New Partnership Helps Veterans Receive Donated Kidneys
Veteran from Bronx VA is first to benefit
Toledo, OH – The Alliance for Paired Kidney Donation (APKD), one of the longest serving kidney matching organizations in the world, announced today that a United States military veteran received a lifesaving kidney thanks to an altruistic donor and a new partnership with Donor Outreach for Veterans, Corps. (DOVE). The two organizations believe that this unique partnership will result in saving the lives of many more US Military veterans by removing long standing barriers in bringing forth living donors for our veterans.
Nearly 2000 veterans are on the national organ waiting list, and the average wait for a kidney from a deceased donor is three to five years. VA Transplant Centers have lower than average living donor transplant rates.
In efforts to increase living donation, DOVE reached out to APKD for help in transplanting veterans. With the support from the VA VISN 2 contracting team, APKD created a process that simplifies contracting and reduces transplant center risk, making it easier for VA hospitals to transplant more veterans.
“APKD’s mission is to address the financial and health struggles associated with kidney disease,” stated Dr. Michael Rees, co-founder and chief executive officer of the APKD. “We have a long history of innovation and research in living kidney donation and are honored to use our expertise to not only help military veterans get access to paired kidney donation opportunities, but also increase the living kidney donor pool worldwide.”
DOVE’s goals are to find, educate, screen and support prospective living kidney donors, and then match these donors to US military veterans awaiting transplant. DOVE also provides logistical support to VA centers and will work with APKD to remove barriers to living donation. APKD will also offer several benefits to living organ donors to support their decision to donate and protect donors’ finances and families.
“This partnership with APKD will save lives by increasing access to a community of living kidney donors willing to help veterans thrive,” said Sharyn Kreitzer, founder and executive director of DOVE.
APKD and DOVE will continue to work closely, as DOVE has a national campaign that seeks to find prospective donors who want to donate kidneys to benefit veterans. Many of these donors will be offered the option of donating to help support a kidney chain thru APKD, and the “payback” kidney will be later allocated to a veteran. This will increase the donor pool significantly not just for veterans but for those with incompatible donors.
“The partnership between DOVE and APKD will absolutely make an impact,” stated Vaughn Whittaker, surgical director at the Bronx VA Hospital. “We hope that by partnering with these two organizations on this paired exchange transplant, we can create a pathway by which other VA hospitals participate in this program, saving more lives of those who have served our country honorably.”
“Thank you, thank you so much for what you guys have done. This has given me a second chance at life again, so I really appreciate it, and please keep doing what you are doing” stated the Air Force kidney transplant recipient.
To learn more about living donation and paired kidney exchange, visit www.paireddonation.org. To learn how living donation can help a veteran who waits for a lifesaving organ, visit www.dovetransplant.org.
About the Alliance for Paired Kidney Donation
The Alliance for Paired Kidney Donation (APKD) is a 501c3 with global reach that revolutionized kidney donation by performing the world’s first non-simultaneous altruistic donor chain, and the first international chain. APKD’s commitment to innovation, research, education, technology and generosity, partnered with its proprietary kidney matching software powered by a Nobel prize winning algorithm, allows it to fulfill its mission of saving lives by securing a living donor kidney transplant for every patient who needs one.
About Donor Outreach for Veterans, Corp.
Donor Outreach for Veterans, Corp. (DOVE) is a 501c3 organization founded by experienced and dedicated transplant professionals to improve access to living kidney transplantation for veterans. Through both individual and community outreach campaigns, DOVE serves as veterans’ champion to find, screen, educate and match prospective donors to help veterans waiting for a lifesaving organ. When appropriate, DOVE also works with national paired registries, like the Alliance for Paired Kidney Donation, to enable potential donors to help start donor chains.
About The James J Peter VA Medical Center
The JJPVAMC Renal Transplant Program mission is to advance transplant care for veterans through clinical excellence, leadership and advocacy.The James J. Peters VAMC Renal Transplant Program (RTP) launched in September, 2016. It is the 7th renal transplant program within the VA System, which is a much needed addition to serve the over 35,000 veterans living with end-stage renal disease in the nation that will improve access to kidney transplant services for veterans throughout its region. The program operates under the JJP Kidney Care Center which offers a full spectrum of care and treatment options to veterans diagnosed with kidney disease. The JJP renal transplant program has a dedicated full-time nephrologist and surgeon on staff and operates 24/7, 7 days a week. The leadership of the RTP was recruited from private sector transplant centers. They bring with them a commitment to ensure quality customer service and access to the highest standard of care, including innovative services such as paired kidney exchange, dual listing and a living donor outreach campaign.
About the Veterans Health Administration
The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) is the largest integrated health care system in the United States, providing care at 1,293 health care facilities, including 171 VA Medical Centers and 1,112 outpatient sites of care of varying complexity (VHA outpatient clinics) to over 9 million veterans enrolled in the VA health care program. The Veterans Health Administration has offered solid organ transplant services since 1962. Eight of its facilities include transplant services (Bronx, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Alabama, Houston, Iowa, Portland, Nashville).