Understanding the Network of Organs Transplants in the USA

When: Friday, March 21, 2014 at 1:30 pm
Where: DA 5th fl
Speaker: Professor Ronaldo Menezes
Organization: Florida Institute of Technology
Sponsor: Senior Joint Network Seminar

The process of solid organ transplantation in the USA is far from optimal. As of today, 110,629 Americans are waiting for an organ transplant yet in 2010 only 28,664 people received organ transplants. There are many factors that affect these numbers such of donors or other sociological barriers (i.e. religious, cultural, etc.). However there are also more practical issues related to the process of allocation. One of the allocation policies implemented in the USA related to the distance the organ (donor) from the recipient. The distance is important to be considered because the quality of the organ generally relates to the distance: the shorter the distance the more likely the organ will not be damaged. In order to improve the allocation process and in light of the distance constraints the UNOS (United Network for Organ Sharing) sees the country divided into regions. This division enables an easy administration of the allocation process. However, of the years population dynamics and growth can make these regions obsolete since they no longer represent the reality of the country. In this talk we’ll overview the process of understanding the effect of these divisions to the transplantation allocation process, how the network can review hidden (and maybe detrimental) structures, and how network modularity of these networks could be used to provide alternative regions of the USA.

Joint work with Martin Cadeiras, Srividhya Venugopal, and Evan Stoner