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Mobile, Ala. (September 16, 2003)

News ReleasesUSA Transplant Surgeon to Address National Summit

Dr. Velma Scantlebury, Medical Director of the Gulf Coast Regional Transplant Center located at the University of South Alabama Medical Center, will be a featured speaker at the upcoming "Women's Summit on Organ Donation: Reaching Our Communities," set for Thursday, September 18 in Washington D.C. The focus of the conference, presented by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, will be to inform women from across the country about the critical shortage of organ donors. Leadership from major organizations that serve or represent women across the country have been invited to attend. Heath and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson will be the keynote speaker.

"There is a tremendous need to educate the public about organ donations and transplantation," said Scantlebury. "This summit will bring together leadership from the nation's major organizations in hopes they can find ways to involve their communities in this important effort."

Dr. Scantlebury's presentation will define the current state of organ and tissue donation by detailing the causes and diseases that lead to organ failure and the need for transplantation.

"There are more people on the waiting list for organs, than there are organs available," said Scantlebury. "This conference provides an opportunity to inform leadership of the problem, brainstorm and share ideas that have been successful in other places and provide recommendations directly to the US Department of Health and Human Services on ways they can help with the effort."

Nationwide it is estimated that 75-thousand people are awaiting an organ donation. Fifteen Americans die each day while waiting for an organ to become available. Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson initiated the Gift of Life Donation Initiative in 2001 to promote donations of organs and tissue.

Dr. Scantlebury is one of only a handful of speakers invited to present at the summit. Listed by the American Medical Association as the nation's first African-American female transplant surgeon, she has been a recipient of the National Kidney Foundation's "Gift of Life Award" for her work in transplantation among minorities. She has performed more than 700 kidney transplants in children and adults. She is currently Chief, Division of Tranplantation at USA. The Gulf Coast Regional Transplant Center provides local access to kidney transplants for patients in south Alabama, southwest Mississippi and northwest Florida.

For additional information, contact Barbara Shaw at USA Hospitals Public Relations at (251) 471-7262.
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University of South Alabama - Mobile Alabama 36688-0002 / 1 (251) 460-6101
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Last date changed: July 30, 2004 1:55 PM