BOSTON--With the help of world-class medical talent, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) is launching a new multidisciplinary liver center. Dr. Maureen Martin, a clinician and scholar of international standing, will serve as chief of the division of liver surgery and transplantation and will lead the team. She comes to Boston from Iowa, where she was director of multi-organ transplant and hepatobiliary surgery at Iowa Methodist Medical Center, in Des Moines. The other members of her team include Dr. Catherine Petruff Cheney, a BIDMC transplant hepatologist, and Dr. Nezam Hassan Afdhal, a leading medical expert in hepatitis C. Afdhal is a former chief of hepatology at Boston University Medical Center. In his new role, he will serve as chief of hepatology at BIDMC's liver center. Further plans for recruitment of national leaders is underway, particularly in the area of adult living donors.
According to Dr. Michael Rosenblatt, interim president of BIDMC, the creation of the liver center is one of several initiatives in place that will continue to position the medical center in the forefront of cutting edge medicine. He said, "The institution continues to attract top notch experts who choose to come here because of our reputation, and the breadth of opportunity due to our affiliation with Harvard Medical School. With this collection of talent in one program, the medical center will be able to make a meaningful difference in extending the lives of patients who suffer from liver disease; we intend to be the national leaders in this field."
Martin agreed. She said, "This kind of infrastructure enables us to create the biggest and strongest program in Boston, one that can serve as model for the rest of the nation."
Liver disease, while not as well known to the public as heart disease, is a significant health problem due to the seriousness of its disorders and the numbers of people affected. It is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States. In addition, there are an estimated 3.9 million Americans chronically infected with hepatitis C, an irreversible disease that sometimes shows no symptoms until well advanced in its severity.
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is a founding member of CareGroup Healthcare system, and is a major clinical, research and teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School.