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​UPMC Partners with National Organizations to Expand Organ Donations

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National Kidney Foundation, American Liver Foundation and Donate Life America Collaborate with UPMC to Save More Lives

PITTSBURGH, Feb. 28, 2018 – As part of its commitment to saving lives through living-donor organ transplants, UPMC is partnering with the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) and the American Liver Foundation (ALF) to educate and support patients on kidney and liver waiting lists about the benefits of receiving organs from a living donor.
More than 115,000 Americans are waiting for a kidney or liver transplant. Unfortunately, about 13 people die each day waiting for a life-saving kidney transplant, and about 1,500 people die each year waiting for a liver transplant.
“Living donation saves lives, but few people understand this option,” said Abhinav Humar, M.D., chief of transplantation at UPMC and clinical director of the Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute. “We’re proud to collaborate with organizations like the National Kidney Foundation and the American Liver Foundation, which every day are serving patients and their families by providing vital education and services. Together, we hope to advance our shared goals of saving lives.”
As a part of the partnerships, UPMC and ALF will offer a webinar at noon on March 8 focused on living-donor liver transplants. Swaytha Ganesh, M.D., medical director of the UPMC Living Donor Transplant Program, will provide an overview of living-liver donation, including the process and considerations for donors, recipients and Champions. A parent advocate also will share her daughter’s story and strategies she used to find a living-liver donor, and a patient who provided a living organ donation to his brother will share their story. 
Follow this link to register for the webinar or watch the archived video. This fall, UPMC and ALF also will offer a Facebook Live chat about living-liver donation. For more information, visit
UPMC will partner with NKF to host “The Big Ask: The Big Give” program to provide patients who need kidney transplants and their family members and friends with information and training needed to identify and recruit potential living donors. The program will include five interactive workshops, along with follow-up support through NKF’s help line, website, peer mentoring program and online communities. Three workshops will be held at UPMC for patients on the waiting list and two at local dialysis centers for anyone who wishes to attend. The first workshop will be held at UPMC Montefiore on Friday, April 20. For more information about the workshops, visit
The partnerships build on UPMC’s existing living donor education and support programs, including its Living Donor Champion program.
UPMC has partnered with Donate Life America (DLA) on the UPMC & Donate Life America Living Donor Transplant Facebook page, where people can learn more about living donation, share stories and connect with others who have had a transplant or are waiting for a transplant, and those who are living donors.
As part of their ongoing partnership to reduce the pediatric and adult liver and kidney waiting lists, DLA and UPMC also have developed the Living Donor Champion Toolkit. The toolkit provides tips on how family members and friends can use social media and other resources to help a loved one find a living donor and answers commonly asked questions on the transplant process.
UPMC’s transplant programs are among the world’s largest and are internationally renowned for their influence on the field of transplantation. For more than 30 years, UPMC has provided care to adult and pediatric transplant patients through the Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute, the UPMC Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute, and the Children’s Hillman Center for Pediatric Transplantation. UPMC has performed more than 19,500 transplants, including heart, lung, intestinal, kidney, liver, pancreas and multiple-organ transplants, along with heart assist device implantation. A pioneer in the development and refinement of new transplant procedures, UPMC is committed to reducing waiting list deaths through robust living-donor kidney and living-donor liver transplant programs, as well as other innovative methods to expand the donor pool. UPMC also partners with the University of Pittsburgh to advance basic science and clinically applied research, as well as to support the teaching and training of transplant specialists worldwide.