MILWAUKEE, Wis. -- Four major health institutions in the Milwaukee area have pooled resources to form a new solid organ transplant program and have recruited a nationally known expert in liver transplantation to lead the new partnership.
The collaboration, which involves Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, Froedtert Hospital, Medical College of Wisconsin and BloodCenter of Wisconsin, is geared toward bringing together specialists and creating one of the leading transplant centers in the country. Gil White, executive vice president for research at the BloodCenter of Wisconsin, said the arrangement will allow the center's immune system research group to coordinate its work with similar research groups at the other institutions.
The collaboration "will allow us to care for more patients in a much more efficient way," said Douglas B. Evans, chairman of the surgical department at the Medical College of Wisconsin.
"What do patients want? They want people who go to bed and wake up in the morning thinking only about making advances in the care of patients who need a kidney or need a liver."
A year of work Evans said the institutions have been working for a year to forge the collaboration and to recruit its new leader, Johnny C. Hong, who comes to the program from the Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles. At UCLA, Hong served as director of the liver transplantation service and the living donor liver transplant program.
Hong, who received his medical degree in the Philippines in 1991, is known for his work on one of the major challenges in liver transplantation - injuries that occur when the blood supply is restored to the liver during the transplant procedure.
His appointment in Wisconsin begins Oct. 1. "Dr. Hong comes to our campus from one of the nation's leading transplant programs," said Cathy Buck, president of Froedtert Hospital. "His expertise and leadership will be instrumental as we coordinate efforts with our partners at MCW and Children's Hospital to offer patients the highest quality care and the newest innovations in solid organ transplantation."
The involvement of Froedtert and Children's Hospital "is expected to help improve care for our pediatric and adult patients in need of a solid organ transplant," said Joseph E. Kerschner, dean of the medical school and executive vice president of the Medical College of Wisconsin. Evans said the collaboration will bring together at least 20 doctors and another 30 to 40 medical staff, including transplant coordinators, paramedics and others.