2018-2019 Strategic Priorities

It was a true honor to be elected as President of the American Society of Transplantation (AST) on June 4. Thank you to everyone who attended the Town Hall at ATC to welcome our incoming leadership.

For over 25 years, I have been directly involved with the AST in various capacities. I look forward to working together with my leadership colleagues and our membership to set the stage for the AST’s future success. My overall vision for my AST Presidency is to improve the lives of organ transplant recipients by expanding public outreach and integrating the AST with patients, clinicians, and investigators.

To help advance the field of transplantation for the good of our patients, the AST continues to work on initiatives that are aligned with our strategic goals.

Public Outreach and Patient Engagement

Last year, the AST re-launched the Power2Save initiative. The goal of Power2Save is to increase public awareness beyond organ donation, to include the need for further research in transplantation.

A key factor of this initiative is to provide reliable and comprehensive information about organ transplantation and live donation. Patients vigorously seek knowledge about their disease, and unfortunately, their search frequently results in unvetted informational sources. The AST has begun its effort to provide this information, through the Power2Save website and the Live Donor Toolkit. However, our goal is to deliver additional information to the transplant community to help this group make informed decisions about the issues that are important to them.

In 2017, the AST hosted its inaugural Transplant Patient Summit in Washington, DC. After receiving feedback from the attendees of this event, we decided to change this meeting’s name to the Transplant Community Summit to be more inclusive to all of those impacted by transplantation. We are thrilled to host the 2018 Transplant Community Summit in conjunction with the Transplant Games of America in Salt Lake City, UT this August.

Research

The AST is committed to awarding as many research grant opportunities as possible, but beyond the traditional grant process, I believe we must engage the broader scientific community by bridging the gap between scientific discovery and our patients. Our Society has the opportunity to inspire discovery from basic science laboratories that translate into clinical practice – something that has always been a challenge in medicine.

Many of you are familiar with the Transplantation & Immunology Research Network (TIRN), the AST’s research network. In early 2018, the AST’s Board of Directors made the decision to change the name of TIRN to the AST Research Network. Our hope is that the name will reduce confusion among grant seekers, and further enforce the AST brand.

Education

Education is one of the Society’s core objectives and remains a top priority. We continue to provide educational content to our members in the form of meetings and online activities.

Now that ATC is behind us; we are gearing up for the upcoming Fellows Symposium in Transplantation and the Cutting Edge of Transplantation (CEoT) meetings. 

Last year, the AST launched two major educational programs. The Comprehensive Trainee Curriculum (CTC) and the Transplant in 10 video series. These programs continue to expand, offering new content for members to enjoy. In fact, several brand-new Transplant in 10 videos were recorded at ATC.

Aside from professional resources, I would like to reiterate the importance of education to the general transplant community – including transplant recipients, caregivers, live donors, and those on the waiting list.

Advocacy

The Society has a strong focus on our advocacy efforts. We continue to have a voice on Capitol Hill to support the good of the transplant community.

The AST is working with patients to represent the Society as advocates on the Hill, specifically with our concerns regarding the Dialysis PATIENTS Demonstration Act.

Leadership Recognition

The AST would not be where it is today without strong leadership. I would like to sincerely thank those who have served the AST with selfless commitment. During ATC, the Board leadership transitioned, and we welcomed in three new board members: Lisa Potter, Jonathan Maltzman, and Howie Gebel. There are also new roles for Emily Blumberg (President-Elect) and John Gill (Secretary). As part of this transition, we said goodbye to Anil Chandraker, Deepali Kumar, and Jesse Schold.

In addition to our board, I would like to recognize the new leaders in the AST’s Communities of Practice (COPs).

Congratulations to the newest members of our society who were inducted as Fellows of the American Society of Transplantation (FAST). 

Finally, I would like to congratulate the new ASTS President, Dixon B. Kaufman, MD, PhD. I look forward to working with you and your society to further advance our field.

Thank you for your support. I look forward to serving you as President.

Comments

Dear Dr. McKay,

I commend your dedication to the field and leadership in guiding our society as it grows into new areas of service and discovery!

Best regards,

Martha Pavlakis

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