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BIRMINGHAM (Aug. 9, 2011) - Children's of Alabama and the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Health System have officially announced plans to consolidate pediatric liver and kidney transplant services under the Pediatric Transplant Program at Children's of Alabama. In 2012, upon completion of Children's $400-million expansion project currently under construction, the program will bring all aspects of pediatric organ transplant surgery in the state together at Children's of Alabama.

"Providing a home to the pediatric transplant service is just one of the reasons we set out to build the Benjamin Russell Hospital for Children," said Children's CEO Mike Warren. "Within these walls, we are able to provide the most sophisticated, high-tech care available to these children who need a new kidney or a new liver in a way that exemplifies the Children's mission to provide the finest pediatric health services to all children in an environment that fosters excellence in research and medical education."

Children's Pediatric Transplant Program will still employ the skill, knowledge and expertise of UAB's transplant surgeons and physicians, who are ranked among the best in the nation and who will continue to perform the surgeries and provide medical care on Children's campus. The program is led by Devin Eckhoff, M.D., professor of Surgery at UAB and director of abdominal solid organ transplantation. The ongoing partnership between the two health care facilities strengthens the program to the benefit of the youngsters it serves.

UAB's pediatric kidney transplant program began in 1958; more than 660 transplants have taken place since then, making UAB's program one of the largest and most successful in the country. The first pediatric heart transplant at UAB was in 1981; since then, more than 116 children have received heart transplants. More than 160 pediatric liver transplants have taken place at UAB since the first in 1989. The one-year success rate for heart and liver transplants has been 100 percent the past several years.

"The consolidation of pediatric transplant services brings together the best of both worlds - UAB's proven success in pediatric transplantation and a new facility that was designed and built especially for children," said Dr. Carlton Young, director of pediatric kidney transplantation and associate professor of Surgery at UAB. "From a physician's perspective, having the skills and talents of world-class experts right here under one roof enables us to provide the best possible care to the children who come to us for life-saving surgery and their families."

Kidney and liver transplant surgery will be one of several services made possible by the 750,000-square-feet Benjamin Russell Hospital for Children that is set to open in mid-2012. The facility was designed to meet an increase in patient volume and the expansion of the programs and services necessary to meet the growing health care needs of Alabama's children. In addition to more and larger patient rooms and amenities, the Benjamin Russell Hospital for Children will include 16 state-of-the-art operating suites equipped with cutting-edge technology. Those resources will also enable the relocation of the pediatric heart transplant program from UAB to Children's under the newly formed Comprehensive Congenital Heart Disease Program, another collaboration between UAB and Children's.

Children's of Alabama is the only medical center in Alabama dedicated solely to the care and treatment of children and is one of the 10 busiest pediatric medical centers in the nation. It is home to Alabama's only Level I pediatric trauma center, a leading pediatric hematology/oncology center, the state's only pediatric blood and marrow transplant program and the only pediatric burn center in the southeastern U.S. It is a private, not-for-profit hospital that serves as the primary site of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) pediatric medicine, surgery, research and residency programs. Ten of its divisions - pulmonology, neurology and neurosurgery, orthopedics, urology, neonatology, cancer, cardiology, gastroenterology, endocrinology and nephrology-are ranked in the Top 50 Children's Hospital Programs by US News & World Report. Children's is recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center as a Magnet-designated hospital for its excellence of nursing care. The hospital is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2011. For more information, visit  


Contacts: Kathy Bowers, Children's of Alabama Media Relations, 205/939-9002 (  
Jennifer Lollar, UAB Media Relations, 205/934-3888 (