Duke Coordinating Center Team
Lisa McElroy, MD, MS
Abdominal Transplant Surgeon
Assistant Professor of Surgery
Duke University Department of Surgery
Lisa McElroy, MD, MS graduated from the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine in 2009 as part of the Leadership in Medicine for the Underserved Program. She completed her general surgery residency training at the Medical College of Wisconsin. During her training, she was selected for a T32 postdoctoral research fellowship at Northwestern University, where she also earned a Master of Science in Health Services and Outcomes Research.
Dr. McElroy completed her clinical fellowship in abdominal transplant surgery at the University of Michigan and is currently an Assistant Professor of Surgery and Population Health Sciences at Duke University. Her research examines the influence of organizational characteristics on clinical outcomes of high cost, high acuity patients.
Dr. McElroy’s current projects, which aim to improve equity in access to transplantation by reducing bias in processes of care, are funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the American Surgical Association. She serves on the grants and fellowship committees of the American Society of Transplant Surgeons and is a member of the editorial boards of Clinical Transplantation and Annals of Surgery Open.
Allan D. Kirk, MD, PhD
Abdominal Transplant Surgeon
Chair, Duke University Department of Surgery
Surgeon in Chief, Duke Health
Allan D. Kirk, MD, PhD, FACS, is chair of the Department of Surgery in the Duke University School of Medicine and Surgeon-in-Chief for Duke University Health System. He is the David C. Sabiston, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Surgery and a professor of immunology and pediatrics. Dr. Kirk received his medical degree from the Duke University School of Medicine in 1987 and a PhD in immunology at Duke in 1992. He went on to complete his general surgery residency at Duke in 1995, followed by an organ transplant fellowship at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1997.
Dr. Kirk directs the Laboratory of Immune Management in the Department of Surgery at Duke University School of Medicine. His research focuses on the following three interrelated areas: 1) the use of costimulation blockade therapy to prevent organ rejection in transplant recipients, 2) antibody depletion therapies to condition patient immune systems for transplant, and 3) understanding how immunosuppressive agents can affect the immune system based on immune exhaustion, memory, and senescence.
Dr. Kirk is internationally recognized for work in transplant immunology, serving as the inaugural Chief of the Transplantation Branch for the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) and principal investigator for multiple clinical trials, including the first-in-man experience with novel immunosuppressive agents. He served as Editor-in-Chief for the American Journal of Transplantation from 2010 through 2020 and is now Editor Emeritus.
Nrupen Bhavasar, PhD, MPH
Associate Professor in Medicine
Associate Professor in Biostatistics and Bioinformatics
Duke University School of Medicine
Nrupen Bhavsar, PhD, MPH, is an Associate Professor in Medicine and an Assistant Professor in Biostatistics and Bioinformatics in the Duke University School of Medicine. After obtaining a degree from the Tulane University School of Medicine Master of Public Health program in 2003, Dr. Bhavsar attended The Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. He obtained his PhD in Epidemiology from Johns Hopkins in 2010 and subsequently completed a Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the New York University School of Medicine in 2011.
Dr. Bhavsar is a quantitative epidemiologist with methodological expertise in the design and analysis of observational studies that leverage data from cohort studies, registries, and the electronic health record (EHR). His background, training, and research is in the measurement and characterization of biomarkers, risk factors, and treatment outcomes for chronic disease using real-world datasets.
Funded by the National Institutes of Health and The Geneva Foundation, Dr. Bhavsar’s ongoing work aims to integrate informatics, epidemiology, and biostatistics to reduce the burden of chronic disease. In parallel, his research portfolio aims to understand the impact of social determinants of health, including dynamic neighborhood changes, such as gentrification, on the health of adults and children.
Wendy Webster, MA, MBA, FACHE
Director of Clinical Operations and Healthcare Analytics
Duke University Departments of Surgery, Neurosurgery, and Head and Neck Surgery & Communication Sciences
Wendy Webster, MA, MBA, FACHE is the Director of Clinical Operations and Healthcare Analytics at Duke University Medical Center in the Departments of Surgery and Neurosurgery. Wendy received her undergraduate degree from Baylor University and her Master of Business Administration from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. She brings more than 15 years' experience in health care operations management of teams in the provider and hospital settings. Recognized for her leadership in clinical operations and strategy, she consistently creates performance and cultural transformations.
In 2016, in partnership with Dr. Allan Kirk, Chair of the Department of Surgery at Duke, she founded the Laboratory for Transformative Administration (LTA), a learning health unit, which conducts methodological research to improve patient outcomes and patient flow throughout the hospital. The LTA puts data science focused–investigators shoulder-to-shoulder with health system data analysists to construct testable hypotheses around health system quality, cost, and operational efficiency. Current projects are highly varied and include improving access and experience through the ambulatory clinics, optimizing block time and contingency responses in the OR, improved flow of patients through the hospital and more intelligent use of inpatient beds, and predicting case length at time of surgical case posting.
Duke Department of Sugery
Ursula Rogers is the Senior Informaticist for Duke Surgery in the Laboratory for Transformative Administration (LTA), and previously served as associate director of informatics for AI Health, to which she brought 25 years of experience in data management and software development. Her role at Duke AI Health involved expertise in understanding, extracting and curating data from the EHR and other clinical data sources for the purposes of Clinical Research, QI and Operations. Ursula enjoys working closely with clinicians on data science projects and for the past five years has been an integral part of AI/ML teams and ensuring they have the "big data" necessary for predictive models.
Ursula’s broad healthcare data knowledge has been key to many successes across the Health System and in programs such as Data+, AI Health, Duke Crucible and Learning Health Units. Prior to joining AI Health, she led curation of the Southeastern Diabetes Initiative Datamart (SEDI) at DTRI and was lead data analyst at DCRI’s Center for Learning Healthcare (CLHC), where she led all aspects of Clinical Research data management (database design, reporting, survey and eCRF design, user experience and ePROs).
Ursula graduated from Clarkson University (NY) with a degree in Computer Science.
Roland A. Matsouaka, PhD
Assistant Professor of Biostatics & Bioinformatics
Duke Department of Biostatics & Bioinformatics
Roland A. Matsouaka, PhD, is an assistant professor of biostatics & bioinformatics at Duke University, and a member of the Duke Clinical Research Institute. Dr. Matsouaka's methodological research focuses on nonparametric, semiparametric, and causal inference methods for comparative effectiveness studies, clinical trials affected by non-compliance, not-so-perfect experiments, and observational studies. His goal is to develop statistical methods that make the best use of the data collected to answer scientific questions while applying principled methods to minimize bias and ensure fair assessments.
The substantive areas of application of Dr. Matsouaka's research include public health, biomedical, and social sciences. As a faculty statistician in the Duke Clinical Research Institute, Dr. Matsouaka collaborates with clinical researchers to better understand and treat cardiovascular diseases. He is actively involved in the analyses of large registry data including the Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) National Database, the STS and American College of Cardiology (ACC) Transcatheter Valve Therapy (TVTR) Registry, and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association Get With The Guidelines (GTWG).
Dr. Matsouaka is also a member of the Duke Center REACH Equity Measures, Methods, and Analysis Subcore. The overarching goal of REACH Equity is to develop and test interventions that reduce racial and ethnic disparities in health by improving the quality of patient-centered care in the clinical encounter across settings, diagnoses, stages of illness, and throughout the life course. At REACH Equity, Dr. Matsouaka ensures the conduct of rigorous, reproducible, synergistic research related to the Center’s theme. In that regard, he advises clinical investigators and provide analytic and data management support for research projects conducted by the Center.
Tyler Schappe, MS
Duke Department of Biostatics & Bioinformatics
Tyler earned his first MS in Botany & Plant Pathology with a concentration in molecular biology from Oregon State University and his second MS in Statistics with a concentration in statistical genetics from North Carolina State University. He currently collaborates with researchers in the Abdominal Transplant Division of the Department of Surgery and in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. His main interests include hierarchical linear models, large "omics" datasets, Bayesian inference and Stan, machine learning, and spatial statistics.
Andrew Adams, MD, PhD
Abdominal Transplant Surgeon and Professor of Surgery
Director, Solid Organ Transplant Service Line
University of Minnesota
Andrew Adams, MD, PhD is a Professor and the John S. Najarian Surgical Chair in Clinical Transplantation in the Department of Surgery at the University of Minnesota Medical School. He is also the Executive Medical Director for the Solid Organ Transplant Service Line at M Health Fairview. Dr. Adams earned his medical degree from Emory University Medical School, before completing his residency at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital. He returned to Emory University following residency to complete a transplant fellowship and later joined their faculty. There, he established an innovative translational research lab focused on developing cutting-edge technologies that improve patient care and outcomes for transplant patients.
As a transplant surgeon and scientist, Dr. Adams is interested in developing the best therapies and diagnostics for transplant patients by understanding the fundamental mechanisms of the immune system that give rise to organ rejection. As a graduate student, under the direction of Drs. Chris Larsen and Tom Pearson, Dr. Adams investigated the efficacy of costimulation blockade and helped develop Belatacept, now a clinically available therapy for transplant patients. Belatacept leads to improved survival and kidney function for renal transplant patients. The Adams’ Lab has four main areas of investigation: 1) costimulation blockade and costimulation independent rejection, 2) xenotransplantation, 3) transplant diagnostics, 4) transplant outcomes.
Dr. Adams' research efforts are concentrated on the development of novel strategies and therapeutics to promote transplantation tolerance. He has made important contributions to our understanding concerning the interplay between viral infection, immune memory, and the allo-immune response. Dr. Adams is also an internationally recognized expert in large animal models of xenotransplantation.
Rachel E. Patzer, PhD, MPH
Epidemiologist and Professor of Surgery
Director, Transplant Health Services and Outcomes Research Program
Rachel E. Patzer, PhD, MPH is a Professor in the Department of Surgery at Emory University School of Medicine, where she also serves as director of the Emory Health Services Research Center and the Transplant Health Services and Outcomes Research Program. Dr. Patzer earned her Master of Public Health from the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University, and she subsequently earned her PhD in Epidemiology from Emory University.
Dr. Patzer is an epidemiologist and health services researcher whose investigations focus on healthcare access, quality of healthcare delivery, and healthcare outcomes. She has specific research interests in disparities in social determinants of health, community-based participatory research, predictive analytics, health care quality, medication adherence and self-management, mobile health technology, patient education, and healthcare resource utilization.
Dr. Patzer’s recent research has focused on the development of a novel surveillance data registry for kidney disease, including the collection of data on transplant referral and evaluation start among more than 30 transplant centers nationwide. She leads a research team that uses these data for the development of quality metrics, epidemiologic investigations of the causes of variability in access to kidney transplantation among pediatric and adult end-stage renal disease patients, and the development and evaluation of pragmatic interventions to improve access to transplantation and reduce disparities. She currently serves as the United Network for Organ Sharing Data Advisory Committee Chair, Data Chair of the Southeastern Kidney Transplant Coalition, and is a member of the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients review committee.
Katherine Ross-Driscoll, PhD, MPH
Division of Transplantation
Department of Surgery
Emory University School of Medicine
Katherine Ross-Driscoll, PhD, MPH is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Surgery at Emory University School of Medicine. Dr. Ross-Driscoll is a member of the Emory Transplant Health Services and Outcomes Research Program of the Department of Surgery, as well as the Health Services Research Center at Emory. She earned her Master of Public Health and PhD, both in Epidemiology, at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University.
Her primary research focuses on the influence that access to care and quality of care has on racial, socioeconomic, and geographic disparities in outcomes among patients with end-stage liver disease (ESLD). Dr. Ross-Driscoll has been building a diverse body of work in health services research since her MPH years, has received a variety of research awards including the Young Innovator Award and the Young Investigator Award from the American Society of Transplant Surgeons, and been published in such leading journals as the American Journal of Transplantation, Transplantation, and the Journal of the American Medical Association.
David J. Taber, PharmD, BCPS
Transplant Pharmacist and Associate Professor of Surgery
Director of Transplant Clinical Trials
Medical University of South Carolina
David J. Taber, Pharm.D., BCPS is an Associate Professor of Surgery and the Director of Transplant Clinical Trials at the Medical University of South Carolina College of Medicine. Dr. Taber earned both his Pharm.D. and his Master of Science in Public Health from MUSC. He completed a post-doctorate pharmacy specialty residency in transplantation at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Taber has approximately 15 years of post-residency experience providing pharmaceutical care to transplant patients.
Dr. Taber’s current research endeavors surround the study of optimizing medication utilization in transplantation and studying mechanisms to improve the peri-operative value of care in transplant surgery. He was recently the PI of a R18 study with the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). The primary purpose of the Transplant Medication Safety through a Pharmacist-Empowered, Patient-Centered, mHealth-Based Intervention (TRANSAFE Rx) study was to demonstrate significant reductions in medication safety issues leading to reduced healthcare resource utilization in kidney transplantation through a pharmacist-led, mHealth-enabled intervention. Dr. Taber was recognized by his peers as the recipient of the 2017 Distinguished Investigator Award by the American College of Clinical Pharmacists.
Rhiannon Deierhoi-Reed, DrPH, MPH
Epidemiologist and Assistant Professor of Surgery
University of Alabama
Rhiannon Deierhoi-Reed, DrPH, MPH, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Surgery at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Heersink School of Medicine. Dr. Deierhoi-Reed earned both her Master of Public Health and her DrPH from the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health.
Dr. Deierhoi-Reed is an epidemiologist and clinical data analyst with a focus on long-term care of living kidney donors and organ transplant policy. She has interests in qualitative and mixed methods research, as well as dissemination and implementation science, particularly regarding education efforts to increase organ
Jayme Locke, MD, MPH
Professor in the Department of Surgery
Director of the Division of Transplantation
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Jayme Locke, MD, MPH, is the Director of the Comprehensive Transplant Institute, Director of the Division of Transplantation, and Professor in the Department of Surgery at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Heersink School of Medicine. Dr. Locke is the Arnold G. Diethelm Endowed Chair in Transplantation Surgery, the Mark H. Deierhoi, M.D. Endowed Professor in Surgery, and the Associate Chief Medical Officer for UAB Hospital Quality and Patient Safety. Dr. Locke completed her undergraduate degree in biology and chemistry at Duke University and her medical degree at East Carolina University prior to matriculating to Johns Hopkins Hospital, where she received training in general surgery and multi-visceral abdominal transplantation. Dr. Locke completed her Master of Public Health degree with an emphasis in biostatistics and epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Dr. Locke is an abdominal transplant surgeon who specializes in innovative strategies for the transplantation of incompatible organs, disparities in access to and outcomes after solid organ transplantation, and transplantation of HIV-infected end-stage patients. Her research interests include complex statistical analysis and modeling of transplant outcomes and behavioral research focused on health disparities. The recipient of numerous honors, including Society of Transplantation Clinical Science Investigator Award 2020, Dr. Locke is an NIH R01-funded investigator. She is also a Deputy Editor for the American Journal of Transplantation and is an editorial board member for Annals of Surgery.
Elisa J. Gordon, PhD, MPH
Medical Anthropologist and Clinical Ethicist
Department of Surgery
Director of Surgical Outcomes Research
Director of Transplant Outcomes Research
Center for Biomedical Ethics and Society
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Elisa J. Gordon, PhD, MPH is a Professor in the Department of Surgery and Center for Biomedical Ethics and Society at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. She also serves as Director of Surgical Outcomes Research in the Section of Surgical Sciences, and Director of Transplant Outcomes Research. Dr. Gordon completed her doctorate in Medical Anthropology at Case Western Reserve University. Thereafter, she completed a Fellowship in Clinical Medical Ethics at the University of Chicago. Dr. Gordon earned her Master of Public Health degree from the University of Illinois, Chicago, specializing in Community Health Sciences.
Dr. Gordon's research interests include: ethics of organ transplantation and donation, health disparities in health care access and outcomes, clinical trials of interventions to enhance patients' decision making and informed consent, and to reduce racial/ethnic disparities, patient engagement, and qualitative research and mixed methods. She has received funding from the NIDDK, NIAID, NINR, HRSA, VA, and DOD for her research in transplantation and decision aids.
Dr. Gordon currently serves as the Chair of the American Society of Transplantation's Psychosocial and Ethics Community of Practice, Member of the Advisory Committee on Blood and Tissue Safety and Availability (ACBTSA), Member of the Health Equity Advisory Board of End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) of the ESRD National Coordinating Center, and Associate Editor for the American Journal of Transplantation. She served as the ex officio Chair of the UNOS Ethics Committee, and as Member of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Committee on A Fairer and More Equitable Cost-Effective and Transparent System of Donor Organ Procurement, Allocation, and Distribution.
Juan C. Caicedo-Ramirez, MD
Abdominal Transplant Surgeon and Professor of Surgery
Director of the Hispanic Kidney Transplant Program
Juan C. Caicedo Ramirez, MD is a Professor of Surgery at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, where he also serves as the Director of the Hispanic Kidney Transplant Program. Dr. Caicedo is Director of the Liver Transplant Program, Living Donor Liver Program, and Hispanic Transplant Program at Northwestern Medicine. He is an adult and pediatric transplant surgeon who is actively involved in the adult kidney and liver transplant programs, including the living donor program for both kidney and liver. Dr. Caicedo is also involved in hepatobiliary surgery and advanced laparoscopic procedures. His primary goal has been to increase living kidney and liver donation and transplantation for Hispanic patients using a culturally competent and congruent approach that has been very successful. Dr. Caicedo has been a Co-Principal Investigator on a NIH funded grant to disseminate and implement his Hispanic Transplant Program. He receives calls from transplant centers around the world seeking his advice on how to replicate the model in their own institutions.