Happy New Year
It is hard to believe that we have entered the 2020s. I sincerely hope the next decade is filled with progressive advancements in transplantation – the fruit of so much hard work by the entire transplant community.
Ten years ago, the Society surpassed 3,000 members for the first time, and only 7 Communities of Practice (COPs) existed.
Today, the AST has over 4,000 members and 16 COPs. Our Society has expanded immensely and has become more professionally diverse. Over the last decade, we have also introduced the patient community to the AST – starting with a Power2Save concert in 2013 and a more comprehensive outreach effort beginning in 2017 with our Transplant Community Summit.
It is because of you, our membership, that we can accomplish so much and continue to grow each year. I am grateful to all of you for your exceptional contributions of time, expertise, and donations through the years.
2019 was another incredible year of progress and growth. Below is an overview of some of the AST’s 2019 highlights.
We began the year with our winter meeting, Cutting Edge of Transplantation (CEoT), in February. This meeting focused on the important topic of personalized medicine in transplantation. This lively and thought provoking meeting will be followed by CEoT 2020, which will focus on organ allocation and will be held March 5-7, 2020, in Phoenix, AZ. Early bird registration is open until January 16.
Our annual joint meeting, American Transplant Congress (ATC), was held in Boston, MA. This meeting always provides an excellent opportunity for the transplant community to connect on the latest advancements in transplantation and 2019 was no exception.
Fellows 2019 hosted over 150 fellows in transplantation at our annual meeting in Grapevine, Texas. I had the opportunity to connect with these fellows, and am confident that the future of this field is in great hands as we head into the next decade.
2019 was also notable for our first-ever International Transplantation Science (ITS) meeting this fall. This meeting featured dozens of transplant science discussions from subject-matter-experts in our field. ITS also included a patient roundtable, where transplant recipients shared their perspectives with transplant science professionals.
The AST Research Network funded $225,000 in research grants in 2019. We are committed to continuing to fund research – an essential initiative to move our field forward. To support our commitment to career development, the AST will fund $300,000 in research grants every year for the next three years. These grants would not be possible without the generous support of our donors and partners.
Public Policy and Advocacy
It has been a historic time for our field on the public policy and advocacy front, partially due to the Administration’s kidney health initiative in July. The Comprehensive Immunosuppressive Drug Coverage for Kidney Transplant Patients Act of 2019, also known as the Immuno Bill was just introduced in Congress. We are hitting the ground running with a visit to Capitol Hill in the next few weeks and grassroots efforts to promote this very important piece of legislation.
Last year, we also focused on the Living Donor Protection Act by bringing members of the patient community to Capitol Hill to speak to their Members of Congress on this issue.
At CEoT 2019, the AST awarded our Innovation Award to the National Kidney Registry for their work in kidney paired exchange. This initiative has changed the face of live donor transplantation, expanding access for our patients. Thank you to everyone who submitted a nomination for the 2020 Innovation Award. We look forward to presenting the award to a new recipient at CEoT in March.
The AST presented eleven awards at the American Transplant Congress (ATC) in Boston, MA. The Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Dr. Jay Fishman, and our other awards were presented to many deserving individuals. It’s not too late to recognize your deserving colleagues. The deadline to submit your nominations for the 2020 Achievement Awards is January 31.
AST Communities of Practice
In 2019, 64% of AST members belonged to one or more COPs. Our 16 COPs do incredible work each year, and 2019 was no exception. Nearly $30,000 in ATC travel grants were awarded by COPs this year, and three consensus conferences were held.
If you are not yet part of the COP community, I encourage you to check out this AST resource. Joining a COP is a great way to stay in touch and meet new colleagues in your specialty. Members can manage their COP memberships on their AST profile.
We have come a long way since the IDCOP became the first COP in 2003. I’ve enjoyed learning about the incredible work of all of our COPs during my time as President, and I can’t wait to see what the next decade holds with future COPs.
Wishing you all a wonderful New Year.