icon showing fingers crossed

Will UNOS break their promise?

Karen Handelman Transplant News

Written by Martha Gershun, Guest Blogger The day before I was scheduled for surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN to donate my left kidney to a woman I had learned about through the newspaper, I signed paperwork that would go to UNOS, the United Network for Organ Sharing, to ensure that I would receive priority if I ever needed a kidney transplant myself. I was scared about the upcoming procedure, but that promise …

Leander family after transplant, circa 2000

27 years later: Sheila’s living donation story

Karen Handelman Donation Stories, Transplant News

It’s a golden anniversary for me! On December 27th, it will be 27 years since I donated a kidney to my husband. Yes, a living kidney donor for 27 years. in photo: (l to r) Sheila Adams-Leander (donor), Eric Leander (son), and Brian Leander (recipient). Eric was 11 years old at the time of our donation/transplant. When we came home from a June family vacation, my husband felt like he had a cold. When he …

Patient Engagement & Research Lab team at Houston Methodist

2022: A year of transition

Karen Handelman From the Founder, Staff Updates, Transplant News

The research team representing the Patient Engagement and Research Lab, now based in Houston, Texas, ends the year very grateful to be together. Thanks to the support and mentorship of Drs. Osama Gaber, Chief of Surgery at Houston Methodist Hospital, and Mark Ghobrial, Medical Director of Transplant Center, Dr. Amy Waterman was recruited to Houston Methodist Hospital and J.C. Walter Jr. Transplant Center to establish a broader Patient Engagement and Research Lab to advocate for …

Frank Dewhurst, an 84 year old living donor with Paulette, the recipient

How old is too old: an interview with Frank Dewhurst, an 84 year old living donor

Karen Handelman Donation Stories, Transplant News

Written by Martha Gershun, Guest Blogger How old is too old to donate a kidney? Well, Frank Dewhurst of Austin, TX was 84 years old when he successfully donated a kidney in 2019 at Houston Methodist Hospital, making him the oldest person in the United States to become a living kidney donor. Frank graciously consented to a virtual interview with me, a living donor myself, to share more about his journey to becoming a living …

Our first Transplant Games: what we learned from attending the 2022 Transplant Games of America

Alexis Bobu Transplant News

Written by Alexis Bobu, Scientific Writer, Houston Methodist Hospital Department of Surgery and J.C. Walter, Jr. Transplant Center    “Meeting transplant patients and families for the first time was meaningful and fulfilling, adding depth to the work that we do.”   The city of San Diego hosted the 2022 Transplant Games of America on July 29 – August 3, 2022 bringing back the world’s largest celebration of life to the transplant community after being canceled in 2020 …

Does age matter?

Alexis Bobu Transplant News

Written by Martha Gershun, Guest Blogger   “I’m probably too old to be a kidney donor,” is a very common concern for those considering living donation.  I know age was very much on my mind when, at age 60, I volunteered to donate to a 56-year-old woman I read about in our local newspaper.  I had recently received a letter from Be The Match®, the national bone marrow donor registry informing me that I would “age …

Prioritizing patient priorities nationally: Key takeaways from the People Driven Transplant Metrics Consensus Conference

Alexis Bobu Transplant News

Written by Alexis Bobu, Scientific Writer, Houston Methodist Hospital Department of Surgery and J.C. Walter, Jr. Transplant Center   The Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients (SRTR) hosted the People Driven Transplant Metrics Consensus Conference in Bloomington, Minnesota on July 18 – 20th, 2022 to develop priorities to expand transplant metrics to better include what is important to transplant patients, donors, and those that love them. For two days at the Mall of America, patients, living donors, …

Let’s give living donors a checklist

Alexis Bobu Transplant News

Written by Martha Gershun, Guest Blogger    When I first called the transplant center to offer to donate one of my kidneys to a woman I read about in the newspaper, I didn’t know anything about the process.  There were a few paragraphs on the center’s website on a page labeled “Living-donor transplantation.” That was it.  When I called the phone number in the newspaper, I assumed I would learn more. But the person who answered …

Meet our undergraduate research intern: Alexa Sokhon

Alexis Bobu Transplant News

Hello everyone! My name is Alexa Sokhon and I am from Lebanon. I am an upcoming senior at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, majoring in Cell and Molecular Biology with a minor in Medical Humanities. This summer, I had the prestigious opportunity to be a research intern with the Department of Surgery and J.C. Walter Jr. Transplant Center at the Houston Methodist Hospital. I worked alongside Dr. LaShara Davis and Dr. Amy Waterman, who leads …

Telling your story: the power of online storytelling for living kidney donors

Alexis Bobu Transplant News

By Martha Gershun, Guest Blogger  Sharing stories helps people connect and learn from each other in powerful and unique ways. It also allows the storyteller to process their own experiences as they structure and organize their personal narrative to offer to others. The Living Digital Storytelling Project is a compelling, user-friendly platform for real-life living donation stories that provides first-person information about the challenges and benefits of living kidney donation in order to help others …

Mentoring program to promote inclusivity in biomedical research

Alexis Bobu Transplant News

Written by Vandana Suresh, PhD, Communication & External Relations, Houston Methodist Academic Institute    Houston Methodist’s Amy Waterman and LaShara Davis are participating in the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute Programs to Increase Diversity Among Individuals Engaged in Health-Related Research.  Even before his official foray into politics, former President Barack Obama looked up to South African leader-humanitarian-activist Nelson Mandela for inspiration — Mandela’s release from prison gave Obama “a sense of what human beings can …

A belated explanation and an interconnected possibility by Amy Waterman, PhD

Alexis Bobu Transplant News

At the end of June, I will have worked at Houston Methodist Hospital and J.C. Walter Jr. Transplant Center for nine months as Director of Patient Engagement, Diversity, and Education. A common question that I continue to hear is, “Why did you move from University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and the Terasaki institute for Biomedical Innovation (TIBI) to Houston, Texas?” Here is my belated explanation. It is true that my professional experience working at …

American Transplant Congress (ATC) conference reflection: jumping back into in-person science meetings!

Alexis Bobu Talks and Presentations

We were jumping for joy to finally be able to attend the annual American Transplant Congress (ATC) conference in person in Boston from June 3-7, 2022 to network and learn from other experts in the field of organ and tissue transplantation.  The new Patient Engagement Research Lab in the Department of Surgery at Houston Methodist Hospital celebrated the many accomplishments of all the researchers and clinicians from J.C. Walter Transplant Center representing so many facets …

Martha Gershun with her book cover Kidney to Share

Kidney to share

Karen Handelman Donation Stories, New Publications, Transplant News

Introducing Martha Gershun, New Living Donation Guest Blogger In 2018 I donated a kidney at the Mayo Clinic to a woman I read about in the newspaper (1). Deb Porter Gil was in her mid-50s; the mother of two young adult daughters; a retired attorney, raised in Kansas City, where I lived; who had recently moved to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Decades before, while still in law school in Kansas City, Deb had been diagnosed with …

New opportunities await!

Erica Ho From the Founder, Staff Updates, Transplant News

I want to thank everyone associated with the Terasaki Institute of Biomedical Innovation for the incredible opportunity to serve as the Deputy Director of Personalized Transplant Education and Communication. The CEO, Dr. Ali Khademhosseini, the President, Mr. Stewart Han, and the Terasaki Family Foundation have fully supported my advocacy work with transplant patients and helped me honor Dr. Paul Terasaki’s legacy. It’s been a productive four years! During this time, my research team published over …

Addressing insurance-related disparities in kidney transplant access

Erica Ho Staff Updates, Transplant News

By Mindy Kim, Intern The large costs of kidney transplants are no secret; however, the impacts of insurance type on kidney transplant are often overlooked. Most patients in the United States have some form of public insurance (Medicare or Medicaid), private insurance, or are uninsured. In 2018, 32.3% of patients with prevalent end-stage renal disease only had Medicare coverage, 20.8% had non-Medicare insurance, and the remainder of patients had some form of dual or add-on …

TREC partners with Transplant Recipients International Organization to launch the Post-Transplant Cancer Project

Erica Ho Transplant News

By Erica Ho, Senior Research and Education Associate Post-transplant cancer (PTC) is one of the leading causes of death among organ and tissue transplant recipients. This is because the immunosuppressive medicines recipients need to take to prevent graft rejection weakens their immune system, increasing their risk of developing cancer by 2-3 times compared to the general population.1 However, many cancers, if detected early enough, can be treated and transplant recipients can continue living long and …

Remote communities: interning at TREC

Erica Ho Staff Updates

By Mindy Kim, Intern I first came across the Transplant Research and Education Center (TREC) Intern position by chance, but I knew as soon as I started reading more about TREC that its mission was one I wanted to contribute to. Although I knew little about kidney transplants and the specific inequalities that exist in the kidney transplant waiting system, health inequities and access to healthcare were two interests I had been growing through other …

TREC’s participation at American Transplant Congress 2021

Erica Ho Talks and Presentations

The American Transplant Congress is the annual meeting of the American Society of Transplant Surgeons (ASTS) and the American Society of Transplantation (AST). This year, Dr. Amy Waterman and the Transplant Research and Education Center team have participated in submitting 13 abstracts to the event—all of which have been accepted and will be available for public viewing at the virtual event from June 4 – 9. Eight of the 13 abstracts list Dr. Waterman and …

A recap of Dr. Waterman’s participation at the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine’s virtual public webinar

Erica Ho Talks and Presentations, Transplant News

By Erica Ho, Senior Research & Education Associate On Friday April 16, Dr. Amy Waterman spoke at the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine’s virtual public webinar, “A Fairer and More Equitable, Cost-Effective, and Transparent System of Donor Organ Procurement, Allocation, and Distribution”. This webinar was held to educate the public on two important aspects of the current state of deceased donor organ transplantation in the country. The morning session comprised of medical leaders …