Transplant Center / What Makes Us Unique

What Makes Us Unique

Vanderbilt has been a leader in transplant care for decades. We have given thousands of people new hope and longer life, and we continue to offer the most advanced, compassionate care possible.

We apply the latest in medical knowledge to every case. One example of how we do this is through our PREDICT program, which uses genetic testing to protect transplant patients from harmful side effects caused by incorrect dosing of a common anti-rejection drug.

Comprehensive Care
We understand that effective transplantation is not just about one organ. It's about caring for the whole patient. What makes us unique is the way in which we bring together resources to help you and your family through the transplant process. Click any of the topics below to read more about:

Financial Counseling

Financial planning is an important part of the transplant process. Each of our transplant programs has a financial counselor who will help you understand the cost of transplantation, your individual benefits and the cost of medications after transplant. Our transplant financial counselors can be reached between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday at the numbers below.

Liver: Lisa Conyer at 615-343-4927
Liver: Lori Russell at 615-343-2003
Kidney/Pancreas: Renee Allison at 615-875-3089
Kidney/Pancreas: Beth Goodrich at 615-322-0684
Heart/Lung: Lori Russell at 343-2003
Heart/Lung: Lisa Conyer at 343-4927

Before your transplant evaluation, please call your insurance provider to learn if your plan covers transplantation at Vanderbilt Medical Center.

Infectious Disease Program

Vanderbilt's Transplant Infectious Disease Program is an integral component in the continued success of the Transplant Center. Three full-time infectious disease physicians are devoted to staffing this program. Dr. Stephen Dummer, Program Director, focuses on providing effective antibiotic prophylaxis and infection management, which improves patient and graft survivals in all types of transplantation. Allo and xeno transplantation and studies related to immunology, biochemistry, pathology and infectious complications of transplantation are included in the program. Dr. Lora Thomas is Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Vanderbilt Division of Infectious Diseases and serves as the Division Chief, Infectious Diseases, at the Nashville VA Medicine Center. These doctors make daily rounds on the transplant units at Vanderbilt and the Nashville VA Medical Center.


As a transplant patient, you will receive complete psychiatric services, including treatment for symptoms that happen during the transplant process. The transplant psychiatry team talks with all candidates for transplantation and provides follow-up treatment to address complex ongoing issues associated with transplantation. An important part of the transplant psychiatry team's work is helping you make sure you take your medication as prescribed and follow doctor's orders.

For more information, contact Karen Starr, MSN, APRN-BC, LADAC, MAC, Director, at 615-936-2404 (Voice Mail) or to make an appointment, call 615-936-3555.

Quality of Life Research

Vanderbilt Transplant Center's Quality of Life and Outcomes Research Group monitors outcomes that are reported from the transplant patient's perspective, such as quality of life. This group also studies patient satisfaction with the program, return to employment and the economic impact of transplantation.

All adult transplant candidates and recipients can participate in this group's work. Your responses provide useful information about your health-related quality of life, ability to do the things you want, emotional well-being, overall health, return to employment and satisfaction with transplantation. This information helps us target specific concerns of transplant patients and their families. Through this process we can promote changes that ensure the best possible outcomes for all.

For more information, contact Irene Feurer, Ph.D., Director, Quantitative Services and Transplant Outcomes Research at 615-322-8989.

Return to Work

For transplant patients, resuming employment helps complete the recovery process and restores emotional and financial well-being. Yet returning to work is also one of the greatest challenges faced by transplant and dialysis patients. The Vanderbilt Return-to-Work program reflects the Vanderbilt Transplant Center's commitment to helping patients resume satisfying work.

For more information, contact Joanne Ball, MST, CVE, ABVE, Director, at 615-936-3647.

Social Work

At the time you are evaluated as a potential transplant recipient, social workers at the Vanderbilt Transplant Center and Nashville VA Medical Center work with you and your family. We help you develop realistic expectations about the inherent difficulties in the transition back to home, to work and to your community. Our social workers provide patients with information related to:

  • taking medication correctly
  • following the doctor's orders
  • adjusting to the changes transplant can bring to your life and family
  • insurance
  • financial difficulties
  • disability

There are social workers in each organ specialty, as follows:

  • Liver: Erik Lillie, L.C.S.W. 615-936-5321
  • Liver: Terri Scott, L.M.S.W. 615-936-1323
  • Liver (Nashville VA Medical Center): Patricia Coffey, L.C.S.W. 615-873-7633
  • Kidney: Fara Alviri, M.S.S.W., LAPSW 615-875-2882
  • Kidney: Mary Schaefer, L.C.S.W. 615-343-1063
  • Kidney: (Nashville VA Medical Center): Katrina Stokes, L.C.S.W. 615-327-4751, ext. 6177
  • Heart: Sarah Andrus, .C.S.W. 615-936-2019
  • Heart: (Nashville VA Medical Center): Patricia Coffee, L.C.S.W. 615-327-4751, ext. 6177
  • Lung: Anne Schmitt, L.C.S.W. 615-936-0398

Transplant Pharmacists

Transplant pharmacists are unique resources for all solid organ transplant programs. A transplant clinical pharmacist reviews and monitors your drug therapy and provides education for you, your caregivers and the transplant staff. Transplant pharmacists will work with you to be sure you take all your medications carefully. Our transplant pharmacists are:

Christie B. Truscott, Pharm. D., Director, at 615-322-8992 

Carissa Garza, PharmD: at 615-936-0557 (Liver)
Jennifer Gray, Pharm. D: at 615-936-5334 (Heart/Lung)
Stefanie Bala, Pharm.D.: at 615-875-7490 (Kidney/Pancreas)
Nikita Wilson, Pharm.D., BCPS: at 615-936-3827 (Kidney/Pancreas)
Juliana Kyle, Pharm.D.: at 615-936-6657 (Transplant Pharmacy Resident)