What's Your Perspective?

New ASTS Committee on Pediatric Transplantation

Srinath ChinnakotlaSrinath Chinnakotla
Pediatric Transplant Committee Chair
(article authored by the Pediatric Transplant Committee)

In United States during the year 2018, approximately 1,400 pediatric solid organ transplants were performed. These include 563 liver transplants, 756 kidney transplants, and 37 intestine/liver-intestine transplants. A survey conducted by ASTS in 2018 among 94 institutions in the US revealed that the majority (85%) of the pediatric solid organ transplants are performed by surgeons who are trained primarily as adult transplant surgeons.

The predominant professional society for these transplant surgeons is ASTS. ASTS will be a leader, through the education and training of its members, in both the promotion of and advocacy for the optimal surgical care of children who undergo solid organ transplantation. It would therefore seem reasonable that within ASTS there should be tracts that would provide the following for its members: (1) ongoing education regarding pediatric issues, (2) development of standardized educational modules on pediatric transplantation (fellowship training), and (3) research opportunities (training grants geared toward pediatric issues). ASTS is also continuously faced with a myriad of regulatory issues that often have implications for pediatric transplantation. ASTS, through its very active advocacy group, could then also weigh in on pediatric concerns at the legislative level.

The ASTS Pediatric Transplant Task Force was formed in 2017 with the aforementioned goals and with the additional purpose of interfacing and partnering with the existing ASTS committees to bring a pediatric perspective to their current activities. The initial Chair was Dr. Carlos Esquivel from Stanford with 6 ASTS members, 3 adult surgeons with significant pediatric interest and 3 pediatric surgeons with a significant transplant interest (Drs. Walt Andrews, Patrick Healey, Jaimie Nathan, Amy Gallo, Dominique Jan, and Srinath Chinnakotla as members). Due to the impact of their work and their potential future contributions, the task force was officially promoted to committee status January 2021.

The initial goals of the Pediatric Transplant Committee are:

Fellowship Training: Provide input into the development of pediatric-specific training modules for the next generation of pediatric transplant surgeons. Serve as a resource and provide mentorship to fellows who wish to take up pediatric transplant surgery as a career and eventually assist in their professional development as they transition into faculty surgeons.

Curriculum Committee: Assist in creating CME/MOC activities specific to pediatric transplantation in order to provide relevant education to the ASTS membership.

ATC Planning Committee: Provide robust proposals to the committee for their review (for possible inclusion) on pediatric transplant issues. Interface with other organizations including the International Pediatric Transplant Association.

Scientific Studies: Provide input into developing collaborative efforts with other organizations that are engaged in pediatric transplant research and advocate for grants for pediatric transplantation research.

Over the last 2 years, the Pediatric Transplant Task Force has been very active. We have recommended guidelines for pediatric certification by ASTS to the TACC. The task force has been instrumental in organizing symposia at the Winter Symposium and ATC on a variety of pediatric transplant surgery topics. We are in the process of creating curriculum modules for fellows and continue to actively advise the ASTS council on UNOS pediatric policies.

For the committee to be successful, we must be able to recruit more interested members and continue to focus on our goals. The Pediatric Committee will be adding 5 new members this year. If you are interested to join the committee, kindly indicate your interest when applying or ASTS committee membership.

We would greatly appreciate feedback and input for membership on any areas that need attention. Please reach out to staff liaison Ning Duan (ning.duan@asts.org) or Pediatric Transplant Committee Chair Srinath Chinnakotla (chinni@umn.edu) with your suggestions.