Health Care Professionals Gather for Inaugural Texas Medical Center Hispanic Transplant Symposium
The inaugural Texas Medical Center Hispanic Transplant Symposium, hosted by LifeGift, Nora’s Home and The Living Bank, was held at the Texas Medical Center Innovation Institute on Oct. 6. The symposium shed light on the needs of the Hispanic population regarding organ donation, including the populations’s genetic predisposition to diseases that result in organ failure.
“This symposium was the brainchild of Dr. Mark Hobeika from Memorial Hermann, who is a transplant surgeon,” said LifeGift president and CEO, Kevin Myer. “We all got together and started brainstorming about how to bring in more information about this population that we are all a part of and ask how can we offer better care?”
The Hispanic population accounts for nearly 17 percent of the United States population. Some 120,000 men, women and children across the country are waiting for lifesaving organ transplants; 13,000 of these individuals are in Texas and nearly half are Hispanic.
“Nearly half of the patients waiting for a lifesaving organ in Texas identify themselves as Hispanic,” says Mark Hobeika, M.D., transplant surgeon, Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center and McGovern Medical School at UTHealth. “As members of the donation and transplantation community, we must learn how to best serve this large and growing part of our community in a culturally competent manner.”
The symposium welcomed 150 organ donation and transplant professionals throughout the region to discuss the challenges faced by Texas’ growing population of Hispanic patients with end-stage organ disease.
The keynote address was given by Juan C. Caicedo, M.D., director of the Northwestern Medicine Hispanic Transplant Program at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. That program is the only of its kind in the United States.
“None of us can do this work without help, reliance, trust, relationships and collaboration with each other,” Myer said, after the event. “Sometimes the word collaboration is overused, but in this particular workshop, this was true, true collaboration. We were meeting together, working together all with the goal of helping patients that are in the Hispanic population.”
“We are looking forward to expanding this next year to a larger audience and perhaps get into a little bit more clinical work,” Myer said. “There were some themes that came out about how different diseases impact the Hispanic population differently than some of the other populations and we want to follow up on these things to increase education and awareness of this special population that we are all part of.”