Introducing the Kidney Pancreas COP

Structuring our society around communities of practice (COPs) allows AST members to have a broader engagement than if our structure were built around traditional committees. Beyond simply providing advice to the board of directors, as was typically the charge of committees under the old structure, COPs are charged with proactively identifying and undertaking new projects. It is surprising that after more than three decades, our society had no COP that directly addressed the broad interests of those focusing on kidney and pancreas transplantation. The leaders of the AST Kidney Pancreas Advisory Council (KPAC) identified this gap, and as a result of their efforts, society members focusing on kidney and pancreas transplantation will now have an official home in an AST COP. Let’s launch this new COP with all the fanfare it deserves!

Introducing the Kidney Pancreas COP

John J. Friedewald, MD, Northwestern University – Chair of the Kidney Pancreas COP

2015 ushers in some exciting changes for the AST. The evolution of the AST communities of practice over the years has engaged members, focused efforts, and allowed the society to hear from and serve its diverse population. However, a large portion of the society’s membership previously did not have representation through a COP: those focused on kidney and pancreas transplantation. KPAC had been around for years and served as an advisory committee to the AST Board, but that committee had relatively small membership and did not have direct access to the greater AST membership interested in kidney and pancreas transplantation.

To meet this need, the AST Board voted to establish the Kidney Pancreas Community of Practice (KP COP). Effective this month, the new COP has officially launched and may begin to solicit and accept members. The initial executive committee of the COP comprises former KPAC members, but as they complete their terms, the executive committee will be refreshed with new members in a manner similar to existing COPs.

In 2014, with the endorsement of the AST Board, KPAC laid out a comprehensive set of goals for the coming years. Those initiatives will be the initial topics of discussion for the new COP, and will serve as starting points for action and advocacy. These goals include:
• addressing long-term outcomes following kidney transplantation, highlighting medication adherence and partnering in care with non-transplant clinicians;
• addressing potential threats to patient access to kidney transplantation and threats to innovation as the new allocation system rolls out and transplant centers face increasing regulatory scrutiny; and
• taking a systematic look at the falling rates of pancreas transplantation and potential effects on quality and training at transplant programs.

Finally, a primary reason for developing this COP is to survey its members for opportunities and priorities in the field of kidney and pancreas transplantation. As the inaugural chair of the KP COP, I very much look forward to organizing and hearing from AST members about what issues they would like to see the society tackle. Together we can be a loud and powerful voice dedicated to improving the field of kidney and pancreas transplantation and advancing the missions of the AST.

I encourage you to join us and get involved in this new COP. Our society and our field are only as good as we make them. Together, we can address the real and pressing needs for improvement on behalf of the patients we serve.

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