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CEOT 2016: Behind the Scenes

If you attended AST's Cutting Edge of Transplantation (CEOT) 2016, I’m glad you were a part of the record number of attendees we welcomed to the Arizona Biltmore this past February. During nearly 30 hours of sessions over three days, you had the chance to work with fellow transplantation professionals to explore the history behind the organ shortage and discuss how to address these issues moving forward. Anil Chandraker’s blog post highlights the science of CEOT, and now I want to make sure I provide an update on some parallel activities related to this year’s meeting.

As usual, CEOT 2016 was preceded by an in-person board meeting, which concluded with a leadership session involving all of the AST committee chairs. At this meeting, committee leaders came together to update the board on recent initiatives and to share best practices. If you are interested in learning more about what a particular committee or Community of Practice (COP) is working on, I encourage you to peruse the Hub or reach out directly to any of the committee or COP leaders.

Another important part of CEOT involved connecting with our corporate supporters. As part of our Corporate Affiliates Program (CAP), participating companies can send up to two representatives to the annual Corporate Roundtable hosted at CEOT to meet with AST leadership and discuss how we can best work together to advance the field. Discussion at this year’s Corporate Roundtable included the topics of transplant center metrics, minimizing organ discards, joint advocacy efforts, and an update on the kidney allocation system.

Following the Corporate Roundtable, the AST hosted the second annual Pipeline Presentations where companies new to transplantation presented their research, products, and services to the AST leadership and CAP members. The Pipeline Presentations offer new companies a chance to get valuable feedback from more established companies, and the presentations give the AST’s CAP members an early view at what’s coming down the innovation pipeline.

Our patient advisory meeting was an especially exciting session at this year’s CEOT. As you may remember, the AST hosted a meeting this past June with a number of patient stakeholder organizations to build relationships and look for areas of potential collaboration. One theme agreed upon by every group represented was the need to remove financial disincentives to living donation, and we issued a joint statement on this after the meeting. At CEOT, we gathered with these patient stakeholder representatives again to continue working together to advance the field. In addition to continued discussion related to living donation, the group also talked about the AST’s desire to become more patient focused. While this has always been at the heart of the AST’s advocacy efforts, we are also hoping to serve as an informational resource for candidates and recipients. Input from this group was very helpful as we work to develop messaging that will resonate with the public. We are grateful to the participants who joined us in Phoenix for the discussion and look forward to continued opportunities to seek their insight and partnership. 

Finally, CEOT 2016 ended with a supporter reception on Saturday evening, which honored those AST members who donated $250 or more to the AST in the past year. This is a tradition I hope to continue in years to come, so if you make a donation to the AST this year, save the date for this special occasion. It’s important to the entire AST leadership that we take the time to thank those members who help move our society forward with their generous contributions.

CEOT 2016 was a success on many levels. I hope to see you at CEOT 2017, which will take place again at the Arizona Biltmore on February 23-25.

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