UW Transplant Head D'Alessandro Lauded As Civic Hero
So it turns out that the man who heads the division of transplant surgery at University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics is also a civic hero.
So says his history, and so say the board of George Watts, the Milwaukee-based tabletop and tea supplies company that recently awarded him the George Watts Annual Civic Heroism Award.
Dr. Anthony D’Alessandro was nominated by Donate Life Wisconsin in recognition of his leadership in state and national organ donation improvement initiatives as well as his contributions and expertise in the field of transplantation.
“I’m obviously extremely honored to be recognized for work on this vital issue,” said Dr. D’Alessandro, who has served as Executive Director of the UW Health Organ Procurement Organization (OPO) for the past 10 years. “At the same time, I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that raising awareness of organ donation is very much a team effort.”
Dr. D’Alessandro’s list of accomplishments in the field of organ donation is long and impressive. He worked with then-Governor Tommy Thompson to form the nationwide Health and Human Services (HRSA) organ donation collaborative to increase organ donation nationally, and served as its co-chair. He’s known internationally for his work on Donation After Cardiac Death (DCD), including establishing DCD protocols that are used in OPOs around the world. The UW OPO typically has one of the highest rates of DCD in the nation.
“In the last 10 years, we’ve managed to increase the number of donors, improve donation education in Wisconsin and to create protocols for donor management used by OPOs around the world,” D’Alessandro notes.
UW’s OPO has grown from a staff of five to more than 30 people under D’Alessandro’s leadership during that time period. The UW OPO is consistently ranked in the top three OPOs in the nation.
Each year, the board of George Watts chooses a cause and raises money based on private contributions, as well as a portion of sales for the month before the awards ceremony, culminating in an invitation-only gala ceremony.
Community leaders, members of Donate Life Wisconsin and George Watts employees will be present when Dr. D’Alessandro accepts the award on Oct. 1 in Milwaukee. Previous winners include Martin F. Stein, Tommy Thompson and Dr. Kurt Bauer.