A Message From Your New AST President

On June 6, 2022, I was excited and honored to officially become your new AST President. My affiliation with the Society dates back almost two decades. I have served the AST in various roles, including Board Secretary, Councilor-at-Large, IDCOP Chair, and several other positions. It is a privilege to serve as AST President and I look forward to working with the members of our great Society.

Outside of my roles at the AST, I am a Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto and a Transplant infectious diseases physician in the Multi-Organ Transplant Program at Toronto General Hospital.

Before I outline my plans for the year, I would like to express my gratitude to John Gill and Rich Formica for their work as 2021-22 AST President, and Past-President respectively. Additionally, I would like to congratulate and welcome our new Board members, Anne Dipchand, Raymund Razonable, and Deirdre Sawinski, and thank our outgoing Board members, Roy Bloom, Jim Rodrigue, and Betsy Verna.

Together with the AST Board of Directors, COPs, committees, and members, I look forward to making this coming year full of growth, productivity, and success at the AST. Below are a few goals I would like to highlight.

Focusing on the core mission of the AST

This year, we must focus on and grow our core mission and pillars related to research, education, advocacy, organ donation, and service to the community. With this in mind, we will be doing a formal strategic planning exercise to develop an exciting and bold vision for the AST for the next 5 years.

Increasing funding and grants through the AST Research Network

Research grants awarded through the AST offer exceptional opportunities for our members. To ensure the long-term growth of our field, it is my goal to expand research funding and grant types available through the AST Research Network (ARN).

On that note, I would like to congratulate our 2022 grant recipients. Learn more about their research here.

Creating opportunities for discussion of new frontiers in transplantation

Our community is powerful and strives to improve the state of the field and outcomes for our patients. In addition to research funding, a channel for our community to discuss and develop guidance related to new frontiers, innovative technologies, and potentially transformative developments in the field is essential for our membership.

Empowering our COPs

Two-thirds of AST members are members of at least one Community of Practice (COP), and our COPs continue to grow and accomplish great things. In 2021, COPs awarded over $10,000 in research grants and 40 ATC travel grants, contributed to various webinars and meetings, and established several new workgroups and projects.

In May 2022, the AST proudly launched its 17th COP – the Donation and Transplantation Optimization (DTO COP).

My goal is to empower our COPs to continue building their communities and working together to produce impactful projects and initiatives. COPs continue to work hard for the Society and our field, and it is essential that they are heard and supported.

Continued commitment to increasing diversity and inclusivity 

In 2020, we established our Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access (to Life) [IDEAL] Task Force, which became an official AST committee in 2021. Since the inception of this committee, we hosted several webinars addressing key issues on diversity and race.

The AST must continue to be a society that reflects equity and diversity and that always delivers on its promise of advancing transplantation. I hope our members view the AST as a professional home in which they can achieve their full potential regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual preference, or gender identity. My goal is to make all members feel that their achievements are celebrated and appreciated.

Ensuring AST has an international impact

Although the AST is based in the United States, its membership and impact extend globally. It is important to ensure that the Society continues to represent transplantation worldwide as the premier transplant society.

As a Canadian, I am honored to call AST my professional home. Transplantation is a team effort. We must work together from across the globe to collaborate as an entire community to push the field forward.

This year, I look forward to working with the AST Board of Directors, committees, COPs, members, and other societies. Thank you for the opportunity to serve as your President. Please feel free to reach out to me at any time (Deepali.kumar@uhn.ca).



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