Transplant, 9,000 miles away

Amy D. Waterman, PhD Transplant News

Sometimes you have to travel a long way to understand that health challenges are more universal than you think. Enter my 9,000 mile, 29-hour flight to Singapore recently, which took me very far away from home to discuss an issue that is really close to my heart, helping kidney patients and potential living donors learn about the option of living donation. I had never been to Asia and had never been on a flight that …

It takes a village: dual perspectives on a partnership

Amy D. Waterman, PhD Transplant News

Amy Waterman It takes a village to create and deliver the kind of kidney transplant education that can really meet the needs of healthcare providers, patients, and donors across the United States. To reach 650,000 plus people suffering from end-stage-renal-disease (ESRD). For those of us who work in this field, it also feels as if change is the only constant. While working in my first academic job as a faculty member at Washington University, St. …

My transplant origin story

Amy D. Waterman, PhD Transplant News

Dear Readers, People always ask me why I work in the field of transplant. I took a memoir writing course where I wrote a piece about the moment I fell in love with this field. I was 28 years old. -Amy Waterman I got an email from the kidney surgeon that morning. The note was direct: “Transplant surgery tomorrow. Need permission from the family to observe. Meet me at 4 pm.” I left my office …

“Social workers don’t give advice. They give attention:” Meet ET Master Trainer Heather Lawyer

Amy D. Waterman, PhD Transplant News

Heather Lawyer’s decades long career in transplantation education began by accident in a restaurant. Today she’s an Explore Transplant Master Trainer who reaches out to dialysis providers around the country. While a strong transplant advocate, Heather also believes that the most powerful education helps providers and patients understand all of their options. “I stand in awe of the nurses, technicians, social workers, dieticians and secretaries who work tirelessly with those on dialysis, for whom there …

Leaves, kidneys, and elections

Amy D. Waterman, PhD Transplant News

I am attending a workshop in Norwich, Connecticut these last two weeks of October. Here at the Norwich Spa and Inn, walking past historic red brick buildings and a bee aviary along stone pathways, I have had the privilege of seeing the fall leaves at their true peak, literally exploding. The beauty of the red, green, and yellow leaves is so great that just stepping outside causes me to involuntarily catch my breath. I am …

An American poet laureate

Amy D. Waterman, PhD Transplant News

Last week, I spoke at the White House at the Organ Donation Summit. People have asked me what it was like. To understand what that day was like, you have to go back in time 20 years. You are now a graduate student in Social Psychology, living on $15,000 for seven years as you finish your PhD. You crash into the field of transplantation unexpectedly and are blown away by its beauty. Here, people are …

Fighting the fight (for Chris)

Amy D. Waterman, PhD Transplant News

When I was at the TED Conference this year in Vancouver, I had a lot of big picture conversations about how best to solve the kidney donor shortage. People suggested that we try to help the 100,000 people now waiting for a kidney in the U.S. get one sooner through: (1) impassioned storytelling about the cause, (2) 3-D printing kidneys, (3) growing or preserving more organs efficiently, (4) technology breakthroughs, and even (5) paying people to …

Proposed law would protect living donors

Amy D. Waterman, PhD Transplant News

Until 2014, a living organ donor could be refused health insurance on the grounds that the donation constituted a pre-existing condition. While the Affordable Care Act effectively eliminated that discrimination, some donors still have trouble getting insurance. It could be that smaller companies don’t know the law, or others continue to charge donors higher premiums. Donors can also have trouble getting life, disability, and long term care insurance. A proposed law, the Living Donor Protection …

The dream drawings

UCLA Former Users From the Founder, Transplant News

At the TED 2016 Dream Conference, they had two artists stationed outside the Main Stage, sitting at tilted drawing desks, waiting. I didn’t notice them at first. Hundreds of people milled all around them, busy ordering coffee from the barista and checking their messages before the next session. But, I am a fan of artists and I love tilted drawing desks. A nice TED volunteer handed me a pink blanket and a journal and asked …

Living in the light

UCLA Former Users From the Founder, Transplant News

I have just spent five days at the TED Dream 2016 Conference being moved to tears by the passion and efforts of people who honor the beauty of all humankind and who are fighting, hard, to make the world a better place. I am a UCLA Associate Professor and run the Transplant Research and Education Center to help more people learn about and consider donating kidneys to one another. This is my first big TED …

An introvert at TED

UCLA Former Users From the Founder, Transplant News

I am a TED virgin, the definition of a person who has never attended the Big TED conference before. I am also a TED introvert. Dr. Brian Little, a personality psychologist, gave a TED talk Tuesday explaining that introverts step out of their boxes only for important projects. Know what an introvert’s project is and you know their motivation. Having the opportunity for collaborative brainstorming with smart people about the organ donor shortage is definitely …

Dreaming big is not for the faint of heart

UCLA Former Users From the Founder, Transplant News

The TED Dream 2016 conference is not for the faint of heart. I know a lot about my field of kidney transplantation and patient education. Every day in my UCLA research lab, I work with transplant professionals, conduct research, write journal articles, and design and test whether new educational programs work. Before TED started, I flew in early to give a Grand Rounds talk to the entire transplant community in Vancouver. However, I came to …

Love large, dream larger

UCLA Former Users From the Founder, Transplant News

It’s Valentine’s Day, a day to be grateful for the love in our lives and the impact we all can have on each other. This week, I have the privilege of being at the 2016 TED Dream conference in Vancouver, BC with a lot of other people who, like me, have big dreams. I work at UCLA in kidney transplantation. I am a transplant educator – you can read more at www.exploretransplant.org, and follow me …