February 9, 2004

Mason Trust gives $3.8M

By Holly Korschun

The Carlos and Marguerite Mason Trust has donated two separate gifts worth a total of $3.8 million to Emory and Children's Healthcare of Atlanta to help ensure access to care for all Georgians in need of liver transplantation.

The first gift, worth $1.8 million, will fund the Mason Transplant Outpatient Clinic, a comprehensive transplant outpatient clinic located within Emory Hospital. The second, worth another $2 million, will create the Carlos and Marguerite Mason Chair for Liver Transplantation.

"The Mason Trust Clinic will greatly benefit all our current adult and pediatric transplant patients and provide us the opportunity to offer access to the most advanced transplant care to all Georgians needing organ transplantation," said Christian Larsen, Carlos and Marguerite Mason Professor of Surgery and director of the Emory Transplant Center. "Transplantation requires a lifetime commitment and relationship on behalf of transplant patients and their families, the medical institution, and transplant faculty and staff," Larsen said. "The Mason Transplant Clinic will allow us to evaluate all our patients in an outpatient setting, provide critical education to our patients and families, and deliver quality follow-up care for both children and adults."

The new interdisciplinary clinic will provide patients with team-oriented care and the opportunity to receive treatment from nephrologists, hepatologists, surgeons, cardiologists, dermatologists, psychiatrists, infectious disease specialists, nurse coordinators, patient educators, social workers and nutritionists.

Thomas Heffron, director of the liver transplant program at Emory and Children's, will become the first Carlos and Marguerite Mason Professor for Liver Transplantation. Heffron and the liver transplant team have provided groundbreaking leadership in pediatric, living-donor and split-liver transplants. The team performed Georgia's first living-related liver transplant, in which part of a living donor's liver is given to a patient recipient. They performed Georgia's first split-liver transplant in 1997 and helped perfect this technique, in which a single deceased donor organ is used for two different organ recipients. These techniques can potentially increase the number of organs available for children in need of liver transplants, meaning a shorter waiting period and lower mortality.

"This unique gift in support of liver transplantation, shared by Emory and Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, will solidify the important partnership among our two institutions and facilitate Dr. Heffron's work in both organizations," Larsen said.

"This chair truly exemplifies the collaboration that exists between Children's and Emory, and our common goal to have the premier pediatric liver transplantation program in the country," said Jay Berkelhamer, senior vice president for medical affairs at Children's. "It is a testimony to Dr. Heffron, his leadership and his surgical skills, which assure the success of this program and offer hope to children and families."