50 years of changing lives through transplantation

Transplant center and LifeQuest celebrate golden anniversary

By: Kathy Giery, Lauren Venoy

On June 8, 1966, UF surgeons performed the state’s first adult kidney transplant, a procedure that marked the beginning of the UF Health Shands Transplant Center and the organ procurement program that later would be known as LifeQuest Organ Recovery Services.

In the 50 years since, thousands of lives have been saved here due to the collaboration between our expert clinical teams and organ procurement staff. To date, our physicians and medical teams have performed more than 8,300 transplants.
The Transplant Center includes four programs that provide transplants for both pediatric and adult patients — heart, kidney, lung and pancreas — and an adult liver transplant program.

Stephan J. Moore, M.H.A., FACHE, CMPE, the center’s administrative director, said the unique teaching environment at UF Health facilitates collaboration between diverse staffs and teams.

“A successful transplant center requires a high level of communication and teamwork between medical disease specialists — physicians who care for the patient’s end-stage organ disease — and the surgical team,” Moore said.

Since that first procedure in 1966, the transplant center has become one of the largest, most successful and innovative organ transplant centers in the Southeast. It is the longest continual provider of organ transplantation in Florida and has become a pioneer in transplantation research. To make these critical services available to as many people as possible, UF Health has opened satellite clinics in Jacksonville and Orlando.

The center’s success hinges on the availability of organs for transplant and being able to use more recovered organs through advanced technologies and donation after cardiac death. LifeQuest, which was founded and headquartered in Gainesville, has become one of the nation’s leading advocates for organ donation.

Like the transplant center, LifeQuest has experienced growth and expansion over the years. It now has four offices in 36 North Florida counties — providing service and education to more than 70 hospitals and health care facilities. The LifeQuest team works diligently to combat the shortage of organs through education, promotion and donor-designation campaigns. LifeQuest staff also provide professional training to health care professionals involved in the identification and referral of potential organ donors.

“It has been so rewarding to watch the growth of our donor program,” said Danielle Cornell, LifeQuest executive director. “Last year, a record 148 organ donors provided 432 lifesaving gifts to patients in need, including 98 who received their transplants at UF Health Shands.”

LifeQuest Organ Recovery Services

• Serves 80 hospitals and health care facilities in 36 counties
• Has four offices in North Florida:
Jacksonville, Gainesville, Tallahassee and Pensacola
• Is one of 58 organ procurement organizations serving the U.S. and Puerto Rico
• Is a founding member of Donate Life Florida

Visit LifeQuestFla.org to learn more about LifeQuest.

UF Health Shands Transplant Center

• Our teams have performed more than 8,300 adult and pediatric transplants, including more than:
• 260 pancreas transplants
• 650 lung transplants
• 980 heart transplants
• 1,760 liver transplants
• 4,690 kidney transplants

• Named a Center of Distinction by Florida Blue in 2014 and 2015

• Read about dozens of “firsts” in transplantation performed here at UFHealth.org/clinical-firsts

Visit UFHealth.org/transplant-center to learn more about the UF Health  Shands  Transplant Center.