Assistant Professor of Medicine Tarek Alhamad, MD, MS, Medical Director of the Pancreas and Kidney Transplant programs at Washington University/BJH, has been appointed for a three-year term as the new Region 8 representative to the OPTN/UNOS Pancreas Transplantation Committee. The Committee is charged with considering medical, scientific, and ethical aspects related to pancreas and pancreas islet organ procurement, distribution, and allocation
In 1984, the National Organ Transplant Act called for the creation of a national network, the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN), to coordinate the allocation of organs and collect clinical data about organ donors, transplant candidates, and recipients. The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), is the administrative arm of the OPTN. When patients meet a transplant center’s criteria and are accepted for transplantation, their data are submitted to the UNOS.
The committee plays an important role in the policy development process. Its goal is to develop policies that will increase pancreas utilization, improve access to pancreas transplantation, and improve the health outcomes of transplant recipients. Other activities include research and data analysis, educational and informational projects, and providing input and advice to the Board of Directors and other committees.
There are 11 regional zones over which the OPTN oversees all organ transplantation. States in Region 8 include Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Wyoming. As a Regional representative, Dr. Tarek will have additional responsibilities of communicating the committee’s activities to region 8, as well as gathering input to ensure that the perspectives, concerns, and opinions of the members in his region are reported back to the committee. The committee meets monthly via web conference and twice a year in person.
About his upcoming term, Dr. Alhamad says, “I look forward to represent Region 8 for the next couple of years to participate in developing policies that will increase pancreas utilization and decrease the discard.”
Alhamad is currently a Committee Member-at-Large on the Kidney Pancreas Community of Practice (KPCOP) Executive Committee and is the driving force behind the Midwest Transplant & Nephrology Symposiums, the fourth of which will be held October 11-13, 2019.
He is also co-author (with Drs. David Axelrod and Krista Lentine) of the chapter “The Epidemiology, Outcomes and Costs of Contemporary Kidney Transplantation” in the recently released, 4th edition of the book Chronic Kidney Disease, Dialysis and Transplantation, a Companion to Brenner and Rector’s The Kidney (Himmelfarb and Ikizler, 2019).
Congratulations to Dr. Alhamad on his appointment! Follow him @TransplantPulse on Twitter.