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Formica Elected President of American Society of Transplantation

July 15, 2020
by Julie Parry

Richard Formica, MD, professor of medicine (nephrology) and professor of surgery (transplant) and director of Transplant Medicine, was recently elected president of the American Society of Transplantation (AST) during its annual meeting on June 1.

“The American Society of Transplantation is the largest transplant society in the country with more than 3900 members. It's physicians, surgeons, dietitians, pharmacists, social workers; covers the whole spectrum of individuals,” explained Formica. “We have five primary pillars, which are advocacy, research, education, organ donation, and service to the community, which makes AST unique.”

Formica has been involved with AST for more than 20 years and has served in various roles. Where tradition has it that an incoming president identifies a project to champion, as with everything else the COVID-19 pandemic has required adaptation. For the coming year, Formica outlines the following goals for the society:

  • Ensure the AST remains in a good position during this stressful time to be able to continue carrying out its core mission.
  • Learn better ways to leverage technology so that we can continue to offer and expand our educational offerings and meetings to AST members.
  • Continue to provide a place to receive intellectual nourishment and collaboration for all AST members.
  • Ensure that the people we serve and advocate for, people with organ failure, are not forgotten.

In addition, he will continue to partner with his longtime friend and the co-president of the AST, John Gill, MD, MS, FRCPC, from Vancouver, B.C., in efforts to ensure that the selfless act of donating a living organ is financially neutral for the donor.

“Under the current transplant system, living donors can't be paid for donation. But the reality is most people who choose to donate an organ end up paying money to donate, in travel costs, lost sick days or lost vacation days, etc. This is codified in federal law, in the National Organ Transplant Act,” said Formica.

Formica and Gill believe that it is both ethically correct to ensure living donors are projected in all aspect of their lives through the donation process. They also believe that the removal of financial disincentives to living organ donation has the potential to increase access to living donation for the most vulnerable members of society with end stage kidney disease.

The American Society of Transplantation is dedicated to advancing the field of transplantation and improving patient care by promoting research, education, advocacy, organ donation, and service to the community.

The Section of Nephrology is committed to excellence in patient care, research, and education with the goal for both their faculty and trainees to be national and international leaders in the field of academic nephrology. To learn more about their mission and work, visit Nephrology.

Submitted by Julie Parry on July 15, 2020