Julia Klesney-Tait, MD, PhD, associate professor in Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Occupational Medicine, was appointed to the national Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) Lung Transplantation Committee. During this three-year appointment Klesney-Tait will represent the interests of Region 8, which includes Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri, Colorado, and Kansas.
The Lung Transplantation Committee is a national committee of transplant physicians and surgeons that considers issues relating to lung procurement, allocation, and transplantation for the OPTN. The goal of the committee’s work is to develop evidence-based policies aimed at reducing waitlist mortality in lung transplant candidates, increasing lung utilization, improving access to lung transplantation, and improving the health outcomes of lung transplant recipients.
“The most urgent task we are currently working on is developing a continuous distribution model for organ allocation”, Klesney-Tait said, “which we’re on target to do. This will be rolled out for lung transplant allocation first and then ultimately will be used as the boilerplate for all the other organs.”
The goal of this new allocation framework is to develop a more equitable system of allocating organs from deceased donors. The new approach, continuous distribution, will provide organ offers by considering many factors that contribute toward a successful transplant all at once.
As the Region 8 representative, Klesney-Tait meets monthly with the committee to review, discuss, and vote on the policy recommendations. Klesney-Tait’s appointment on the committee will ensure Iowa’s needs and interests are considered in the policy transition the OPTN is currently developing. “These are policy changes that affect patients that need transplantation from Iowa,” Klesney-Tait said. “If we don’t participate, we don’t have a voice in the changes that are being made.”