March 8, 2023

Kidney and Liver Transplant Specialists Join Cleveland Clinic Florida

Dr David Reich and Dr Hannah Kerr

Cleveland Clinic Florida’s Transplant Center, based in Weston, expanded the abdominal transplant team in 2022 with the appoint of Hannah Kerr, MD, as Surgical Director of the Kidney Transplant Program and David J. Reich, MD, FACS, as Surgical Director of the Liver Transplant Program and Chief of the Innovative Technology and Therapeutics Program.

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“Dr. Kerr and Dr. Reich represent strategic additions to our abdominal transplant team, which is focused on offering the most advanced organ procurement techniques and medical and surgical treatments for our kidney and liver transplant patients,” says Antonio Pinna, MD, Director of the Abdominal Transplant Center and the Living Donor Liver Transplant Program at Cleveland Clinic Florida.

He notes their experience in the evaluation and use of donation after circulatory death (DCD) organs as an important element in increasing access to transplant care for the region. “The transplant community is working hard to improve processes used to evaluate and recover organs from DCD donors in order to increase the supply of transplantable organs,” explains Dr. Pinna.

This is demonstrated by the growing number of DCD donors in recent years, according to United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), which reported an increase of nearly 30% in 2021 compared to 2020.

Increasing kidney transplantation

Dr. Kerr served as a member of Cleveland Clinic’s transplant team at the Glickman Urological & Kidney Institute’s Center for Renal and Pancreas Transplantation in Ohio before joining the Florida team. Her leadership roles included serving as the Transplant Institute Quality Officer and as the Glickman Urological and Kidney Institute Experience Officer. In Florida, she will also serve as the Program Director for the new ASTS Kidney Transplant Fellowship, which will welcome its first surgical fellow in 2024.

Previously, Dr. Kerr was Surgical Director of Kidney and Pancreas Transplant at Presbyterian Hospital in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she established the pancreas transplant program. She made medical history by performing the state’s first-ever kidney/pancreas transplant and was instrumental in increasing DCD organ procurement and kidney utilization.

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“Approximately 90,000 patients are on the national waiting list for a kidney transplant and patients can wait several years to receive a kidney,” cites Dr. Kerr. “It’s imperative that we make use of every viable donor kidney while ensuring graft function and improving a patient’s quality of life.”

Fellowship-trained in kidney and pancreas transplantation at Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, Dr. Kerr’s urology residency was completed at the University of New Mexico Health Science Center in Albuquerque. She earned her medical degree from Northeast Ohio Medical University in Rootstown, Ohio, and is board certified by the American Board of Urology.

“I’m proud to be part of a comprehensive multidisciplinary team here in Florida that is focused on our patients and delivering excellent care,” Dr. Kerr adds, pointing to the program’s very low rate of delayed graft function and low surgical complication rates as just two examples of the team’s success.

Expertise in organ rejuvenation

Prior to joining Cleveland Clinic Florida, Dr. Reich headed the Division of Multiorgan Transplantation and Hepatobiliary Surgery at Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia, where he also was a Professor of Surgery and Vice Chair of the Department of Surgery. He continues to serve as a Professor of Surgery and of Biomedical Engineering with Drexel University.

An internationally recognized leader in organ transplantation and hepatobiliary surgery, Dr. Reich is a pioneer in the modern use of DCD organ transplantation and has shepherded widespread, international adoption of DCD over the past two decades. More recently, his research has focused on dynamic organ preservation and reconditioning, using machines to pump hypothermic or normothermic oxygenated perfusion fluid with nutrients through DCD and other donor organs to improve them before transplantation.

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“My goal when joining the Cleveland Clinic team was to help advance an already great liver transplant program so that more patients can benefit from the latest innovations in organ procurement and preservation,” says Dr. Reich. “Establishing a machine perfusion program here has been a top priority, and I’m certain it will help increase donor organ availability, improve transplant safety, and save lives.”

Dr. Reich has led a wide breadth of multicenter device and drug trials, and he currently serves as the national lead investigator for the pivotal FDA-approved Bridge to HOPE hypothermic oxygenated machine perfusion multicenter trial, which is actively enrolling patients.

After earning his medical degree from McGill University in Montreal, Dr. Reich completed a general surgery residency at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York. He went on to complete a multiorgan transplantation and hepatobiliary surgery fellowship at The Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, and is board certified by the American Board of Surgery.

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