The board of directors of the UNOS Foundation has approved the formation of the Deborah C. Surlas Legacy for Life Society to recognize supporters who include UNOS in their estate plans.
The society is named to honor kidney-pancreas recipient, patient advocate and former registered nurse Debi Surlas, who recently informed UNOS that she has included a significant gift to UNOS in her will.
Surlas received her transplant in 1993 and has been active with UNOS since 1995; she is one of only nine general-public UNOS members. She currently serves on the board of directors of the UNOS Foundation and served on the OPTN/UNOS board from 2005 to 2008. She was a member of the OPTN/UNOS patient affairs committee for 10 years (from 1996 to 2006), and chaired the committee for five of those years. In addition, Surlas has served on the OPTN/UNOS kidney transplantation and membership and professional standards committees and as a member of the review board (heart) for her region. She also was a member of the advisory committee that planned the National Donor Memorial.
In 2001, she was appointed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson to serve on the Advisory Committee on Organ Transplantation.
Surlas was president/owner of MBA Associates Inc., in Aurora, Ill., where she also was a medical-legal nurse consultant and clinical audit review specialist, specializing in health-insurance issues involving transplants and donor cases.