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Liver Lowdown



ALF Takes a Stand on Liver Transplant Organ Allocation

Liver transplants have saved thousands of lives but thousands more die while waiting for livers to become available. Regions with the greatest need may not have access to the same number of organs that are available in other areas. The result is that patients who are less sick in regions with the most livers (as defined by MELD scores) may receive livers before the sickest patients in other areas do.

On September 16, 2014, the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) and the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) held a public forum in Chicago to discuss a proposal to alter the map that determines how donated livers are distributed nationwide. This included various concepts to reduce geographic variation in access to liver transplantation. Approximately 400 liver disease specialists, patient advocates and health organizations participated, including the American Liver Foundation.

While no specific policy recommendations were made, the opinions and recommendations expressed will help the OPTN/UNOS Liver and Intestinal Organ Transplantation Committee as it continues to assess potential improvement to liver transplant policy.

The American Liver Foundation supports efforts to decrease geographic disparities in access to organs. At the same time, ALF strongly supports efforts to increase awareness and participation in organ donation.

It takes only a few minutes to save someone’s life. Sign up to be an organ donor at

Liver Cancer Awareness Campaign

The American Liver Foundation is pleased to announce a special educational campaign commemorating October as Liver Cancer Awareness Month. Sponsored by Bayer and Onyx Pharmaceuticals, the campaign will feature vibrant, eye catching ads on New York City and San Francisco taxi toppers and public transit, as well as national reach through our robust social media network. The ads urge people at risk for liver cancer (viral hepatitis, alcohol use, and fatty liver in particular) to speak to their doctor about liver cancer or to visit our Disease Information Page. The campaign begins rolling out on October 13th, and will continue into late November.

ALF Goes to Washington

On Tuesday, September 9, 2014, National Director of Programs Jonathan Martin traveled to Washington, DC, to attend a congressional briefing in recognition of National Latino AIDS Awareness Day. “The Impact of HIV/AIDS and Viral Hepatitis Among Hispanics in the U.S. South and Puerto Rico,” was hosted by the Latino Commission on AIDS and the Hispanic Health Network, with ALF joining the ranks of approximately 24 national and regional organizations as sponsors. Speakers included Ronald Valdiserri, MD, MPH, deputy assistant secretary for Health and Infectious Diseases; Roxana Olivas, executive office of Latino Affairs of the Mayor of Washington DC; and Elena Rios, MD, National Hispanic Medical Association.

ALF Supports International Primary Biliary Cirrhosis Day

The American Liver Foundation proudly recognized September 14, 2014, as International Primary Biliary Cirrhosis (PBC) Day. Primary biliary cirrhosis is a chronic disease of the liver that slowly destroys the medium-sized bile ducts within the liver.

While the number of people living with PBC is relatively small when compared with liver diseases like hepatitis C or nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), the disease has a large impact.

The American Liver Foundation hopes that greater awareness of PBC will spur research advances that will improve the lives of people living with the disease.

Staff Promotions

ALF is pleased to announce the promotions of JoAnn Thompson and Melissa McCracken, both to national directors of divisions.

Ms. Thompson served 15 years on ALF’s national board of directors, first as secretary and then vice president of chapter development. During her tenure, and with the support of the Connecticut board of directors, medical advisory board and the associate medical advisory board, Ms. Thompson transformed the Connecticut Division from an all-volunteer chapter to one of ALF’s most successful divisions.

Ms. McCracken's tenure at ALF has been equally impressive. During her 10 years with ALF, the Desert Southwest Division, which covers Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and Utah, has become the second largest division in terms of revenue.

Together, they have raised millions of dollars to support ALF division and national programs.


Pictured Above: From L to R: Thomas Nealon (National Board Chair, American Liver Foundation), Robert M. Pollichino (Liver Champion Award recipient), Lynn Seim (Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, American Liver Foundation), Dr. Lewis Teperman of NYU Langone Medical Center (Physician of the Year Award recipient), Rocco F. Andriola, Esq. (Spirit of New York Award recipient)

Record Turnout for the ALF Greater New York Division’s Gala

– Annual Event Celebrates Contributions of Clinicians, Corporate Leaders and Patient Advocates

More than 350 people gathered at New York City’s Gotham Hall on September 23, 2014, raising $380,000 to support the American Liver Foundation’s Greater New York Division. The 14th Annual Honors Gala recognized Lewis Teperman, MD, director of the Mary Lea Johnson Richards Organ Transplantation Center at NYU Langone Medical Center, with the Physician of the Year award. Other honorees included Rocco Andriola Esq., managing director of Millennium Partners, who received the Spirit of New York Award and Robert Pollichino, executive vice president and chief financial officer of the Madison Square Garden Company, who received the Liver Champion Award. Gilead Sciences received ALF’s Corporate Partner of the Year Award.

Mr. Andriola’s father received a lifesaving liver transplant more than 25 years ago. Mr. Pollichino has been a devoted ALF volunteer and division board member since his wife’s hepatitis C diagnosis in 1994.

Salix Pharmaceuticals was the presenting sponsor of the event for the second year in a row. John Elliott of WCBS-TV served as emcee.

American Liver Foundation’s Pacific Coast Division Hosts Hepatitis C and Liver Wellness Symposium for the 17th Straight Year

ALF’s Pacific Coast Division’s annual Liver Wellness Conference was a roaring success. The conference, which was held on September 20, 2014, is always greatly anticipated because of the depth and breadth of information presented about liver disease from some of the area’s leading clinicians.

This year the conference focused on hepatitis C and liver wellness with an emphasis on non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and hepatic encephalopathy as well as the overall prevention, management and treatment of liver disease. Speakers included: Paul Pockros, MD, from the Scripps Clinic, who provided an overview about hepatitis C treatment; Rohit Loomba, MD, of the UC San Diego Health System and member of the American Liver Foundation’s national medical advisory committee and national board of directors, who discussed non-alcoholic fatty liver disease; and Lisa Nyberg, MD, of Kaiser Permanente, who spoke about hepatic encephalopathy. Tarek Hassanein, MD, of Southern CA Liver Centers, talked about health and liver optimization (HALO) and Heather Patton, MD, of UC San Diego Health System, presented on the nutritional management of patients with liver disease. Christian Ramers, MD, of Family Health Centers San Diego, presented the work of HepCare Connect Group, which provides free hepatitis C testing and linkage to care for the medically underserved.

Approximately, 75 health care professionals, patients and caregivers attended the event, which was sponsored by Gilead Sciences, AbbVie, Vital Therapies, Bayer, MARG, PhRMA, UC San Diego Health Systems and Quality Specialty Pharmacy.

Eat, Drink and Be Merry…Then Run it Off

More than 200 guests turned out for the 9th annual Flavors of Houston event held September 4, 2014. Twenty of Houston’s top chefs prepared tantalizing creations served along with fine wine. Sponsors included: Salix Pharmaceuticals; BioCure LLC; Bristol Myers Squibb; Sonya and William A. Carpenter, Jr.; Kadmon Corporation; and Texas Children’s Hospital. The event was hosted by ALF’s Desert Southwest Division.

Emcees and chefs from the New England Division’s Flavors of Boston, which took place on September 12, 2014. Left to Right: Emcees Jim Lokay and Danielle Vollmar of WCVB-Ch. 5 (ABC); Chef Jose Duarte of Taranta; Chef Tom Wood of Blue Dragon; Chef Richard Raymont of The Seaport Hotel; Chef David Becker of Sweet Basil and Juniper; Chef Brendan Pelley of Zebras Bistro and Wine Bar; Chef Josh Bontini of The Franklin Café; Chef Andy Husbands of Tremont 647; Chef Karen Mitchell of The Palm; Chef Brian Reyelt of Citizen Public House and Oyster Bar.

The American Liver Foundation hosted several events throughout the country during the last month. ALF’s signature event, Flavors, is a truly special culinary experience where local chefs prepare multi-course dinners tableside for supporters of ALF. Flavors events were held in Orange County, CA; Houston; San Diego; New England; Tucson; Chicago; and Northeast Ohio.

Liver Life Walk Los Angeles featured more than 50 walk teams raising approximately $113,000 for ALF.

More than a walk, the Liver Life Walk unites communities in the fight against liver disease. During the last month, Liver Life Walks were held in Denver; San Francisco; Kansas City and St. Louis, MO; Twin Cities, MN; Hartford, CT; Nashville; Philadelphia; and Fairfield County, CT.

Flavors and Liver Life Walks raise much-needed funds for ALF’s research, education, support and advocacy efforts.

Golfing for a Cause

It was another successful year for the 11th Annual Golf Classic, held on September 22, 2014. Benefiting ALF’s Mid-South Memphis Division, the event raised more than $69,000 to support local programs. FedEx Technology Services helped enormously with the division’s fundraising efforts.

Return to the October 2014 Liver Lowdown Main Menu

Page updated: October 16th, 2014


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