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Hanto Named Director of the Vanderbilt Transplant Center

Jun. 25, 2015, 9:08 AM

by Jessica Pasley and John Howser

Douglas Hanto, M.D., Ph.D., will direct the Vanderbilt Transplant Center. (photo by Joe Howell)

Douglas Hanto M.D., Ph.D., professor of Surgery and associate director of the Vanderbilt Transplant Center has been named the Center’s new director. His appointment becomes effective July 1.

Through this appointment Hanto succeeds Seth Karp, M.D., professor of Surgery and Ingram Professor of Surgical Sciences, to become only the center’s fourth leader since its founding in 1989. Karp was recently appointed chair of Vanderbilt’s Department of Surgery.

Hanto, an internationally recognized leader in organ transplantation, joined Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) in 2014 as the center’s associate director and has since worked with the departments of Pediatrics and Surgery to establish a comprehensive pediatric liver center at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.

Prior to joining VUMC, Hanto was professor of Surgery and associate dean for Continuing Medical Education at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Prior to his tenure at Washington University he was chief of the Division of Transplantation at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and Lewis Thomas Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School for 11 years. He also helped start liver transplant programs at the University of Cincinnati and at Washington University in St. Louis.

“We are fortunate to have someone of Dr. Hanto’s stature to succeed Dr. Karp in this role,” said C. Wright Pinson, MBA, M.D., deputy vice chancellor for Health Affairs and CEO of the Vanderbilt Health System. “He is a nationally and internationally recognized leader in the field and came to us with extensive experience founding and leading other top transplant programs.  In his short time at VUMC, Doug has already distinguished himself as a strong, collaborative leader who energizes those around him. I look forward to his continued contributions,” Pinson said.

In his new role as the Transplant Center director, Hanto will lead the Transplant Patient Care Center, along with Edward Zavala, the center’s administrator, and Jerita Payne, assistant director for Clinical Transplant Services, and will be responsible for the administrative and clinical aspects of the adult and pediatric programs in kidney, liver, heart, lung and pancreas transplantation.  He will also be responsible for the center’s support of research and educational program development.

“I am very pleased to have recruited Dr. Hanto to this key leadership position and am confident that he will step up and continue the great work that was started by Dr. Karp,” said R. Daniel Beauchamp, M.D., chair of the Section of Surgical Sciences and the John Clinton Foshee Distinguished Professor of Surgery.

Hanto graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree from St. Olaf College and first in his class from the University of Arizona College of Medicine. He completed his general surgery and transplant training and earned a doctorate degree at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.

Hanto has held numerous leadership positions in national and international professional surgical and transplant societies and boards. He has also published more than 230 articles and book chapters.

“Dr. Hanto is a world-renown transplant surgeon and researcher,” said Karp. “He is a model clinician, educator, researcher and administrator. In his short time at Vanderbilt he has already distinguished himself as a leader with numerous accomplishments.”

He will not only lead the transplant center, but will also maintain an active surgical practice, clinical responsibilities and will continue to pursue his own research interests.

“It’s an honor, a real pleasure to follow in the footsteps of Sen. (Bill) Frist, Dr. Pinson and Dr. Karp as director of the Transplant Center,” said Hanto.

“I think one of the things that I am happiest about is how quickly we’ve been able to start the Pediatric Liver Transplant Program and list our first patient,” he said. “I’ve been impressed with the energy, enthusiasm and commitment of everyone at Children’s Hospital and the Medical Center.”

Hanto said he wants to continue to build on the foundation that the prior directors have established over the last two and a half decades.

“I’d also like to continue our efforts of providing easy access for patients as well as expanding our clinical trials and basic research,” he said.

Established 25 years ago as a multidisciplinary, full-service center, the Vanderbilt Transplant Center is the only transplant center in Tennessee to offer all solid organ transplants. Through its ongoing patient volume one the center is one of the nation’s most active with more than 700 solid organ and bone marrow transplants performed each year.

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