A native of Brooklyn, NY, Dr. Kushner was Chief of Hematology from 1991 through 2010. Dr. Kushner received his medical degree from the University of Pittsburgh in 1962. His interest in hematology was inspired by Dr. Wallace Jensen (a former Utah Hematology fellow). He transferred to the University of Utah as a clinical Hematology fellow and received his initial clinical and research training under the aegis of Dr. Wintrobe and Dr. Cartwright. He was appointed to the faculty in 1970 and rose through the ranks with appointment as Professor in 1983. In 2003 he was awarded the Maxwell M. Wintrobe Distinguished Professorship.
His research focused on genetic disorders of iron metabolism (particularly hereditary hemochromatosis) and heme biosynthesis (particularly the porphyrias). His research was continuously funded by National Institutes of Health for more than 25 years, and during that time, he published over 130 original, peer-reviewed papers. He deduced the etiology of sporadic porphyria cutanea tarda, and his research on the genetic basis of porphyria was recognized by the National Institutes of Health by a MERIT Award. As a result of his leadership, the Division of Hematology was twice recognized by a Center of Excellence in Molecular Hematology Award from the National Institutes of Health. He contributed significantly both to clinical studies on the diagnosis and management of the porphyrias and to basic studies that elucidated the biosynthetic pathway of heme, and he is recognized internationally as an authority on the clinical, genetic and molecular characteristics of hereditary hemochromatosis.