NDRI Presents 2022 Empowering Research and Discovery Award to Washington Regional Transplant Community

WRTC award
Saboor Shad, Director of Tissue Source Site Management at NDRI with Immanuel Rasool, Manager of Research and Living Donation at Washington Regional Transplant Community and Matthew Niles, Director of Clinical Services, Washington Regional Transplant Community

Earlier this year, we recognized the Washington Regional Transplant Community (WRTC), an organ procurement organization (OPO) that serves 5.8 million people in Northern Virginia, Washington, D.C. and three counties in suburban Maryland as the recipient of the NDRI/AOPO Empowering Research and Discovery Award for outstanding commitment to the advancement of research. WRTC works in partnership with 45 hospitals and six transplant centers..

“WRTC is a long-standing partner of NDRI that continually pursue opportunities to work with us through a variety of research projects to expand the impact of gifts from donors and donor families that they serve,” said Bill Leinweber, president and CEO of NDRI. “We are thrilled to partner with AOPO to recognize WRTC with this prestigious honor and look forward to our continued partnership.”

“At WRTC, we have created a culture of research as we believe that research also saves lives. Our clinical team and support staff believe in the importance of recovering non-transplantable organs and tissues for far-reaching and innovative medical research,” said Lori E. Brigham, WRTC President and Chief Executive Officer. “WRTC is appreciative of NDRI and AOPO for their recognition of our efforts and are deeply grateful to our donors and their families for authorizing gifts for these purposes. They are the heroes that make research happen.”

AOPO is proud to recognize WRTC for their continued and ongoing efforts to advance research,” says AOPO Chief Executive Office Steve Miller. “They are a role model for other members of the donation and transplantation community, dedicating significant time and resources to ensure innovation and research remains a top priority as our community works to achieve 50,000 annual organ transplants in 2026.”

WRTC has been a research partner of NDRI since the early 1990s. Specifically in 2021, the organization facilitated the placement of 121 organs for research and education from 120 research authorized donors. These gifts supported several innovative research projects advancing discovery in areas such as transplantation, improved therapies for diseases including heart failure, overactive bladder, muscular dystrophy and pain management.

With the placement of more than 900 organs for research since 2011 resulting in several publications
and presentations to the OPO community – WRTC has proven their dedication to research and the
priority they place on providing donor families additional opportunities to amplify the impact of their loved one’s gifts.

Washington Regional Transplant Community and The Living Legacy Foundation of Maryland (The LLF) recently announced that they will be merging in January 2023. The new name of the combined organ procurement organization will be Infinite Legacy. “We are confident the name Infinite Legacy will truly honor our donor heroes and their families for their compassionate and courageous decision,” said Lori E. Brigham, WRTC President & Chief Executive Officer. In June 2022, WRTC, and The LLF, whose service area includes 20 counties in Maryland and the city of Baltimore, announced they signed a definitive agreement to merge the organizations. The merger will provide nearly 19 million people with improved donation and transplant services. After the merger closes, Charlie Alexander, currently the LLF President and Chief Executive Officer, will assume the role of CEO for Infinite Legacy and Lori Brigham will retire after 35 years of working in the donation industry. NDRI is looking forward to continuing our work with the newly formed organization.