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Forbes to help lead kidney, pancreas transplant program

Jan. 31, 2019, 10:08 AM


by Matt Batcheldor

Rachel Forbes, MD, MBA, assistant professor of Surgery, has been appointed associate chief of the Division of Kidney and Pancreas Transplantation.

Rachel Forbes, MD, MBA

In her new position, Forbes will work to promote the Vanderbilt Transplant Center’s innovative and specialized transplant programs by increasing physician-led outreach to referring providers, said David Shaffer, MD, professor of Surgery and chief of Kidney and Pancreas Transplant. She will continue the center’s work to expand access to kidney transplantation including use of hepatitis C positive kidney donors, telemedicine for referral and waitlist patients and kidney paired donation.

“Dr. Forbes is a rising star both in the Vanderbilt Department of Surgery and nationally in the field of kidney transplantation,” Shaffer said. “She is known as the consummate team player and collaborator who easily reaches across disciplines in the Transplant Center and the Medical Center to accomplish our goals.”

Forbes is a graduate of Vanderbilt University, receiving her Bachelor of Science in 2001 and her medical degree in 2005. She completed a general surgery residency here in 2010 and transplant and surgical critical care fellowships at the Ohio State University Medical Center before joining VUMC’s Division of Kidney and Pancreas Transplantation in 2013.

Since December 2016, Forbes has been surgical director of the Living Kidney Donor Program, where she has been instrumental in reorganizing and streamlining the donor evaluation workflow, resulting in a significant increase in living donor transplants. She has also led VUMC’s paired donor exchange program, leading to additional living donor transplants.

She has active clinical research collaborations with Vanderbilt nephrologists — in the development of an artificial kidney with William Fissell IV, MD, associate professor of Medicine and Biomedical Engineering; and regarding the APOL1 gene and kidney transplantation with Kelly Birdwell, MD, MSCI, assistant professor of Medicine.

Active in surgical education with residents, Forbes was given the Chair’s Faculty Excellence in Teaching award in June 2018. She also works with transplant fellows, serving as associate program director for the recently created transplant surgery fellowship.

“Dr. Forbes is an outstanding member of our surgical faculty in the Department of Surgery and Division of Kidney and Pancreas Transplantation,” said Carmen Solórzano, MD, professor of Surgery, chief of the Division of Surgical Oncology and Endocrine Surgery and interim chair of Vanderbilt’s Department of Surgery.

“She has championed innovative ways to increase access and timeliness of patient evaluation for kidney transplantation at Vanderbilt. She is a superb and respected teacher and an innovative researcher. I am thrilled to see Dr. Forbes assuming a larger leadership position in our department.”

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