Board of Directors nominees
Board of Directors election Jan. 13 – 27, 2021
The following slate of nominees was approved in December by the Board of Directors for the annual Board election. The ballot for the national Board of Directors election will be open January 13-27, 2021. Only designated voting representatives of members with voting privileges and member electors may cast a vote in the annual Board election. Designated voting representatives for each member organization and member individuals will receive emailed instructions for casting their vote from email@example.com in January 2021.
The Board slate is developed in alignment with the Nominating Committee’s annual needs assessment, identifying the key skill sets, expertise, and perspectives most needed in the coming year. The Nominating Committee also ensures that Board composition is compliant with OPTN and UNOS bylaws as well as regulatory requirements for its service as the OPTN. Membership on the Board of Directors is open to transplant professionals and members of the general public alike.
How are nominees selected for the Board of Directors?
Anyone who wishes to serve on the Board of Directors must first apply by completing a Volunteer Interest Form each cycle they wish to be considered. Once your form is submitted, there are three ways to become a nominee to the Board:
- Through the Board’s Nominating Committee: The Board Nominating Committee selects nominees for Officer, At Large, and Patient & Donor Affairs positions. These nominees compete in the national election on contested ballot positions.
- Through your Regional Nominating Committee: Each OPTN Region’s Nominating Committee selects nominees to participate in a regional election for Associate Regional Councillor/Regional Councillor-Elect. Associate Councillors serve a two-year term to the MPSC before participating in the national membership election on an uncontested ballot position for Regional Councillor to the Board of Directors.
- Via a Medical/Scientific Society: Five professional transplantation societies select nominees from their membership to participate in the national election on uncontested ballot positions.
- The American Society of Transplantation (AST)
- The American Society of Transplant Surgeons (ASTS)
- The Association of Organ Procurement Organizations (AOPO)
- The American Society for Histocompatibility & Immunogenetics (ASHI) or The College of American Pathologists (CAP)
For more information about the OPTN Board of Directors, visit https://optn.transplant.hrsa.gov/members/get-involved/.
Who may cast a vote in the election?
Only designated voting representatives of OPTN members with voting privileges and member electors may cast a vote in the annual Board election. Complete details on voting privileges are outlined in OPTN Bylaw 1.1.B. You may request the name of your organization’s designated voting representative by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
Membership categories with voting privileges are:
- Transplant hospital members (one vote per hospital)
- OPO members (one vote per OPO)
- Histocompatibility laboratory members (one vote per independent laboratory)
- Medical/scientific members (one vote per member)
- Public organization members (No more than 12, cast by public organization member electors)
- Individual members (No more than 12, cast by public organization member electors)
Nominees are selected by the Board of Directors Nominating Committee.
Vote for one
Matthew Cooper, M.D.
Director, Kidney and Pancreas Transplantation
Medstar Georgetown Transplant Institute
Biography and personal statement
Matthew Cooper, M.D., FACS, is a Professor of Surgery at Georgetown University School of Medicine and the Director of Kidney and Pancreas Transplantation at the Medstar Georgetown Transplant Institute.
Upon receipt of a medical degree from the Georgetown University School of Medicine in 1994, Dr Cooper completed his general surgery training at the Medical College of Wisconsin followed by a fellowship in multi-organ abdominal transplantation in 2002 at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, MD. He joined the transplant faculty at Hopkins upon completion of his training and was appointed Surgical Director of Kidney Transplantation and Clinical Research in 2003. Dr. Cooper joined the University of Maryland in 2005 directing the kidney transplant and clinical research program until 2012 following which he assumed his current role in Washington, DC.
I am grateful for the nomination for President. I have been an active clinical transplant surgeon since completing my fellowship at Johns Hopkins in 2002. I currently serve as the Director of a large volume Kidney and Pancreas Transplant Program and the Physician Director of Quality Assurance and Performance Improvement at Medstar Georgetown University Hospital. My primary research interest is in the field of ischemia/reperfusion in kidney transplantation and interventions for DGF.
I have been involved in this organization immediately following the completion of training attending and actively participating in regional meetings. In 2004 I was selected as the Region 2 Representative to the Living Donor Committee followed by 4 years as its Vice Chair and Chair. During this period, I contributed to the formation of the current Joint Society’s Workgroup structure to allow for earlier deliberation among the transplant societies regarding policies potentially impacting clinical care. I was then invited to participate as a committee member for the inaugural Kidney Paired Donation (KPD) subcommittee followed by my first 2-year period of elected service on the Board as an ad hoc member in 2012. In 2015 I was elected an Associate Regional Councilor providing an opportunity to serve on both the Policy Oversight Committee and the Membership and Professional Affairs Committee followed by 2 years as the Region 2 Councilor and representing the region on the Board. I served as co-chair of a successful Ad hoc Systems Performance Improvement Workgroup that brought together patients, donors and professionals across the entire transplant landscape to build a framework for improved collaboration and cooperation to increase donation and transplantation. I currently serve as President Elect and chair the Nominating committee.
I have served on the ATC planning committee for 6 years including the privilege of acting as Chair in 2018. I hold current leadership activities with ASTS, NKF, DLA and the AFDT. I am confident I have been either elected or chosen for these leadership positions due to my genuine interest in inclusivity and an ability to organize large diverse groups, appreciate the complex dynamics of interdependent professionals and to listen carefully to both personal requests and the overall climate of the transplant community.
I have valued my last decade and a half of experience in service. I would like to introduce the diverse opportunities of the organization to even a broader, more diverse audience. My primary location alone in the District will permit my presence for the issues and collaborations that demand an immediate audience with Congress and regulatory bodies. I truly believe I am well positioned to address the needs of the organization, its members and to be its voice when called upon. I will not take my responsibility or this position for granted and thank-you in advance for your support and collaboration.
Vote for one
Jerry McCauley, M.D., M.P.H.
Medical Director of Transplantation Services, Chief of Nephrology and Vice Chair Diversity, Inclusion and Equity
Thomas Jefferson University
Jerry McCauley, M.D., M.P.H., FACP is the Chief of Nephrology and Robert Capizzi Professor of Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia. He is also Medical Director for Transplantation Services at Thomas Jefferson Health System and Vice Chair for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Department of Medicine.
Dr. McCauley has been involved with UNOS almost since its inception, including committee assignments, workgroups and subcommittees. He is a past chair of the OPTN Minority Affairs Committee and has served on the executive committee’s committee governance working group and board governance subcommittee. He has also been a part of the OPTN Policy Oversight Committee, the simultaneous liver-kidney working group, and the membership and professional standards committee, where he participated in the performance analysis and improvement subcommittee. Dr. McCauley also served on the ad hoc communications committee. He has completed a tour on the board in June 2020.
He was a trustee-at-large for the National Kidney Foundation of Western Pennsylvania as well as a member of the Quality Insights Renal Network 4 board of directors. He helped start two new multiorgan transplant programs: one of the original four US kidney and liver transplant programs at the Veterans Administration in Pittsburgh, and the Mediterranean Institute for Transplantation and Advanced Specialized Therapies in Palermo (ISMETT), a joint effort by the Italian government and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. He was part of the team who developed Tacrolimus from inception and provided nephrology support for the last two xenotransplants in humans (baboon to human liver transplants). He was Medical Director of Kidney, Pancreas and Islet Cell transplantation for approximately two decades at the University of Pittsburgh during its most active period. In addition to his work in the areas of his primary responsibility, he has been deeply involved in the management of liver, heart, lung and composite (hand and arm) transplants while at the University of Pittsburgh.
In addition to his clinical and administrative duties, Dr. McCauley has been active in research throughout his career. He has published more than 120 articles in peer reviewed journals and 37 book chapters. The vast majority have been in the area of transplantation. He also co-edited a book “Contemporary Kidney Transplantation” published in June of 2018 and is completing editing a second book “Approaches to Chronic Kidney Disease” which should be available by February 2021. His studies have ranged from whole animal (acid-base and electrolyte) to cell culture, registry studies, randomized control and case series. His current interests are in health policy and health equity.
Dr. McCauley earned his medical and bachelor’s degrees at Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH and his master’s in public health from the University of Pittsburgh. His MPH (multidisciplinary) emphasized health policy and epidemiology both of which have been very useful in developing policy and advising senior leaders in the Covid pandemic at his institution.
He has been involved in almost every area as a volunteer to UNOS and has done this during most of the life of UNOS. He possesses a unique “corporate memory” for UNOS and has participated and witnessed the evolution of the organization into what it has become. The extensive experience, commitment and expertise should make him an almost ideal candidate to lead the organization as vice president and president. His guiding principles are fairness and service. He has been deeply involved in making UNOS an “industry leader” in providing equal access for renal transplant recipients through committee work mentioned above and as an advisor. He is Vice Chairman for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Thomas Jefferson University. Service to the patients as individuals, transplantation as a practice and society has been central to his professional and voluntary work. In reference to UNOS this commitment to service has been demonstrated over many years and in many ways.
Going forward the Board will need to continue its excellent work in administering a national organ transplant system but new challenges will certainly develop. Recent legal and legislative actions have highlighted the importance of understanding where proactive measures can be taken to avoid outside attempts to set transplant policy. Leadership with a deep understanding of the clinical, research, policy and issues of equity will be vital in guiding UNOS in the future.
Christie Thomas, M.B., FASN, FAST
Professor of Medicine and Medical Director, Kidney Transplant Program
University of Iowa
Biography and personal statement
Christie P Thomas is a Professor in the Division of Nephrology and Vice Chair for Faculty Advancement in the Department of of Internal Medicine at the Carver College of Medicine of the University of Iowa. He has nearly 30 years of experience as a faculty transplant nephrologist and is currently the Medical Director of the Kidney and Pancreas Transplant Program at the University of Iowa Organ Transplant Center. His active clinical and research interest is in the use of comprehensive and focused genetic testing to improve diagnostic evaluation of ESRD in transplant candidates and the screening of their related living donors.
Dr. Thomas served as the Region 8 Councilor on the Board of Directors. He has also served on the Organ Availability Committee, the Kidney Committee, the Membership and Professional Services Committee and the Living Donor Committee. He was a UNOS representative to the Joint Societies Workgroup for Living Kidney and Living Liver Donor Policy Development and as Chair of the Living Donor Committee helped establish new and substantive policies that for the first time covered informed consent, medical evaluation and follow-up of living donor candidates.
Dr. Thomas has also served on the ASN Nominating Committee, the AST Training and Workforce Committee and the Organ Donation Committee and has most recently been the chair of the AST Living Donor Community of Practice. He has served for several years on the Board of Iowa Donor Network, his local OPO, and is the current Chair of the Board.
I wholeheartedly share UNOS mission and vision for the transplant community and I am supportive of the organization’s strategic goals to increase equity in access, while increasing the number of transplants, to promote efficiency and living donor and recipient safely and improve outcomes. In my current position as medical director of the kidney transplant program we are completely aligned with UNOS goals and have been able to advance each of these goals. My experiences at UNOS over the last 15 years have given me a firsthand view of the impact UNOS has had on the US and International transplant stage and it has been a privilege to have played a small part in a few of these. It’s an honor to be considered as a candidate for Vice President/President Elect. If elected, I will strive to lead by listening, building consensus among stakeholders and promoting what is best for living donors and for transplant candidates and recipients.
Vote for one
Brad Kornfeld, J.D.
Kornfeld Real Estate LLC
Biography and personal statement
Brad Kornfeld is a living kidney donor and the son of a double-lung transplant recipient. For the last 16 years he has served on various local and national non-profit boards to advance and advocate for organ donation. He also is the managing partner of a commercial real estate firm specializing in retail.
Mr. Kornfeld earned his bachelor’s degree from Emory University in 1989. He first worked for CNN at their Atlanta headquarters including several roles producing their live signature morning news program. Mr. Kornfeld then earned his law degree, cum laude, from Georgetown University Law Center.
After practicing employment law and securities fraud litigation, he transitioned to commercial real estate and now serves as managing partner to a Denver-based firm specializing in grocery-anchored shopping centers. Mr. Kornfeld’s responsibilities include acquisitions and dispositions of retail assets, financial oversight of over a dozen shopping centers, investor relations, financing, budgets and asset management. Mr. Kornfeld served as general counsel and chief operating officer to a larger commercial real estate firm to institute best practices, procedures and protocols for the organization. He also is frequently retained as a consultant and expert witness for a broad range of clients including national retailers, landowners and local governments.
Since becoming a living donor in 2004, Mr. Kornfeld has served on the board of Donor Alliance, the organ procurement organization for Colorado and Wyoming. He served two terms as Board Chair, and he currently is a member of the Finance Committee. On the national level, Mr. Kornfeld has served UNOS in several capacities. He was a member of both the Histocompatibility and Living Donor Committees before being elected to the Board of Directors between 2014-2017. He also served on the UNOS Finance Committee. Other non-profit experience includes service at Rose Community Foundation, where Mr. Kornfeld is currently a Trustee and Chair of the Audit and Finance Committee.
Mr. Kornfeld lives in Denver with his wife, Lisa, who conducts clinical research trials for kidney transplants at the University of Colorado. Together they have three children. He enjoys ending time skiing and hiking with his family in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains.
As both a living kidney donor and the son of a double-lung recipient, I bring a unique perspective to UNOS. I have experienced organ donation as a recipient family member as well as an organ donor myself. My father was one of the country’s first successful double-lung transplant recipients off a ventilator. My family’s experience in waiting for donor lungs and undergoing a life-saving transplant changed my life. We experienced the tremendous joy and benefits transplants bring to an entire family along with the uncertainty and anxiety in waiting for a donated organ. I never imagined that my father’s lung transplant would lead me to become an organ donor myself, but when he needed a kidney in 2004 I decided to donate my kidney to my dad. I quickly realized how meaningful donating an organ is, and I am proud to be a living kidney donor. Since those experiences, I chose to volunteer a significant part of my time to the transplant community that gave so much to me. I began by becoming involved with my community’s OPO, and through the years I became the Board Chair of Donor Alliance. I was fortunate to expand my work nationally by serving on two OPTN committees, the Board of Directors and the Finance Committee. I believe bringing “real world” experiences and outside perspectives to the professionals who perform this important work can have a positive impact on policy and procedures. My experience as a business owner and lawyer would bring another perspective on finances, compliance, best practices and policies and procedures to UNOS as Treasurer. Through my prior UNOS work I already have a strong understanding of the complex issues and financial pressures facing the organization and transplant community. Finally, with my OPO service I know how those policies and issues actually impact those who donate, receive and transplant organs. I believe there is great value in bringing in professionals from other industries who bring relevant and helpful approaches to similar challenges. It is truly a privilege and honor to serve, and I sincerely hope I can bring these multiple perspectives and experience to UNOS again as its Treasurer and to continue to improve our nation’s transplant system.
Kathy Schwab B.S.N., RN
Biography and personal statement
Kathy Schwab, RN has passionately served the transplant community since 1992. Her roles within Mayo Clinic have included Transplant Nurse Coordinator, Clinical Manager of the Solid Organ and BMT Transplant Center, and Transplant Quality and Compliance Manager. Professionally, Kathy has been honored serve as the President of the International Transplant Nurses Society, and is a Founding Faculty Member for the Transplant Quality Institute. Within UNOS, Kathy has served on a diverse range of committees including; OPTN Vascularized Composite Allograft (VCA), OPTN Membership and Professional Standards (MPSC), Patient Affairs Board Representative, UNOS Corporate Affairs, OPTN Executive Committee. Participating in the HRSA Donation Collaborative facility for both Donor Collaborative and Transplant Collaborative helped her to broaden her knowledge and provide perspective on donation aspects and lead to a strong engagement with the organ procurement organization LifeSource. Her service for UNOS has spanned over 20 years.
Personally, Kathy was privileged to donate a kidney eight years ago to her sister suffering from ESRD; this was a profound and rewarding experience.
My passion for supporting and furthering the reach and impact of Transplantation has been developing through diverse experiences for almost 30 years. I have been honored to serve on various boards/committees both nationally and regionally with the focus on quality improvement through collaborative avenues; education, policy development and implementation. Facilitating board and committee activities has given me the opportunity to engage in the development and implementation of best-practices. I feel strongly that regulatory compliance, quality assurance and process improvement are critical for organizational growth and development. I bring perspectives that range from patient (living kidney donor to my sister), nurse, leader, advocate, and collaborator. I would be honored to serve on the board of this exceptional organization and believe my personal and professional experience would provide me with the skills to be a productive member.
Immediate Past President
Vote for one
David C. Mulligan, M.D., FACS, FAASLD, FAST
Professor and Chair, Transplantation & Immunology
Yale University/Yale New Haven Health System
Biography and personal statement
David C. Mulligan, M.D., FACS, is a professor of surgery at Yale University and Chief of Transplantation Surgery and Immunology at Yale New Haven Health System in New Haven, Connecticut. His career in abdominal organ transplantation has spanned over 20 years, including roles at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona and Yale New Haven Health System.
Dr. Mulligan served as the Region 5 Councillor on the Board of Directors. He also participated on its Committee Governance Workgroup. He chaired the Liver and Intestinal Organ Transplantation Committee, served as the Liver and Intestinal Transplantation representative to the Policy Oversight Committee, and vice chaired the Membership and Professional Standards Committee (MPSC). His service on the MPSC spanned over 7 years total.
Additionally, he served on the Board of Directors for Donor Network of Arizona, chaired the Training & Workforce Committee of the American Society of Transplantation (AST), and serves as a member of the Medical Advisory Committee for New England Donor Services. He served as a councillor for the American Society of Transplant Surgeons (ASTS) and currently serves as their Chair for the Business Practice Services Committee. He currently serves as Member at Large on the Governing Board of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD). He also recently served as Chair of the Advisory Council on Transplantation (ACOT) to the Secretary of Health and Human Services. He currently serves as President of the Board and has enjoyed the opportunity to work with an amazing and diverse team of staff and volunteers who make this organization so effective and compassionate in maintaining the best path forward for organ allocation and transplantation in a patient-centered way.
Dr. Mulligan received his medical degree from the University of Louisville School of Medicine.
As a leader in two different transplant institutions over the past 20 years with extensive experiences in the multiple organizations surrounding the field of transplantation, he has been intimately involved in the many diverse aspects of leading, collaborating and developing the field with a continued focus on what is best for patients across the nation.
This has always been a fundamental organization in which I have cherished a rich participation and hope to continue my career growing my involvement. The mission and vision resonate within me as a professional and as a physician. I feel responsible to maintain a fair and balanced perspective centered on the needs of our patients who we serve to remain enthusiastically involved in the most critical organization that governs our performance, creates our policies and sets opportunities for our future. Despite the unprecedented impacts and the changes we have all needed to make, I am so amazed that we managed to not only continue but actually increase the numbers of deceased donors in the U.S. that we did in 2019! Our system continues to provide more donors and more organs for more transplants every year!
Minority Transplant Professional
Vote for one
Errol L. Bush, M.D., FACS
Associate Professor; Surgical Director, Advanced Lung Disease and Lung Transplant Program
The Johns Hopkins University
Biography and personal statement
Errol L. Bush, M.D., FACS, is an Associate Professor and the Surgical Director of the Advanced Lung Disease and Lung Transplant Program at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Bush specializes in the surgical treatment of chronic and end stage lung diseases. He also serves as director of the Ex-vivo Lung Perfusion Program (EVLP).
Dr. Bush received his undergraduate degree from Emory University in 1999 and achieved his MD degree in 2003 at Duke University School of Medicine, where he was a Gates Foundation University Scholar and completed a cardiovascular research fellowship as a Stanley J. Sarnoff Fellow. He completed his general surgery training at Duke in 2010 before completing a Cardiothoracic residency at the University of California, San Francisco in 2013. After training, Dr. Bush remained on faculty at UCSF before being recruited to The Johns Hopkins Hospital in 2015 to assume his lung transplant leadership role.
Dr. Bush is a recognized leader in the clinical care of patients with thoracic surgical diseases and acute and chronic respiratory failure. He is an extraordinary clinician whose expertise earned him the John Cameron Award for Clinical Excellence by the Department of Surgery in 2019. Since arriving at Hopkins, through collaborative efforts, he has helped transform the manner and success in which lung transplantation is provided. Under his leadership, the annual volume has doubled, and the team has reached and maintained remarkable outcomes. As a clinical investigator he serves as the site-PI in several prospective multicenter investigations of organ perfusion and lung preservation systems, as well as currently recruiting patients for an international COVID19 oral therapy trial.
Dr. Bush’s expertise has been recognized with multiple regional, national and international invited lectures, as well as by appointments to numerous surgical society committees. He is an active member of multiple professional societies, including the Societies of Black Academic Surgeons (SBAS) and Thoracic Surgeons (STS), where he serves on numerous committees, such as, the Program Planning Committees for both societies and the STS Workforce for End-stage Cardiopulmonary Disease. He has earned two program development travelling fellowships in 2017; one from the STS for development of an ex-vivo lung perfusion program and the second from the Western Thoracic Surgical Association for development of a pulmonary thromboendarterectomy program. He maintains active leadership roles within the larger transplantation community, currently serving as a Membership and Professional Standards Committee (MPSC) member for the OPTN and as Secretary of the Clinical Advisory Board of the local organ procurement organization, Living Legacy Foundation.
Thank you for the nomination and opportunity to be considered to serve as your representative.
In addition to my passion and dedication to the transplant community, I am also an African-American surgeon leader who has dedicated my training and career to supporting other underrepresented minorities in medicine and underrepresented patients, whose health disparities can be minimized by having physician-provider advocates with whom they identify and trust to help navigate the complicated transplant process. I was selected from a competitive field of applicants to participate in the SBAS two year leadership program, as well as the Association of American Thoracic Surgeons Leadership Academy. I remain an active member of SBAS, interact regularly with our underrepresented minority population in our school of medicine, and am engaged in scientific research to identify health disparities in thoracic organ transplantation. I have previously participated in public service campaigns for outreach during National Minority Donor Awareness Month.
A unified team effort is required to successfully increase minority representation in medicine and diversify the transplant workforce representing the patients we all serve. The goal is only achieved once we accept that diversity must exist in our workforce and does exist in our patients across many dimensions, including racial or ethnic groups, socioeconomic status, age, gender, geography, sexual orientation and disability status. As the Minority Professionals Transplant representative to the Board of Directors, I envision that together we create a mentoring, supportive, and social network of transplant professionals who identify or advocate for underrepresented professionals in transplantation medicine and will highlight the ideas and challenges of our workforce to be considered by the Board of Directors. This same network would also be utilized in collaborative national outreach projects that will provide education, support and advocacy for transplant patients and community members of groups that have been left behind from advances in transplantation.
Together we can create a sustainable, diverse, and empowered workforce that partners with our communities to address healthcare disparities while striving to provide safe work environments and more equitable care for all.
Irene Kim, M.D. FACS
Associate Professor of Surgery, Co-Director Comprehensive Transplant Center
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
Biography and personal statement
Originally from Bowling Green, OH and a daughter of immigrant parents from Seoul, Korea, Irene Kim is a liver and kidney transplant surgeon and serves as the Co-Director of the Comprehensive Transplant Center at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, CA. After receiving her undergraduate degree from MIT and her medical degree at UCSF, she completed her surgical residency at Tufts University in Boston, MA and then her abdominal transplant training at Stanford University. She was recruited to Cedars-Sinai in 2012 and has held several leadership positions, including current surgical director of the kidney transplant program and previous director of the abdominal transplant fellowship. Her academic appointment is as Associate Professor in the Department of Surgery and she has been an active basic science researcher, studying immune modulators of humoral immunity in high-HLA sensitized kidney transplant patients. She is an active member in other transplant and academic surgical societies, currently serving as Councilor-at-large for the ASTS and committee member/chair for the International Pediatric Transplant Association (IPTA) and Society of University Surgeons (SUS).
Irene Kim has prioritized a strong commitment to service in OPTN, first serving as the Region 5 representative to the OPTN Minority Affairs Committee (MAC). During the time on the committee, she chaired a sub-committee investigating the underutilization of the non-A1 subtype to blood group B variance in kidney transplant allocation, a policy change that sought to decrease wait times to disadvantaged blood group B patients who are largely minorities. She then served as Vice-Chair for the MAC from 2017-2019 and is currently Chair for the MAC (2019-2021). As Chair of MAC during a period of heightened national dialogue on racial and socioeconomic inequity, Dr. Kim sought increased awareness of these issues and provided a short editorial in “Voices in Transplant”. She has attended several board meetings as a committee Chair/non-voting member and has previously served on the OPTN Policy Oversight Committee (POC). She has presented at the Transplant Management Forum (TMF) and attended the Transplant Quality Institute meetings.
I am humbled and honored to be considered as a member of the Board for UNOS, an organization that I have prioritized a commitment to during my career as a transplant surgeon. During my education as a transplant surgeon, I have studied and presented on the importance of the Final Rule and the philosophical/ethical implications of policy development for the equitable allocation of solid organs for transplant. In 2012, as a first-year attending at Cedars-Sinai, I was given my first opportunity to serve as a regional representative for the MAC and then as MAC Vice-Chair/Chair, seeking to bring forward the perspectives and opinions of members within the transplant community who may not otherwise have representation in the system. I have experienced first-hand the time and effort required to be an informed and active Board member during my service on the Policy Oversight Committee (POC) and prior projects on the MAC that required large time commitments. It has been a privilege to lend effort and insight to prior proposals and projects and I look forward to the opportunity to perform these duties if elected to the Board.
The below nominees participated in a competitive election at the regional level for a two year term as Regional Associate Councillor/Councillor-Elect. Regional Associate Councillors then advance to a non-contested ballot for Regional Councillor to the Board.
Vote for seven
Richard N. Formica Jr., M.D.
Professor of Medicine and Surgery
Biography and personal statement
Dr. Formica graduated from Boston University in 1989 with a degree in chemistry and Boston University School of Medicine in 1993. He trained in internal medicine at the Combined Boston University Internal Medicine Program and was Chief Medical Resident at Boston City Hospital. He then moved to Yale University for his Nephrology Fellowship. Dr. Formica joined the faculty of Yale University School of Medicine in 1999 and currently serves as the Director of Transplant Medicine and the Medical Director of Adult Kidney Transplantation at Yale-New Haven Hospital. He is a Professor of Medicine and Surgery at Yale University School of Medicine.
Dr. Formica has academic interests in translational and clinical areas of transplantation. He serves as a local PI on an NIH sponsored Clinical Trials in Organ Transplantation protocol. He has authored or co-authored 91 original scientific articles, review articles, internet publications and book chapters.
Dr. Formica has been a member of the AST since 1999 and has served on numerous committees. He became a counselor-at-large in 2014. He currently serves as the President.
Dr. Formica has served the donation and transplantation system, where he was the Chairman of the OPTN Kidney Transplantation Committee. He was involved in the development and implementation of the New Kidney Allocation Policy and chaired the Simultaneous Liver-Kidney Transplant working group. He has served on the MPSC for one year as an ad hoc member and for 2 years in the role of the associate region 1 councilor. Additionally, he is currently chairing the subcommittee of Performance Monitoring Enhancement.
It is my belief that the next few years will be a time of significant change in organ allocation and transplantation in general. The issue of larger geographic sharing, while having been preliminarily addressed, requires further refinement. Organ rehabilitation in centralized locations will raise questions of how to reconfigure match runs and the use of deceased donors to initiated KPD chains will raise ethical questions of equity and access. Additionally, decisions regarding the appropriate priority assigned to multi-organ candidates versus those waiting single organ transplants must be made. I believe my experience in the development and implementation of both KAS and SLK policy will make me an informed and contributory member of the Board of Directors and will help guide the organization through challenging, albeit exciting, times.
Adam M. Frank, M.D.
Associate Professor of Surgery
Thomas Jefferson University Hospital
This person is an active surgeon with over 20 years of experience in abdominal transplantation. His surgical expertise includes kidney, pancreas and liver transplantation. He is also very involved in living and deceased donor surgery. His main institution is Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia and he has worked there for over fifteen years. He also has privileges at Nemours Children’s Hospital in Wilmington, Delaware, and Lankenau Hospital outside of Philadelphia. His time in transplant has been exclusively in Region 2. Both of his transplant fellowships, University of Maryland Medical System (2000-2001) and the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (2001-2004), were in that region. He served as the Region 2 representative on the Kidney Committee from 2012 to 2014. This was at the time that kidney allocation rules changed significantly. Currently, he is serving as the Region 2 representative on the OPTN Membership and Professional Standards Committee. His duties for the OPTN also include serving as the Associate Councillor and on the nominating committee for that Region. He is also a backup representative for Thomas Jefferson University Hospital for National Liver Review Board. His main administrative service at his home institution has been on the University’s Institutional Review Board and on the Hospital’s Credentialing Committee. He considers his Board service now to be especially timely in that he has always maintained a strong interest in geography and the major changes occurring in organ allocation rules now are being enacted to address geographic disparities.
Edward F. Hollinger, Jr., M.D., Ph.D.
Surgical Director of Kidney Transplantation
Rush University Medical Center
Biography and personal statement
Dr. Edward Hollinger is the Surgical Director of Kidney Transplantation at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois. He also serve as the Director of Transplant Quality and previously chaired the institution’s Medical Staff Quality Committee. Prior to medical school Hollinger trained as an engineer and completed a Ph.D. in medical physics. His interest in transplantation began as a surgery resident, leading him to pursue an abdominal transplant fellowship at Indiana University. After fellowship he returned to Chicago to focus on kidney and pancreas transplantation. Perhaps influenced by his engineering background, Hollinger’s academic and administrative interests include surgical quality, process improvement, and patient safety.
Dr. Hollinger has been a member of the Medical Advisory Council for the Gift of Hope Organ and Tissue Donor network for nearly ten years. He has been an active member of many Gift of Hope committees and provided community outreach to encourage organ donation. Hollinger was recognized by the Gift of Hope as a Lifesaving Partners Award winner in 2017. He has served as an institutional representative to Region 7, a member of the OPTN Operations and Safety Committee, and currently is the Associate Councilor for Region 7. Hollinger also serves on the board of directors for The Renal Network – ESRD Network 10.
I am honored to be considered for a position on the Board of Directors. I especially hope to use this position to continue to advocate for process improvement and a safety culture within the transplant community. My prior experience in aviation, surgical quality and patient safety, and more-recently on the OPTN Operations and Safety and Membership and Professional Standards Committees combined with my current clinical practice has provided me with perspective that I hope will be useful to the Board. Further, I represent a region comprised of transplant programs and OPOs that are varied in many ways: geography, volume, population, and scope to name a few. The significant changes in organ allocation, program evaluation, and clinical practice currently underway provide challenges but also great opportunity. I hope to use the broad expertise available in our region to inform the Board, while also gaining a national perspective that can be conveyed back to the members within region 7.
Clifford Miles, M.D., FAST
Associate Professor of Medicine
University of Nebraska Medical Center
Biography and personal statement
Clifford Miles (Cliff) is an Associate Professor of Medicine and Transplant Nephrologist at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, NE. A native of Omaha, he earned both his bachelor’s degree and MD from the University of Nebraska. Cliff then completed his internal medicine residency at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, in Lebanon, NH, including a year as one of their Chief Medical Residents. Following that, he proceeded to Ann Arbor, MI, for fellowships in both nephrology and transplant nephrology. While at the University of Michigan, Dr. Miles also completed a Master’s Degree in Clinical Research Design and Statistical Analysis. Upon completion, he joined the faculty at UNMC, where he remains.
Cliff is clinically active as a transplant nephrologist, and is also the Medical Director and primary physician for Kidney & Pancreas transplantation at Nebraska Medicine. He served 4 years on the OPTN Kidney Committee as the Region 8 representative, and participated in the SLK workgroup. Cliff is currently on the Membership and Professional Standards Committee as the Region 8 Representative and Associate Councillor, after being an at-large MPSC member for two years. Dr. Miles also participated in the ESRD Network 12 Medical Review Board, including chairing it for 2 years. Cliff has authored more than 20 peer-reviewed articles in the field of kidney transplantation, and has given presentations at national meetings for both peers and patient-facing organizations. As an associate professor in the college of medicine, he is also involved in the education of students, residents, and fellows at UNMC.
While in medical school and residency, I recall being introduced to the practice of medicine by way of caring for the individual patient in front of me. Indeed, there will always be a special interaction that occurs between a healthcare provider and their patients. However, as I finished my fellowship training and entered my career as a transplant nephrologist, I feel like my eyes were opened to another plane of healthcare as I was introduced to broader population health models. Organ transplantation is a unique and vital field that brings together people from a broad array of backgrounds to help optimize care for a growing number of patients with end-stage organ failure. In this field, we must confront ethical issues like justice and utility, as we are dealing with the allocation of scarce resources. In addition, recent events in America have reminded us of the value in ensuring these resources are shared in an equitable and transparent manner.
I have been grateful for the opportunities thus far to participate in UNOS activities, and have learned and grown during my time with the Kidney Committee and MPSC, as well as helping with our center’s participation in the COIIN project. As with many things in life though, I feel that there always seem to be greater questions and challenges around each successive bend. Looming topics for UNOS like multi-organ allocation, quality metrics revisions, and refining geographic allocation are of great interest to me, and I want to remain active within the UNOS community. I am confident that service on the Board of Directors will allow me to make ongoing contributions to improving our organization as we navigate the challenges ahead. I believe that the best treatment for our patients and donor families can only be achieved if we indeed act as a United Network for Organ Sharing.
Maryjane Farr M.D., M.Sc.
Associate Professor and Medical Director, Adult Heart Transplant Program
Columbia University, New York Presbyterian Hospital
Biography and personal statement
Maryjane Farr M.D., M.Sc. is the Irene and Sidney B. Silverman Associate Professor of Cardiology and Medical Director of the Adult Heart Transplant Program at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, New York Presbyterian Hospital. She is a graduate of Barnard College (BA’89), Columbia College of Physicians & Surgeons (MD’98) and completed her Advanced Heart Failure/Transplant Fellowship at Columbia (’05). She is Board Certified in Heart Failure and Transplant, Cardiovascular Diseases and Internal Medicine. Dr. Farr was the Director of Clinical Trials in Heart Failure and Transplantation at Columbia from 2007-12, obtained an NIH training grant to complete a Master’s of Science (Biostatistics/Patient Oriented Research) at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia (MSc’12) and received the Shorin-Silverstein Research in Transplantation award for 2012-14. In addition to running a high-volume heart transplant program since ’15, Dr. Farr is author of > 150 papers and abstracts on heart transplant, heart failure and mechanical circulatory support. Her specific research interests are in donor and recipient selection, primary graft failure and long-term survival. Dr. Farr has been involved in many national consortia, particularly through the AST, writing consensus documents on transplant management. Dr. Farr has held leadership roles in transplant, including 3 years on the OPTN Thoracic Committee, including heart subcommittee chair, she currently sits on the MPSC and is the Associate Councilor to Region 9. Dr. Farr also sits on the Medical Advisory Board of LiveOnNY, the New York Cardiothoracic Consortium, and is a voting member of the New York State Transplant Council and a member and writer for the NYS Certificate of Needs Committee.
I am honored and excited to have the opportunity to sit on the Board of Directors. I have a keen interest in the organizational management of transplant services, specifically with regard to metrics on program performance, access to transplant and fair allocation across all solid organ transplant. I was a participant in the drafting of the new heart allocation policy, with a specific role in writing the companion guidance documents for special populations such as patients with restrictive cardiomyopathy and congenital heart disease. On the MPSC I have developed a deeper understanding of the importance of national, regional and local governance in transplant services, which was illuminated by the comprehensive and transparent response of OPTN to COVID-19. It has been such a privilege to participate in the delivery of transplant services in the United States, alongside all the dedicated and talented members and staff of UNOS. Lastly, I think I would be a good addition to the BOD because I am thoughtful, collaborative, transparent, and very experienced in the policies and current critical dilemmas in solid organ transplant. My positions on policies and other actions rest squarely on the foundation that organs are a national resource and that we are responsible for the health and safety of all patients in need of transplant, and that improving education and access to transplant services is one our most important missions as individual professionals and collectively as members and volunteers of UNOS.
Jonathan A. Fridell, M.D., FACS
Chief, Abdominal Transplant Surgery
Indiana University School of Medicine
Jonathan Fridell, M.D. is the Chief of Abdominal Transplant Surgery at Indiana University (IU). Having completed medical school, surgical training and a Master’s degree in Surgical Research (Xenotransplantation) at McGill University in Montreal, Canada and Abdominal Transplant Surgery Fellowship at the Thomas E. Starzl Transplant Institute / University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in Pittsburgh, PA, he joined the faculty at IU in 2002. He has actively participated in all aspects of the abdominal transplant program including adult and pediatric liver, kidney, intestine, multivisceral and pancreas transplantation including patient evaluation and listing, surgery, and postoperative and long-term follow-up. He was one of the founding members and served as the Chairman of the Board of the IU Health Transplant Institute. He is also actively involved with the OPO (originally Indiana Organ Procurement Organization (IOPO), now Indiana Donor Network (IDN)) participating in Advisory Boards and is currently a member of the Executive Board. For his contributions to the OPO, he was recognized as the first Professional Honoree at the OPO’s Angel Fund Gala.
Originally recruited to assist with the growing liver transplant volume and to assist with the initiation of the intestine/multivisceral transplant program (both of which he has been very involved in and have been very successful), he is best known for his contributions in the field of pancreas transplantation. He assumed the Director position of the pancreas transplant program shortly after joining the team at IU and has grown that program into one of the largest and most successful in the world. His research is mostly focused on outcomes following pancreas transplantation and he has authored over 125 manuscripts and book chapters and is currently the Deputy Editor for Pancreas and Islet Transplantation for the journal Clinical Transplantation and an Associate Editor for the American Journal of Transplantation. He is regularly invited to present at the American Transplant Congress (ATC), The American Society of Transplant Surgeons (ASTS) winter symposium and the International Pancreas and Islet Association (IPITA) meeting on topics related to pancreas transplantation.
Dr. Fridell has a long history of participation with the donation and transplantation system. He served as the Region 10 representative to the Kidney and Pancreas Transplant Committee and was involved in the early attempts at redesigning the kidney allocation system. He subsequently served as the Region 10 representative to the Pancreas Transplant Committee where he was involved in designing the new pancreas transplant allocation system. He served as the Vice Chair, a double term as the Chair and as the ex-officio Chair of the Pancreas Transplant Committee. During his tenure, he lead the committee through several important projects including the Donor Lipase project, the Definition of Pancreas Allograft Failure project, Facilitated Pancreas Placement project, the ABO compatible nonidentical project and the Functional Inactivity project. He was also involved in the early process of drafting policies for requirements for Islet transplant programs. Currently, as the Associate Councillor for Region 10, he is completing his second year as the Region 10 representative to the Membership and Professional Standards Committee (MPSC)
Given his experience in all aspects of transplant surgery, his leadership position at his own institution, his involvement with the OPO and his long track record with UNOS, Jonathan Fridell is certainly uniquely qualified and looking forward to the opportunity represent the region on the Board as the Region 10 Councillor.
David A. Gerber, M.D.
Professor of Surgery
University of North Carolina
Biography and personal statement
Dr. Gerber’s professional career has included a range of activities in the transplant community from patient care as a transplant surgeon to administrative, regulatory and extracurricular roles. He joined the University of North Carolina after completing a transplant fellowship at the Starzl Transplantation Institute at the University of Pittsburgh and in 2008 he was appointed the Chief of the Division of Abdominal Transplantation at the University of North Carolina. In 2016 he took on the role as Executive Medical Director of the UNC Healthcare Center for Transplant Care and Jason Ray Transplant Clinics. Across these roles he has helped advocate and care for patients while supporting and leading a team of committed transplant professionals.
Outside of Dr. Gerber’s roles at UNC he has spent 30 years in the military and over the last 12 years he assisted the Department of Defense by developing an integrated support network for transplant patients at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Complementing this activity he actively participated in increasing organ donation consent amongst active duty members while working with local OPOs in regions of the country with military bases. In his military role he also helped the military evaluate the role of Vascularized Composite Allograft transplants for members of the Armed Services. In 2010 he was appointed by the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to the Advisory Committee on Transplantation and he subsequently served on that committee for six years. In 2019, the Governor of North Carolina appointed Dr. Gerber to serve as a member of the License to Give Trust Fund Commission which oversees funding for community based donation-related endeavors. Through UNC he has served on the board of the SECU Family House at UNC Hospitals, a facility built for families and critically ill patients with a specific focus on transplant families.
Dr. Gerber has received >25 basic science grants including extramural funding from the American Liver Foundation, the Roche Organ Transplant Research Foundation, the American Society of Transplant Surgeons, the American College of Surgeons and the National Institutes of Health. He has been involved as principal investigator or co-investigator of >40 industry-sponsored clinical trials focused on advancing clinical outcomes in transplantation and hepatocellular carcinoma. He has published >200 peer reviewed publications, peer-reviewed abstracts and book chapters in the areas of transplantation, stem cell biology, regenerative medicine and liver cancer. In addition he has received two patents and he has given over 100 national and international presentations in healthcare and biotechnology.
For the past 18 months I have served as the Associate Councilor from Region 11 and have been an active member on the MPSC. My professional experiences as a transplant surgeon and retired Colonel in the US Air Force have helped me develop a skillset that allows me to be an active listener and collaborator. I am excited about the upcoming opportunity and I pledge to represent the views of the region as Councilor beginning in 2021.
Medical/Scientific Society Representatives
Representatives are nominated by their respective societies as indicated.
Transplant Coordinator Representative
Vote for one
Gail Stendahl, DNP, APNP, CCTC
Heart Transplant Nurse Practitioner
Biography and personal statement
Gail Stendahl is a Heart Transplant Nurse Practitioner and Coordinator since 2005. She served on the NATCO Board of Directors, starting as Councilor-at Large for the 2015-2017 term, Treasurer from 2017-2019, President Elect in 2018, now as current NATCO President. Gail was instrumental in writing the curriculum and launching the NATCO CCTC Review Course, which was launched in 2016. She serves as the co-program director and faculty speaker for this course. This course continues to be in high demand, which is now taught virtually. Gail is also the clinical course consultant and faculty speaker for the NATCO Introductory Course.
Through the opportunities provided by Children’s Wisconsin and NATCO, Gail understands the importance collaboration and networking. Through these experiences, Gail has been able to connect and partner with amazing transplant colleagues. Gail has taken her role very seriously to assure quality care and transplant education in our ever-changing environment, in addition the importance of certification for all transplant professionals. NATCO has challenged Gail professionally, providing the passion to want more for our patients/families and the transplant community and is looking forward to actively participating on the Board of Directors.
I have been directly involved with transplant for the past 15 years. I am currently a Heart Transplant Nurse Practitioner and Coordinator at Children’s Wisconsin. In addition to my clinical demands, which includes taking care of pre and post-transplant patients, both pediatric and adult, my administrative role focuses on program development and regulatory compliance. I am proud to be a member of NATCO and the current NATCO President. I am dedicated to our mission of advancing education, promoting certification, furthering the professional development of donation and transplant professionals in the community, and empowering each individual to reach his or her highest potential. I am excited about the potential opportunity of serving on the Board of Directors, collaborating with talented colleagues, creating innovative approaches to donation and transplantation.
As current NATCO President, we have been in the midst of our high level strategic planning for the organization. We have recently revised our mission and re-branded for a refreshed look. Our committees have been realigned to focus on strengths of our membership and our Board. Gail believes her experience can guide future initiatives within the donation and transplant community.
Vote for one
Jan Finn, RN, M.S.N., CPTC
President & Chief Executive Officer
Midwest Transplant Network
As an experienced leader in the OPO community, Jan is skilled in guiding increases in organ and tissue donation with decisions driven by data and a strong improvement focus. Successful strategies, such as, building a strong foundation through relationships with hospital leaders, staff and physicians has proven to be a cornerstone of the Midwest Transplant Network (MTN) culture. Jan worked purposefully with the MTN team during the Organ Donation Breakthrough Collaborative to engage the entire donation service area (DSA) in increasing the number of organ transplants. Key high leverage changes still adhered to include a robust donation after circulatory death program, a critical care team of physicians on-call to manage every organ donor and a DSA-wide donation and transplantation advocacy council representing large donor hospitals meeting quarterly to refine effective donation practices.
She began her career as a Registered Nurse in Joplin Missouri, which led her from a director in the critical care environment to working for Midwest Transplant Network. In the early years, the combined HD/OP/Preservation/CE role gave her an awareness of each of the now, specialized roles in the OPO. As President/Chief Executive Officer for MTN, Ms. Finn is responsible for building the right culture, which Jan believes starts with a highly effective and innovative leadership team who are cohesive and recognize the importance of how to keenly focus staff on doing the right things. A tenant of the MTN leadership team is biannual leadership development institute to expand their knowledge, ensure consistency and strategize for improvement. These efforts have placed MTN in the top rankings based on recent CMS and CALC data for number of organ donors and transplants.
Jan currently serves on the Missouri Governor’s Advisory Council on Organ and Tissue Donation, the Legislative and Regulatory Affairs Committee for the Association of Organ Procurement Organizations (AOPO), a board member for the Gift of Life Foundation in Kansas City, the Organ Donation and Transplantation Alliance and the Musculoskeletal Transplant Foundation Board of Trustees. Her experience as the past President of the North American Transplant Coordinators Organization (NATCO), past board member for the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) and as an appointee to the Advisory Committee on Organ Transplantation (ACOT) will help guide her commitment to serve as the President-Elect for AOPO.
Jan’s prior service to the donation community included teaching at the NATCO Introductory Course, serving on numerous OPTN Committees, helping to lead the HRSA Breakthrough Collaborative as faculty member and later serving as the National Improvement Leader for HRSA. Jan is passionate about donation, water-skiing, spending time on the beach and visiting California wineries. She lives in Lee’s Summit MO with her husband and perfect dog, Fitzgerald Grant. She is a proud grandmother of five and raised two sons who grew up learning all about donation.
Jan holds two undergraduate degrees including a Bachelors’ of Science in Nursing, as well as a Master’s Degree. She is an alumnus Certified Critical Care Nurse (CCRN) and proudly retains her Registered Nursing license.
Jan will serve as a strong advocate on behalf of donor families and transplant recipients. Her nephew is a bilateral lung recipient which provides her a close patient prospective. Jan continues to be amazed by the generosity of donor families and the importance they place on their loved ones precious gifts. Serving on the Board as the representative for the Association of Organ Procurement Organizations will be an honor and privilege.
Vote for one
Annette Jackson Ph.D., D(ABHI), (ASHI Nominee)
Biography and personal statement
Annette Jackson is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Surgery and Immunology at Duke University and serves as Chief of Clinical Transplantation Immunology Research and Director in the Clinical Transplantation Immunology Laboratory. She received her PhD in Immunology from Duke University and continued her clinical HLA training at Johns Hopkins University where she remained on faculty to become Director of the Division of Immunogenetics and Transplantation Immunology in the Department of Medicine. Dr. Jackson is an active member of the American Society of Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics (ASHI) serving on the Board of Directors, National Meeting Planning and Abstract Committees, Science and Technology Initiatives Committee, ASHI Regional Faculty, and 2022 President-elect. Annette has served as Chair for the American Society of Transplantation (AST) Transplant Diagnostic Community of Practice, faculty for the AST Fellows meetings, served on the ASHI-AST Sensitization in Transplantation: Assessment of Risk (STAR) Working Groups, and is an active member of Banff Allograft Pathology Working Groups. Dr. Jackson has published in the areas of HLA desensitization protocols and kidney paired exchange programs and her current research has focused on the role of HLA and non-HLA antibodies in allograft injury.
I feel fortunate to have found a career within transplantation, which has allowed me to contribute to the improvement of patient health and work along-side dedicated and innovative scientists and clinicians. Election to the UNOS Board of Directors will allow me to lend my expertise in HLA to current and future research and policy goals surrounding histocompatibility.
Chang Liu, M.D., Ph.D., (CAP Nominee)
Medical Director, HLA laboratory, Barnes-Jewish Hospital
Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine
Biography and personal statement
Chang Liu, M.D., Ph.D., FCAP is an Associate Professor of Pathology at Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine and the Medical Director of the HLA laboratories at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri, and Memorial Medical Center in Springfield, Illinois. He is board certified in clinical pathology, transfusion medicine, and histocompatibility testing.
Dr. Liu currently serves on the Histocompatibility and Identity Testing Committee of the College of American Pathologists (CAP), the Directors’ Affairs Committee of American Society for Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics (ASHI), and the Immunobiology Working Committee of the Center for International Blood & Marrow Transplant Research (CIBMTR). In addition to his service to professional organizations and clinical expertise in histocompatibility testing and transfusion medicine, Dr. Liu has been at the forefront of technology innovation and translational research. He developed two of the earliest software packages for high-resolution HLA typing by exome-sequencing and Oxford Nanopore sequencing. He is also actively leading clinical studies of epitope matching and transplant outcomes as well as the development of novel biologics for antibody-mediated rejection.
Dr. Liu received his M.D. from Peking Union Medical College and Ph.D. from the Vollum Institute of Oregon Health & Science University. He completed his Clinical Pathology residency and fellowships in Transfusion Medicine and Histocompatibility at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine.
I am honored to be nominated by the College of American Pathologists (CAP) for the Histocompatibility Representative position on the UNOS Board of Directors. CAP is the world’s leading provider of laboratory accreditation and proficiency testing programs. CAP has provided over 15 years of vital support to clinical laboratories that are an integral part of transplantation teams. If I am elected, CAP will be represented on the Board for the first time; I will be privileged to join one of the sitting representatives from ASHI to serve the board in a partnership that synergizes the strengths of both ASHI and CAP.
I intend to bring my expertise in histocompatibility and transfusion medicine to the board and work collaboratively to advance organ donation and transplantation. I will serve the board and transplant community by drawing on my experience in laboratory management, national and professional committees, and translational research. I have also worked closely with different transplant programs in the greater St. Louis and Springfield, IL, spanning two regions. I have personally witnessed the challenges facing transplant communities in metropolitan and rural areas and will bring these diverse perspectives to the board.
Thank you for considering my candidacy.
At-large representative nominees are selected by the Board of Directors Nominating Committee.
Patient & Donor Affairs Representative (Ballot 1 of 4)
Vote for one
Ted H. Gordon, M.B.A., J.D.
Heart transplant recipient
Biography and personal statement
Ted H Gordon, M.B.A., J.D., is a retired attorney, former associate professor of real estate and law, and author of 11 books, including California Real Estate Law: Cases and Materials (now in its 9th edition), and the book Burdens of the Heart: Surviving Heart Transplant and Finding Secrets of the Medical System. In college, he was President of the School of Business (called the ECSBO Chairman) and received the ECSBO Award for the student making the greatest contribution to the School of Business. Ted was named Real Estate Personality of the Week by the San Jose Mercury News, the primary newspaper of Silicon Valley.
For hobbies, Ted enjoys Ju-Jitsu (he holds a third-degree black-belt), woodworking, and magic. Born and raised in San Francisco, he moved to Arizona three years ago.
Ted underwent heart transplantation in November 2003. Ted was first evaluated at the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF), but it took a year to find the right team at UCSF, including a charismatic surgeon from Austria. During that year of being off the list, Ted was also evaluated in Los Angeles, and then again in San Francisco at another hospital doing transplants. Finally, at UCSF, he received his transplant.
As a Board member, I will bring my perspective as a patient and recipient of a heart to the organization. UNOS does a highly successful job establishing policies and procedures for the allocation of organs. I would help with this effort, realizing there are always areas that can be improved and other areas of excellence that need continued support.
It may not be possible, but I would like to see a more significant effort at the state and national level for laws allowing organ donations unless you “opt-out.” Laws now state you can’t donate an organ unless you “opt-in.” Such a change would vastly increase the available organs for transplant and reduce the number of lives lost during the “waiting” period because no organs are available. Even if we can’t change the laws now, the increased effort may pave the way for future action. Look at MADD. (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) to realize how long that organization worked before the legislation was passed and society’s values changed to support its mission statement.
Working with a Board is a privilege, and I look forward to “paying forward” my obligation to society and UNOS for the gift of my heart.
James Sharrock, J.D.
Heart and liver transplant recipient
Retired Counsel, McAfee & Taft
Biography and personal statement
Jim Sharrock is a retired attorney, lifetime community servant leader, heart/liver transplant recipient, and advocate for patient and community transplant education. He holds a B.A. in Economics and a J.D. from the University of Oklahoma and is a member of the Oklahoma Bar Association and the State Bar of Texas. He practiced business transactions law over 45 years in Texas and Oklahoma, with an emphasis in real estate, banking, finance, and business organizational matters. He was a Shareholder and is currently Retired Counsel with McAfee & Taft, the largest law firm in Oklahoma. He has served as hands-on president or chairman of the board of six non-profits in Oklahoma City and represented several others, including a non-profit blood bank. He continues to serve in an advisory capacity to the boards of the Rotary Club of Oklahoma City and Leadership Oklahoma City.
Jim has been recognized for his professional and community service work including listing in The Best Lawyers of America and Chambers USA Guide to America’s Leading Lawyers for Business. He received the Oklahoma Bar Association Outstanding Service to the Public Award, the Rotary International Four Avenues of Service Award, The Journal Record Leadership in Law Award (twice) and the Leadership Oklahoma City Paragon and Taylor Servant Leadership Awards.
He is currently Vice-Chair of the Board of LifeShare Oklahoma and will become Chair in January 2021. He serves the OPTN as a member of the Board, the Patient Affairs and Finance Committees, and as Visiting Board Member of the Liver Committee.
I offer the Board both the perspective of a business lawyer with substantial non-profit experience and of a patient with an unusually complex and broad medical history.
During forty years with a heart condition that only rarely leads to transplant, I dealt with numerous cardiologists in small and large medical systems and transplant centers in three states and was treated with multiple drugs, procedures, and devices. I experienced the allocation system governing multi-organ transplants, an extended recovery period, significant complications, and temporarily moving to a distant city to obtain necessary care. I learned to do my own research and be my own advocate. I also have the perspective of one who was gravely ill but who has fully recovered and lives a full, active, and grateful life.
My knowledge and interest in the transplant system have grown substantially in the nearly five years since my transplant. It began with learning about OPOs in an article I read during recovery. My experience with non-profits led me to believe I might have something to offer if given the opportunity. When I contacted LifeShare to volunteer they were looking for a community representative to fill a board position. I joined the board in 2017.
The CEO of the Oklahoma City hospital organization that chose not to evaluate me for transplant asked that I meet with his senior transplant team to tell my story. We discussed the challenges faced by transplant centers in which one bad outcome can be extremely detrimental to an entire program. The cardiologist from that team joined me in a public presentation of my transplant experience.
My transplant cardiologist, hepatologist, and liver surgeon, and the LifeShare CEO are all deeply involved in UNOS committees. Each encouraged me to become engaged in committee work. I was appointed as the Region 4 Representative to the Patient Affairs Committee in 2019.
Patient & Donor Affairs Representative (Ballot 2 of 4)
Vote for one
Laurel W. Avery
Retired, Vice President
Global Clinical Research Organization
Biography and personal statement
Laurel W. Avery, was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis at three months of age. Contrary to what Laurel’s parents were told of her future, she persevered and lives a full and productive life. She graduated from a prestigious college, has been married for almost 20 years, and has had a successful career. All are uncommon achievements for a child born in the 1970s with Cystic Fibrosis.
Laurel has a B.A. in Political Science with a minor in Medical Ethics from Union College (New York). In college, she was selected to participate in a field study of National health systems. Abroad she studied at The Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine, Semmelweiss University and The Netherlands School of Public Health. Additionally, Laurel helped write and structure the first Corporate Compliance Program at St. Clare’s Hospital, in Schenectady, NY.
Laurel’s career has been in the healthcare and clinical research field. First working at The Advisory Board, a healthcare thinktank and then the Institute for International Research (IIR), a conference company. At IIR, Laurel was responsible for developing and writing the content for healthcare and pharmaceutical conferences.
Next, Laurel began as the lone salesperson in the United States for Chiltern International, a Clinical Research Organization. Laurel became the head of Business Development for North America and was instrumental in the growth of Chiltern into one of the leading companies of its type.
Known in the industry for her ability to foster client relationships, create and expand a productive sales force, Laurel was then recruited to a “start-up company”. As employee number six hired by Worldwide Clinical Trials, one of the most successful CROs in the world, Laurel retired as the Vice President of Sales and Marketing for the Americas.
Laurel has many philanthropic endeavors. Volunteering with the CF Foundation for public speaking engagements, fundraising, education and mentor programs for other patients. With the support of her local community in Manassas, Virginia, she initiated and developed what is now the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Great Strides event of Manassas.
Laurel has also served her community in other capacities. She has been a public speaker and volunteer counselor for domestic violence and was an alumni representative and local admissions interviewer for Union College. She has assisted a local school system as an afterschool tutor. Most recently, Laurel was a Court Appointed Special Advocate for Children (CASA).
At the end of 2018, Cystic Fibrosis caught up with Laurel as her diminished lung function indicated it was time to be listed for transplant. Laurel received the gift of life in the form of a double lung transplant in January 2019. She benefited from the generosity of the donor, the donor’s family and the talented miracle-working staff at INOVA Fairfax Hospital, in Northern Virginia.
Post-transplant, Laurel is participating on an advisory committee related to the development and expansion of support systems for transplant patients. This is a pilot program out of UCSF. The committee’s goal is to implement, develop, and improve patient-centered health and wellness coaching programs for pre- and post-lung transplant patients and their caregivers.
Laurel has a passion for the organ donation and transplantation cause, feels a commitment to help better the entire process for all sides involved and looks forward to working with the Board of Directors.
Almost two years post-transplant I can say that my transplantation experience has been both rewarding and challenging. After my transplant I wanted to understand more about how others handled the experience and where there was room for improvement in the process. While seeking ways to get more involved, my transplant doctor recommended that I apply to the board.
I want to be able to share my experiences and help shape policies that will better the transplant community and improve the donor and transplantation process. With 2020 bringing so many new challenges to our healthcare system, one area that concerns me is equity in access to transplants. Policies will have to adapt to meet the unprecedented need and maximize the organ supply.
I am honored to be considered for the Board of Directors as a patient and donor affairs representative. I know that my personal experience as a Cystic Fibrosis patient and a transplant recipient coupled with my professional expertise, makes my perspective unique and valuable. Being retired, I have the time and energy to devote to a board of directors’ position. As an effective negotiator, exceptional communicator, strong leader, and excellent relationship builder I would be a great addition to your Board.
Kelly M Willenberg, D.B.A., RN, CHRC, CHC, CCRC
Kelly Willenberg, LLC
Biography and personal statement
Dr. Willenberg is the owner of Kelly Willenberg, LLC. Kelly owns a company that specializes in healthcare research compliance. As an oncology nurse, Kelly is an expert in clinical trial management, billing and reimbursement. Kelly is a frequent speaker/trainer on healthcare compliance issues, grief, loss and has been recognized with awards as the highest rated speaker and podcaster across the country. Kelly is an author, editor, writer, blogger, and serves as a faculty member for Health Care Compliance Association’s Research Academy, and serves on their Board of Directors. Nearly four years ago, Kelly’s husband was tragically killed in a hit and run bicycling accident. Since that time and upon the donation of his organs to help others, Kelly has not only been involved in the push for tougher distracted driving laws, but has been appointed to the OPTN Lung Translation Committee. Kelly has lobbied and testified before law makers on a variety of topics including oncology nursing and distracted driving. She serves on the Small Business Regulatory Review Committee for the State of South Carolina. Kelly works to honor her husband’s untimely death and helps others as they struggle with loss, grief and the unexpected, while successfully running a healthcare compliance company. She is the proud mother to adult fraternal twins daughters and has four amazing grand children. One of Kelly’s granddaughter’s was born with a congenital heart defect. Kelly has started an endowed fund to support the congenital heart program at her local community hospital. Kelly enjoys traveling in her free time.
After experiencing the sudden loss of my spouse in 2017 in a hit and run cycling accident, I became more aware of the decisions surrounding organ donation. Contemplating the errors of distracted driving and going through the trial of the man who hit my husband while checking a text, prompted me to change my life path. That path has changed for my entire family including my daughters’, their husbands and their children. Finding the strength necessary to make the quick decisions to donate organs takes commitment. My family was harmonious in our decision together as there was never a doubt that we were doing the right thing. Fair allocation was important for us then, and is now. When I began serving on the Lung Translation Committee, I started to better understand how policies are developed and what goes into allocation. I want to become more involved so I can to make it easier for someone to make a decision that may save eight lives tomorrow. I believe that my experience in research and compliance will be an asset to the Board of Directors. With a new found friend in the person who received my husband’s lungs, I see how organ transplantation works and know a part of him lives on.
Patient & Donor Affairs Representative (Ballot 3 of 4)
Vote for one
Biography and personal statement
Melissa McQueen is mother of a pediatric heart transplant recipient and Founder/Executive Director of Transplant Families. She works nationally with parents and caregivers of children being listed for or already having received a lifesaving organ transplant to help guide them to support, education, and assistance. Her objective is to help families through this very difficult time.
Additionally, she is a trained developer/engineer by trade who has worked at companies such as Honeywell – Aeronautics Division, APS, Wells Fargo, and Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Most recently, she helped to develop “My journey with” applications covering patient education from diabetes to transplant for newly diagnosed families.
Melissa is currently serving with the Data Advisory Committee. She has previous served on the Pediatric Committee working on initiatives such as the “Pediatric Emergency Membership Exception Pathway” and pediatric to adult transition issues in the subcommittee for “Lost to Follow Up”. She served on the subcommittee for the Patient Affairs Council where she helped co-author “What Every Parent Needs to Know.”
Seeing the miracle of transplant firsthand, when my son received his gift of a heart at 8 months old, prompted a journey to give back and help organizations who are saving and improving lives daily. I hope to give those (recipient/caregiver and children) a voice in this beautifully complex world that develops policy and that will hopefully one day eliminate the waitlist. Even though much of my efforts have focused on children thus far, I know that if all goes according to plan, these children will grow into adults that require their own advocates. There must be representation for not only recipients, but donors, and the network of all stakeholders that make any transplant possible at all.
I believe that education and support bring hope and healing for families. I proudly volunteer with many organizations taking up this charge including: Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Donor Network of Arizona, Transplant Team Arizona, ACTION Learning Network, Starzl Network for Excellence in Pediatric Transplant, Children’s Organ Transplant Association, Children’s Cardiomyopathy Foundation, HopeKids, and Make a Wish.
My husband and I have recently been fortunate enough to meet Dylan’s donor family, which we now consider our extended family. I consider our family so honored to know a family, as most donors are, that represent the epitome of grace, giving, and unconditional love.
If selected as a board member, I hope to do honor to the gift that has been provided to mine and so many other families. I look forward to committing to building the next phase of network, relationships, and advancement in the tradition that UNOS has already displayed over many decades.
Nikita Patel, CISSP
Schellman & Company, LLC
Biography and personal statement
Nikita Patel is a Compliance Manager at Schellman & Company, LLC, a CPA firm. Over the past seven years, she has worked as an auditor for a major financial services firm as well as a CPA firm where she managed SOC 1, SOC 2, and ISO 27001 audits. She also has experience in the design and implementation of an enterprise risk management program for a publicly-traded IT distributor based out of Clearwater, Florida.
I am a liver transplant recipient who is now on year 14 without major rejection episodes. As I had a transplant at a young age, at 16 years old, going through college, getting my first job, as well as establishing a strong and foundational base for my career has been led by my drive to work twice as much and make an impact not only for myself but also for the person who donated their organ. I was in the hospital for over 6 months before having an organ match, and with two attempts where I got the call that there was a match but then to find out that the tissues were not a perfect match was stressful. Hence, I am incredibly grateful for the family who decided to donate the organs of their 7-year-old in Arizona. Being a transplant survivor has taught me to be humble, to be grateful, and above all, to be kind. I realize that may sound as if it’s a statement or phrase that is used quite often but being in a pediatric hospital bed for over 6 months made me self-aware of kids with trying experiences at a young age that makes them see life from a different lens. Having the corporate experience I have, I want to be able to use those skills in hopes that I can serve the transplant community and promote to the community at large the impact signing up for organ donation can have on a person, a family, and a community.
Patient & Donor Affairs Representative (Ballot 4 of 4)
Vote for one
Stephanie Little, M.S.W., LMSW
Transplant Social Worker, Recipient Family Member/Donor Family Member
Sanford Health Transplant Center
Biography and personal statement
Stephanie Little, M.S.W., LMSW, is a transplant social worker at Sanford Health Transplant Center in Bismarck, North Dakota.
Stephanie was the Region 7 Representative for the OPTN Patient Affairs Committee (PAC) for her term from 2017 to 2020, transferring into an At Large position in July 2020. As a PAC member, Stephanie has joined subcommittees and assisted with several projects through the OPTN and is presently on a workgroup through the Ethics Committee. Issued publications include project materials and articles through the American Journal of Transplantation.
Stephanie is a board member for the National Association of Social Workers. She is a consulting editor for the Health & Social Work Journal, with a clinical focus on organ transplant and associated factors. Since becoming involved in transplant, Stephanie has organized donor registration events and bone marrow drives in rural North Dakota to increase diversity on the registry. She has also been active in providing educational trainings to address the necessity of “patient speak” and “patient first” language.
Stephanie received her Bachelor of Social Work degree at Minot State University in 2014 and her Master of Social Work degree at Minnesota State University, Mankato, in 2015. While receiving these degrees, she was the recipient of numerous scholarships, initiative program, and fellowship. Stephanie is currently a graduate student at the University of South Dakota, in both the Ph.D. in Health Sciences and Master of Public Health programs. She is pursuing higher education to combine social work with research and policy, with a dissertation focus on organ allocation and ethics (including contraindications, inequities, barriers to service, and minority disparities).
I am grateful for the nomination to join the Board of Directors and kindly request your consideration. My experience, perspective, involvement, and education have me ready to jump all in. I am exceedingly motivated to excel in this role.
My key connection to transplant is as a recipient and donor family member. My sister-in-law received a heart transplant when she was six years old. Due to the selfless decision made by a family several states away, she received a new heart (and a second chance at life). My sister-in-law did not take this gift of life lightly, and she achieved many great things throughout her life to ensure that she would make her donor proud. Through daily management of immunosuppressants, medical appointments, and subsequent health complications, her struggles led to my dedication in addressing relevant needs (such as normalizing emotions associated with a transplant or seeking services to assist in covering the costs of immunosuppressants). I developed the determination to advocate for those seeking the same chance at a new life.
My sister-in-law passed away from melanoma skin cancer when she was 24 years old. She lived 18 years with her heart transplant. I am grateful every single day to her donor (and their family) for giving us that time. For giving Alyssa that time. The selfless decision made by her donors’ family provided us 18 extra years with my spitfire of a sister-in-law. This is a crucial motivating factor for hosting bone marrow and donor registry events: if even one person who signs-up or registers later goes on to become a donor, it was a success.
Several of my family members have provided the gift of life. In the moment, it was emotional and overwhelming. Throughout the process, there was a consistent sense of appreciation for the transplant team efforts. During these times, I became invested in patient-speak/patient-first language, resulting in providing education for medical professionals on this topic. In addition to being a recipient family member, becoming a donor family member contributed to my interest in thecdonation and transplant system, transplant social work, research, and policy. I strive to ensure patients (in all forms) are heard, respected, honored, and supported.
To put it simply: I care. My passion for organ donation is what motivates me daily. The core of my dedication comes from direct engagement with transplant patients, from multiple perspectives (as a relative and professional). The OPTN’s vision and goals align with my own, and I want to continue to pursue opportunities associated with transplant to tackle relevant issues as an advocate and change agent. If elected, I will bring my unique knowledge obtained through my roles to the board, with full participation and dedication to best serve the transplant community.
I am humble in the nomination for this role. I would consider it an honor to serve on the Board of Directors and represent the patient (recipient/donor) perspective.
Christopher Woody Sr.
CEO and Founder
The Woody Foundation
Christopher Woody is a life long resident of Richmond, Virginia, where he is a devoted father to his son and motivator to the youth. Christopher is vibrant and full of life. He has dedicated his life to serving his community, of which he is extremely passionate about. His motto, “People First,” is exemplified everyday as he uses his many talents, like dance and event planning, to uplift, edify and bless others, especially area youth. Christopher pours his heart into people—no matter their creed or station in life.
In 2008, Christopher was blessed to open the doors of his non-profit, The Woody Foundation, where he is able to address the city’s need for more creative and holistic youth programs and initiatives with his simplistic yet innovative ideas. 2013 allowed Christopher to further demonstrate his love for people and life when he became a living organ donor. Since then, he has worked with and created lasting partnerships with many organ donor organizations, such as, the UNOS Ambassador program and Donate Life Virginia.
2020 saw the world focus on stopping the spread of the far reaching COVID19 virus, however, Christopher did not allow this to dampen his focus and efforts of loving and celebrating people. In September of 2020, Christopher’s love of giving life was honored by being placed on Nascar driver, Joey Gase’s car. This distinction was especially meaningful, as Christopher was the first living donor to be recognized.
Christopher’s no limit outlook on life makes him someone you want on your team and in your life corner at all times.
Vote for one
James Pittman, RN, M.S.N.
AVP, Transplant Services
Biography and personal statement
James Pittman is the Assistant Vice President of Transplant Services at HCA Healthcare, a position he helped create to provide better alignment among the 10 HCA Healthcare Transplant Programs. Over the past 4 years, Pittman has developed multiple projects to improve patient outcomes and increase access to transplant. In 2017 under Pittman’s leadership, HCA Healthcare initiated a set of best practices to support living kidney donation. Since this time, live kidney donor transplants at HCA Healthcare has increased 61%. Pittman Also implemented a National Access Strategy for Organ Procurement Organizations (OPOs) providing standard remote access to OPOs. In the wake of this strategy, deceased donor recovery increased 15.2% at HCA Healthcare hospitals, performing well above national benchmarks.
Pittman is an experienced transplant administrator and healthcare leader who joined HCA Healthcare in November 2007 as the Transplant Administrator at St. David’s North Austin Medical Center (SDNAMC). During his tenure at SDNAMC, Pittman held multiple leadership positions including contributions spanning 6 years related to St. David’s Healthcare’s successful journey as a Malcom Baldrige recipient in 2014. Recognized for his talent, Pittman entered the distinguished HCA Healthcare Executive Development Program and 2013.
Prior to joining HCA Healthcare, Pittman started his career in healthcare as an ICU nurse at Houston Methodist after graduating from The University of Texas at Austin. It was here that Pittman’s interest in transplant began, first as and ICU nurse and later as a member of the transplant team.
Pittman has an extensive experience in transplant quality and served as a quality consultant for HCA transplant programs, he was a founding faculty member of the Transplant Quality Institute, and has served on several quality conference planning committees.
For the past 9 years, Pittman’s contributions to the transplant community have been realized through serving out appointments on various committees. Pittman has served as a regional representative, Vice-Chair and Chair of the Transplant Administrators Committee; an At-Large Member on the OPTN Policy and Oversight Committee; Ad-hoc Member of the OPTN Geography Committee; Is currently the Ex-Officio of the Transplant Administrators Committee and is an advisor on the OPTN Network Operations Oversight Committee and the UNOS IT Advisory Committee.
James received his undergraduate and graduate degrees at the University of Texas at Austin. In 2013, he received the UT School of Nursing Rising Star Alumni Award, one of the highest awards given to recognize school alumni contributions.
My desire to serve on the Board is to improve the quality and outcomes of transplant recipients, living donors and donor families. Serving as a Committee Member I have learned how to achieve through organized collaboration. As Chair of the Transplant Administrators Committee (TAC), I sought to establish an engaging culture of collaboration and problem solving. Since much of the policy developed by other OPTN committees is ultimately executed by transplanted administrators, I recognized the TAC’s opportunity to lead by example. As such, TAC members have sought to be early adopters of new initiatives (COIIN, TransNet, Organ Offer Acceptance Tool, etc…) and worked to improve policy proposals through objective, unbiased feedback (organ allocation model, liver allocation policy, kidney allocation policy). I intend to take this same approach as a Board Member.
Given my current scope, experience and background in quality, I believe serving on the Board would be a good fit. I have experience leading a spectrum of transplant programs: large to small volume; multi-organ to kidney only; major metro to community based hospitals. My current position has provided experience and understanding unique to the role of corporate oversite for 11 Transplant Programs. Additionally, as I serve as the subject matter expert for transplantation and organ donation at HCA Healthcare, I frequently provide guidance and education on proposed legislation to the American Hospital Association, The Federation of American Hospitals and other lobbying groups.
Serving on Committees provides access to a network of professionals equally focused on improving access to transplant and achieving better outcomes for our patients. As a board member, it would be a privilege to serve with the many leaders from our field to solve the problems of our day and advance this great work forward.
Andrea L. Tietjen, CPA, M.B.A.
AVP, Transplant Administrative Services
Saint Barnabas Medical Center
Biography and personal statement
Ms. Tietjen has been a member of the transplant team at Saint Barnabas Medical Center since 1999 and is responsible for the integration, supervision and oversight of all data, quality and financial operations. Direct responsibilities include maintaining and managing all financial data, performance improvement and quality assurance activities; preparing financial and operational reports, filings and budgets for administrative decision making and cost/benefit analyses; facilitating the development, negotiation and implementation of transplant contracts; managing research funding, budgeting and statistical analyses; supervising and coordinating data management, divisional databases and software applications, patient registration, billing, invoicing and insurance/financial coordination for profit maximization and compliance.
In addition to a Bachelor of Arts from Douglass College, a Bachelor of Science from Upsala College, and a Master of Business Administration from Regis University, she earned a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt from Purdue University and has been a licensed Certified Public Accountant in the State of New Jersey since 1996.
Ms. Tietjen has been very active in the national transplant community for many years and has participated in many projects and committees. She currently serves on the OPTN Kidney Paired Donation Financial Sub-committee, the AFDT Living Donor Education Planning Committee, the OPTN Fiscal Impact Committee, and is on the AST Living Donor COP Finance Workgroup. She is also presently a Transplant Administrators Committee Member, Co-Chair of the AST Transplant Administration and Quality Management Community of Practice and serves as both Treasurer and Committee Member on the RWJBH Woman’s Leadership Alliance.
Ms. Tietjen has also authored numerous articles and publications on transplant operations, finance and billing, serves as content expert for several speaker bureaus and is a frequent presenter at national conferences and meetings. Among the many awards and honors received by Ms. Tietjen are National Kidney Registry Terasaki Medical Innovation Award; Top Abstract at two separate Transplant Management Forums; two-time honor of “Best White Paper”; and “Top NATCO Abstract”. Lastly, she has been an adjunct professor at Caldwell University since 2002 and teaches Accounting, Finance and Healthcare Administration in the School of Business.
Organ transplantation and donation is a dynamic field with ever-changing rules, regulations and requirements, all of which need to be addressed in the most compliant and fiscally responsible way. Facilities and organizations need to work collaboratively to find workable solutions to meet the needs of patients while being mindful of growing budget restraints. My 20+ years focused on all financial aspects of donation and transplantation have provided me with a rich background to help understand and articulate financial challenges faced by the transplant community and identify and suggest resolutions.
Every patient interaction, committee meeting and conference I have attended has helped me to learn, grow and better understand the issues and current needs in transplantation and organ donation. I continue to come way from each experience with additional knowledge that has allowed me to collaboratively participate in every aspect of patient care ranging from policymaking to care delivery. My unique experience lends the financial perspective, which along with the clinical, psychosocial and regulatory perspectives, contributes to the continuous improvement we are all striving to achieve.
I actively supervise a large team of transplant providers as well as counsel patients, and as a result have hands-on knowledge of the current issues and concerns. This experience will allow me to easily articulate and educate any audience as needed. I believe that my current role and responsibilities, along with my committee involvements continue to keep me relevant in these communities. My skills can facilitate finding ideal solutions that find the right balance between money, morality and medicine.
By definition, a fiduciary is in individual that acts on behalf of another, putting their interest ahead of their own, with a duty to preserve good faith and trust. Being a fiduciary requires acting both legally and ethically in the other’s best interests. My daily responsibilities in the transplant program, as well as those associated with being an adjunct professor, a certified public accountant and an active member on numerous committees, evidence my ability to listen, interpret, research, suggest, educate and advocate for the needs of others. My business acumen, coupled with my extensive and varied experience, allow me to positively contribute and actively participate, as we collectively strive for continuous improvement and ultimately the delivery of the safest and highest quality of patient care.