Learning Center

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Neonatal Donation – Opportunities for Families Choosing Organ and Tissue Donation

There remains very limited information for families who have received a fatal diagnosis for their unborn child, who choose to carry to term, and who want to consider organ and tissue donation. Over the past 10 years, more options have been available for these families for donation through medical research and, on a very limited basis, transplantation. Hear about donation opportunities and outcomes that describe the success behind the donation process, the obstacles and variables that must be considered, and the impact these special donors have had in the OPO and research communities.

Gina Dunne Smith

Gina has over 30 years working in the field of organ and tissue donation for transplant and research. Beginning her career with the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) as a Senior Organ Placement Specialist for five years, Gina has spent the last 25 years with the International Institute for the Advancement of Medicine (IIAM) overseeing relationships with organ and tissue recovery partners and medical researchers worldwide. She is currently the Executive Director of IIAM.  

Gina has remained integrated with relevant industry organizations and associations, presently serving on the AATB Quality Council, AATB Education Committee, The Alliance Leadership and Innovation Council and the American Transplant Society Advisory Committee. She served on the Board of Directors for NATCO for five years and worked with AATB on numerous other committees including the Steering Committee to author the Standards for Non-Transplant Anatomical Donation. She has also authored several articles regarding the benefits of research donation for non-transplantable organs and has been a poster presenter for IIAM’s Neonatal Donor Program.

​Dr. Gloria Pryhuber

Dr. Pryhuber has been a neonatologist for over 30 years, caring for newborn infants who need the support of a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for the first days to months of their lives. For over 20 years, she has also been an active researcher and author in fields of human lung injury and neonatal immunology in the Departments of Pediatrics and Environmental Medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center. The majority of her work is focused on respiratory problems occurring in children due to prematurity, environmental exposures and infections. Dr. Pryhuber collaborates extensively with other investigators and doctors in many medical centers and fields of study, including neonatology, pulmonology, infectious disease, obstetrics/perinatology, immunology, microbiology, pathology, molecular biology and genomics, perinatal development and disease, with an ultimate goal is to reduce respiratory morbidity in children, especially those born prematurely. Dr. Pryhuber has led for the last 5 years, the Human Tissue Core for the Lung Development Molecular Atlas Program (LungMAP HTC). In partnership with the UNOS transplant network, the LungMAP HTC has created an extensive repository of consented, transplant-quality pediatric research tissues that provides multiple research centers with unique opportunities to explore the developing human respiratory tract and immune system in an unusually high quality and holistic manner (see LungMAP.net; LGEA Web Portal). Our success with building a pediatric lung tissue repository that includes many additional components of the immune system is unique and so valuable to translating from basic science laboratories to the bedside of infants and children.

Laura LeGuin, BSN

Laura LeGuin, BSN serves as the Research and Donation Support Coordinator for LOPA – the Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency. She started her career at LOPA in 2011 as a Tissue Recovery Coordinator, moved to the role as a Quality Support Coordinator where she also began the Neonatal Donation Program in 2013. In 2017 the role of Research and Donation Support Coordinator was created where Laura’s main focus is the Neonatal Donation Program while also assisting with the Research Department.


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