Leadership in Transplantation
Anil Chandraker, MD, FRCP, FAST, Brigham & Women's Hospital
Starting a new year as president of the American Society of Transplantation is a daunting task and quite rightly leads to a great deal of introspection. Having been a member of the society for many years before coming onto the board of directors, I recognize that it is not always easy to discern what the board does or why it does it.
My own belief is that the AST should always be about leadership in transplantation: that is why our organization exists, and that is why we choose to join it. Leadership is easy to say and hard to do. As the society grows larger, it represents an increasingly broad, diverse membership, which I am pleased to say is also reflected in its leadership. Diversity, while generally a positive quality, brings its own challenges; conflicts can arise in terms of subspecialty representation and agendas. That being said, our diversity is also our strength, for we as a single society are truly representative of transplantation as a whole.
With this in mind, let me share with you some ways the AST has been serving as a leader in transplantation.
Research – I am pleased that research remains a major focus of the society. The percentage of the membership that is directly involved in research has decreased, but creating the right environment for transplantation research to grow and to reverse the trend of decreased grant support has been a major initiative. In the last 20 years, the AST has provided more than $13 million in research grants to spur innovation and dramatically enhance the field of transplantation. This year, the AST partnered with seven different organizations to provide nearly $1.3 million in funding (more than double the previous year) to 12 worthy researchers. The establishment of AST's Transplantation & Immunology Research Network (TIRN) has provided opportunities for unique partnerships, and this program is starting to open new doors. You can see a complete list of the 2016 AST Grant Recipients here.
Education – This has traditionally been a strong area of focus for the society, with the Fellows Symposium representing a rite of passage for trainees entering the field. We have added the summer internship program and are working on ways to make a career in transplantation more accessible to trainees and medical students. The Fellows curriculum and ongoing educational opportunities, including the revitalization of the CEOT meeting, have increased the array of educational opportunities for members. I am committed to continue developing our society’s educational offerings.
Advocacy – To have effective advocacy means to have a well-integrated strategy where we are clearly able to recognize the issues, recognize the needs of those involved in our field, and work on remedies proactively instead of reactively. To this end, I am pleased to announce that our Transplantation Therapeutics Consortium project with our ASTS colleagues is picking up momentum. This project is an important strategic partnership that will help provide a structure to allow the development of novel therapeutic approaches in transplantation and remove barriers.
At the ATC meeting we also continued to roll out our plan to engage as a more public facing society in order for us to advocate more effectively for transplantation as a whole. We look forward to the launch of Power2Save later this summer to solicit additional funds for transplant research.
Also on the advocacy front, I was honored to represent the AST along with President-elect Ron Gill and Executive Vice President Libby McDannell at a White House Summit earlier this month focused on saving lives and improving healthcare through innovation in organ donation and transplantation. This invite-only event focused on the current challenges in transplantation and the commitments that are being made by leading organizations to address these challenges. It was an opportunity to highlight transplant on a national stage; it is my hope that the good work done at this event goes beyond a one-day meeting and there is sustained effort by all transplant stakeholders to make significant strides in addressing organ availability and improving long-term outcomes. Several commitments were highlighted from the AST, and you can read more about this event and AST's commitments here.
Finally, I would like to thank the outgoing board members and committee chairs:
Kenneth Newell, AST Past-President
Thomas Pearson, AST Treasurer
Larry Melton, AST Councilor-at-Large
David Nelson, AST Councilor-at-Large
Peter Heeger, ATC Executive Planning Committee
Robert S. Gaston, Audit Committee and Development Strategic Planning Committee
Mandy Ford, Community of Basic Scientists Executive Committee
James R. Spivey, Conflict of Interest Committee
Nicole Turgeon, Education Committee
Michelle A. Josephson, Financial Advisory Committee
Camille Kotton, Infectious Disease Community of Practice Executive Committee
Rebecca Hays, Live Donor Community of Practice Executive Committee
David P. Foley, Liver and Intestinal Community of Practice Executive Committee
Yolanda Becker, OPTN/UNOS Committee
Zeeshan Butt, Psychosocial Community of Practice Executive Committee
Roslyn B. Mannon, Public Policy Committee
Jeffrey Teuteberg, Thoracic & Critical Care Community of Practice Executive Committee
Jamil Azzi, Trainee and Young Faculty Community of Practice Executive Committee
Parmjeet Randhawa, Transplant Diagnostics Community of Practice Executive Committee
David Mathes, Vascular Composite Allotransplantation Advisory Council
Kevin Korenblat, MD, This Week in Transplant (AST eNews) editor
And I would like to welcome the incoming board members and committee chairs:
Ronald Gill, AST President-elect
Emily Blumberg, AST Treasurer
Dianne McKay, AST Secretary
Jon Kobashigawa, AST Councilor-at-Large
Nicole Turgeon, AST Councilor-at-Large
Alexander Wiseman, AST Councilor-at-Large
John P. Vella, Audit Committee
Josh Levitsky, ATC Executive Planning Committee
Maria-Luisa Alegre, Community of Basic Scientists
Linda Ohler, Conflict of Interest Committee
Julie Yabu, Education Committee
Larry B. Melton, Financial Advisory Committee
Shirish Huprikar, Infectious Disease Community of Practice Executive Committee
Didier A. Mandelbrot, Live Donor Community of Practice Executive Committee
Jacqueline O’Leary, Liver and Intestinal Community of Practice Executive Committee
Michael Ison, OPTN/UNOS Committee
Sheila G. Jowsey, Psychosocial Community of Practice Executive Committee
Jon Kobashigawa, Thoracic & Critical Care Community of Practice Executive Committee
David Wojciechowski, Trainee and Young Faculty Community of Practice Executive Committee
Peter Jindra, Transplant Diagnostics Community of Practice Executive Committee
Michael R. Marvin, Vascular Composite Allotransplantation Advisory Council
Sumeet Asrani, MD, This Week in Transplant (AST eNews) editor