February 6, 2009

Wright to lead liver transplant services

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John Kelly Wright, Jr., M.D.,

Wright to lead liver transplant services

John Kelly Wright, Jr., M.D., professor of Surgery and surgical director of the Liver Transplant Program at Vanderbilt Medical Center, has been named chief of the Division of Hepatobiliary Surgery and Liver Transplantation.

Wright succeeds Ravi Chari, M.D., M.B.A.

In his new role, Wright will oversee liver transplant services and clinical research opportunities available at the Medical Center.

“My goals, and my team's goals, are to continue providing liver surgery and liver transplantation with excellent outcomes,” said Wright.

“We want to grow our liver transplant services with a variety of strategies, including streamlining access to the Vanderbilt system for both adult and pediatric patients who have a broad spectrum of liver diseases including viral hepatitis, cancer and the myriad other liver problems that can present.

“I'd like to see increased collaboration among the various departments that work in liver disease and liver cancer to provide the most coherent and uniform approach to treatment of these devastating and complicated illnesses.”

With nearly 20 years at Vanderbilt, Wright said he has paid careful attention to “developing and growing a liver surgery center through a team approach as exemplified by the elevate principles that include attention to outcomes, creating sustained growth and striving for both patient and staff satisfaction.”

Wright hopes to bring to the post his own sense of optimism and satisfaction with a long Vanderbilt career while using “my interests in team building through work within a multidisciplinary structure — it's what drew me to liver transplantation and surgical care of the immunosuppressed patient at Vanderbilt to begin with.”

“Kelly has been the clinical backbone of the Liver Transplant Program and Division of Hepatobiliary Surgery for nearly two decades,” said C. Wright Pinson, M.D., associate vice chancellor for Clinical Affairs, director of the Vanderbilt Transplant Center and founder of the division with Wright.

“He is a key factor to our success in terms of volumes, survival figures and financial results. I am very happy to see him actively reinvigorating relationships with our referring physicians. He will be a solid leader for our institution.”

Wright, a Cookeville native, came to Vanderbilt in 1990. He graduated magna cum laude from Vanderbilt in 1977 with a degree in Physics and later earned his medical degree in 1981 from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

He completed his internship, residency and fellowships at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.