April 6, 2022

Schaefer named Adult Solid Organ Transplant Center medical director

Heidi Schaefer, MD, has been named medical director of the Adult Solid Organ Transplant Center at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.


by Matt Batcheldor

Heidi Schaefer, MD

Heidi Schaefer, MD, has been named medical director of the Adult Solid Organ Transplant Center at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Schaefer, professor of Medicine in the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension, is a national leader in transplantation and education.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to serve our patients, the transplant center and VUMC in this leadership role, and I am excited to work with our transplant teams to continue with outreach efforts, increasing transplant volumes and growing our research presence nationally,” Schaefer said.

Schaefer attended medical school at the University of Cincinnati, followed by a residency in internal medicine and a fellowship in nephrology at the University of Pittsburgh. She joined the faculty at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center as a transplant nephrologist before being recruited to VUMC as assistant professor of Medicine in 2004.

She rose to prominent positions at VUMC, including medical director of the Living Kidney Donor Program and medical director of 6MCE Medical/Surgical Transplant Unit. She played a key role in the dramatic growth of the kidney program from 100 kidney transplants in 2004 to more than 300 in 2021. Her leadership of the live donor kidney program produced outstanding outcomes and similarly dramatic growth.

Schaefer is known as an exceptional, patient-centered physician. She has a large clinical practice and repeatedly garners patient satisfaction awards for her empathy and honest, open communication with patients.

She has participated as the principal investigator or co-principal investigator on numerous pharmaceutical trials and has mentored multiple transplant fellows and medical students on transplant-related clinical research projects leading to presentation of novel ideas, both at the local and national level, with publications in highly regarded transplant journals.

Schaefer has won numerous teaching awards and has also mentored countless medical students, residents, fellows and transplant staff. She has served in leadership roles in the American Society of Transplantation, National Kidney Foundation and the United Network for Organ Sharing.

“We are extremely fortunate to have Dr. Schaefer assume this very important role as medical director for the Adult Solid Organ Transplant Center,” said Seth Karp, MD, H. William Scott Jr. Professor, chair of the Section of Surgical Sciences and director of the Vanderbilt Transplant Center.

“We eagerly anticipate the many contributions she will make to our shared missions.”