Heather Bruschwein, PsyD
George Fox University (PsyD), University of North Carolina Chapel Hill (Health Psychology Fellowship)
Clinical Psychologist; Assistant Professor, Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences, University of Virginia School of Medicine
I have been part of the Psychosocial and Ethics COP’s (PSECOP) transplant caregiver workgroup, including development of a transplant caregiver toolkit. I am also a member of the PSECOP’s newly formed cognitive functioning and health literacy in transplant work group. Outside of AST, I am involved in several studies regarding cystic fibrosis and mental health.
What made you decide to work in transplantation?:
I worked in the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill transplant clinic for two years during fellowship. I had very little experience with transplant prior to that, and those two years were an incredible learning experience. I was drawn in by the complexities of medical care and the psychosocial issues unique to the field of transplant, as well as my wonderful transplant colleagues and patients. I never anticipated working in transplant but once I started, I did not want to leave.
What do you find to be the most valuable aspect of your work?:
Being involved in a patient’s transplant journey, from the pre-transplant evaluation to seeing them get back to their families, jobs, and day-to-day life after transplant is very rewarding. It is a unique opportunity to partner with a patient and their families and caregivers during some of their most difficult and vulnerable moments.
How have you served AST?:
I joined AST during fellowship and have been involved ever since. I served as the Early Career Member and then Member at Large of the PSECOP Executive Committee. My term recently ended and I am excited to remain involved in other ways, including workgroups of the PSECOP. I have received many benefits from AST, but the most significant are the connections and collaborations I have made with other AST members. There are so many accomplished and amazing transplant colleagues in AST from whom I have learned so much. I feel fortunate to have found this professional community.
I have a 3-legged dog. I was a little unsure when adopting him if he would have health issues, but he is full of energy and runs much faster than me! He has been a great COVID companion.