American Liver Foundation (ALF) and the American Society of Transplantation (AST) are pleased to announce a new partnership within the Living Donor Circle of Excellence. ALF will become the first liver organization to join AST’s Living Donor Circle of Excellence and become a strategic partner. The Living Donor Circle of Excellence celebrates employers which implement internal policies that provide salary support to their employees who choose to become living organ donors.
“We are so proud to become a Strategic Partner in AST’s Living Donor Circle of Excellence and work together to break down barriers to living donor liver transplant,” said Lorraine Stiehl, Chief Executive Officer, American Liver Foundation and caregiver to husband, Chris, who received a living donor transplant. “Too often patients do not pursue living donation because their potential donor cannot afford to take time off for the surgery and recovery. As a caregiver, I understand the importance of having job security and paid leave in place so that someone can become a living donor to a friend, family member or anyone who may need it. That’s why we are proud to offer paid leave for living organ donation to our employees at ALF and join the Living Donor Circle of Excellence.”
John Gill, MD, Founder of the Living Donor Circle of Excellence said, “Living donors are heroes amongst us, their gift is lifesaving for patients in need of a kidney or liver transplant and has a huge positive impact on society. Patients facing life-threatening diseases are able to live normal lives, raise their families, and participate in their communities. By supporting living organ donors, we are also building stronger communities.”
Increasing access to living donor liver transplantation is a key issue ALF is working to address. Living donor liver transplantation lags far behind living kidney donation. In 2022, living donor liver transplants represented only 6% of all liver donations compared to 24% for living kidney donations. As fatty liver disease becomes more common in the U.S., more people will progress to liver failure and require a transplant. Research estimates that fatty liver disease, also called nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), is present in up to 75% of overweight people and in more than 90% of people with severe obesity. In the U.S. NAFLD affects between 80 and 100 million people, among whom nearly 25% progress to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), a dangerously progressive form of the disease. Approximately 11% of NASH patients will develop cirrhosis or liver failure. NASH is expected to become the leading cause of liver transplantation in the U.S. by 2025.
The Living Donor Circle of Excellence is a no-cost company recognition program for employers that provide paid leave for living donors. As a Strategic Partner, ALF is committed to expanding the network of nationwide employers which offer paid leave for living organ donors to help offset the financial burdens associated with giving the gift of life. Visit livingdonorcircle.com/partner/ALF to learn more.
Currently, there are over 120 members in the Circle of Excellence throughout North America, covering over 2.2 million employees. 70 employees were able to use living donor leave benefits and donate an organ. The Circle encourages other employers to follow the American Liver Foundation to help others in need of life-saving organ transplants. Learn more about AST’s Living Donor Circle of Excellence at livingdonorcircle.com.
American Liver Foundation’s (ALF) mission is to promote education, advocacy, support services and research for the prevention, treatment, and cure of liver disease. Founded in 1976, ALF is the nation’s largest patient advocacy organization for people with liver disease. ALF makes an impact in the fight against liver disease by educating patients, families, caregivers and healthcare professionals; advocating for patients and their families; funding medical research to advance treatments for liver patients; and creating public awareness campaigns about liver wellness and disease prevention. ALF is the trusted voice for all patients and families living with liver disease. Learn more at liverfoundation.org or by calling 1-800-GO-LIVER (800-465-4837).
Founded in 1982, the American Society of Transplantation (AST) is a non-profit, 501(c)3 organization dedicated to advancing the field of transplantation and improving patient care by promoting research, education, advocacy, organ donation, and service to the community. The society is the largest transplant organization in North America (consisting of more than 4,000 professional members) and is recognized as the premier society for transplantation. AST members are sought out as transplant experts and advocates. Other transplant organizations, policy makers, regulatory agencies, payors, academic institutions, and the general public look to the AST for guidance, research, and resources related to transplantation. To learn more, visit: www.myast.org.