Surgery Faculty Win Grant from Donate Life Wisconsin

Carrie Thiessen, MD, PhD, and Nikole Neidlinger, MD, transplant surgeons in the University of Wisconsin Department of Surgery, recently received a grant award from Donate Life Wisconsin, a state-wide alliance committed to increasing organ donation to save and enhance lives.

The award will support a project evaluating the University of Wisconsin Organ and Tissue Donation program’s practice of having pre-procurement conversations. These conversations, which happen before the surgical recovery of donated organs, are meant to provide donor families with the opportunity to have their questions and concerns addressed by the surgical team. They also allow the surgical team to learn about the donor and how the family would like the donor to be honored and recognized during organ recovery.

Pre-procurement conversations are not currently standard practice at organ and tissue donation organizations across the U.S. Drs. Thiessen and Neidlinger will conduct interviews and surveys with the families of deceased donors and with medical personnel to find out how helpful these conversations are. Specifically, they want to know if they help families with their grieving process, enhance the transplant team’s education, and increase support for organ donation among medical staff.

Ultimately, the results of this study may be used to support the development and implementation of pre-procurement conversation practices at other organ procurement organizations and transplant programs in the U.S.

April is National Donate Life Month. To learn more, including about how to register to become a donor, visit the UW Health donation website.