,000 US dollars.


Dr. Tanner's passion for this field of medicine and research originated from his practice in Atlanta, Georgia where along with Dr. Jacques Vandeput, he developed the prototype instrument for meshing and expanding skin grafts knows as the Tanner-Vandeput mesh dermatome. The new method of expanding donor skin with the dermatome machine was a major advance in the care of burns at that time. It was through Dr. Tanner's lifetime of practice and research that he was motivated to establish the International Burn Foundation as a vehicle to carry on his goal to improve care of the burned patient.

James Tanner
Jaque Vandeput

Jacque J. Vandeput, MD, FACS

1935 -

James Carlton Tanner, MD, FACS
1921 - 1996
John Boswick
John A. Boswick, MD, FACS
1926 - 1999

Dr. J. C. Tanner was born and educated in Georgia. After receiving his MD degree from Medical College of Georgia in 1946, he began his surgical practice in 1952 and became an instructor at Emory University, Department of Surgery in Atlanta.

His interest in research led to involvement in many areas including corneal transplants, techniques in partial nephrectomy and proctology and developments to gauge burn depth.

In 1962 Dr. Tanner and Dr. Jacques Vandeput, a plastic surgery resident from Belgium, developed the Tanner-Vandeput Mesh Dermatome to allow skin to be serrated and stretched over a patient's burn. This device was widely used in treating burns and contributed substantially to the survival rate of burn patients. The device continues to be an important tool of burn treatment today.

Dr. Tanner was a founding member of the American Burn Association in 1969 and joined the International Society for Burn Injuries when it began. During the mid-1970's Dr. Tanner and several other doctors founded Doctors Memorial Hospital in Atlanta.

In 1983 Dr. Tanner established the International Burn Foundation of the United States for the purpose of promoting and administering a Prize for Burn Research.

Dr. Tanner retired from medical practice in 1979 but remained active and interested in burn research until his death in 1996. In 1985 he received the Distinguished Service Award of the Southern Medical Association

Dr. Jacques Vandeput was born in 1935 in Belgium, and educated in that country. He received his MS and MD degrees from the University of Louvain. From 1958 through 1965 he studied at a variety of hospitals and universities in North America.

In 1962 he was a resident in plastic surgery at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia where he became acquainted with Dr. J. C. Tanner. They worked extensively on many projects including development of the Tanner-Vandeput mesh dermatome, a device widely used in treating burns and still an important tool of burn treatment.

Since that time Dr. Vandeput has been involved in the practice of plastic surgery and burns in Belgium. He was Clinical Professor of Surgery at the University of Louvain and is currently Professor of Physics in the Engineering School at Hasselt University, as well as on the staff of Holy Hart Hospital in Tienen, Belgium.

He is board certified in plastic surgery by the American Board of Plastic Surgeons, a member of the American Burn Association, the International Society for Burn Injuries, American College of Surgeons and many other professional organizations.

Dr. John Boswick was born in Galatia, Illinois and educated in that state. He received his masters and medical degrees from Loyola University in Chicago.

Dr. Boswick was the founding director of the Sumner Koch Burn Unit at Cook County Hospital in Chicago which he led until 1972 when he moved his medical activities to Denver, Colorado.  There, he became Professor of Surgery at the University of Colorado and Chief of Hand Surgery at University Hospital.

In 1984 he went into private practice for hand surgery and worked extensively in the field of burn and wound care, becoming a consultant to a number of pharmaceutical companies.

Dr. Boswick was a founding member of the American Burn Association, the International Society for Burn Injuries, and the Wound Healing Society. He also held leadership positions in many medical societies and organizations including the American College of Surgeons.

In 1983 he worked with Dr. J. C. Tanner to establish the International Burn Foundation and served as Chairman of the board until his death in 1999.

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