UCHealth Welcomes Wife-Husband Team to Lead Transplant Department

Pair are the Most Experienced Live-Donor Transplant Surgeons in the U.S.
September 28, 2016

AURORA, Colo. —  A husband-and-wife team of surgeons who have performed the most living-donor liver transplants in the United States are now heading the University of Colorado Hospital (UCH) Transplant Center.

In their new roles, Elizabeth Pomfret, MD, Ph.D., is the chief, division of transplant surgery and professor of surgery at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Her husband, James Pomposelli, MD, Ph.D., is surgical director, adult liver transplant and professor of surgery. They have performed over 286 living-donor transplants between them. Most recently, they worked at Lahey Hospital Medical Center in Massachusetts.

The new directors follow Dr. Igal Kam, who stepped down in July from his 30-year tenure leading the UCH Transplant Center. Though he has stepped back from his leadership position, Dr. Kam continues to work closely with patients and perform transplant surgeries.

“Dr. Kam’s legacy has positively impacted thousands of patients and families in Colorado and beyond, and he is a true pioneer in the field,” said University of Colorado Hospital President and CEO Will Cook. “We welcome Drs. Pomfret and Pomposelli to the Transplant Center, and we are all excited about the future. Living-donor surgeries are critically important because there are such lengthy wait lists for organ transplants.”

Pomfret is an established multi-organ transplant surgeon who is considered a world leader in living donor liver transplantation. She is the former president of the International Liver Transplant Society; the largest multidisciplinary society of liver transplant specialists in the world. Pomposelli is a multi-organ transplant surgeon and researcher focusing on developing technical advancements for live-donor liver transplantation.

“The self-sacrifice and gift of living donation benefit all patients waiting for a liver or kidney transplant,” Pomfret said. “This allows another patient on the waiting list who does not have a living donor to be transplanted. Living donation represents the very best of mankind.”

More than 40 years ago, the first-ever liver transplant in the world was performed at UCH by Dr. Thomas Starzl. Today, the UCH Transplant Center has grown to be the largest and most comprehensive center in the Rocky Mountain region.

Since then, UCH has performed over 1,800 overall adult liver transplants, and over 2,000 kidney transplants.

“The University of Colorado School of Medicine is seen as a national leader, providing expert and innovative care for patients, and we’re proud to be able to recruit some of the very best surgeons to join our team,” said Dr. Richard Schulick, chair of the CU School of Medicine Department of Surgery.

More than 2,500 Coloradans are currently waiting for a lifesaving transplant. Register to be an organ, eye and tissue donor at the Driver’s License Office or online anytime at DonateLifeColorado.org.

About University of Colorado Hospital
University of Colorado Hospital is the Rocky Mountain region’s leading academic medical center.  UCH is best known as an innovator in patient care and often as one of the first hospitals to bring new medicine to the patients’ bedside.  University HealthSystem Consortium named UCH the #1 Academic Medical Center in quality in the nation in both 2011 and 2012, and U.S. News & World Report named University of Colorado Hospital the best hospital in Colorado in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015.  UCH is one of five Colorado hospitals that make up UCHealth.  The hospital’s physicians are affiliated with the University of Colorado School of Medicine, part of the University of Colorado system.  Based on the expansive Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, CO, the hospital is where patient care, research and education converge to establish the future of health care delivery.