Miller School Physicians Recognized as Organ Donation Heroes

Two Miller School faculty, Michael Nares, M.D., assistant professor of clinical pediatrics, and Kristine O’Phelan, M.D., associate professor of clinical neurology, were honored at the Life Alliance Organ Recovery Agency’s 9th Annual Luminaire Gala this month for their dedication to making the “miracle of life” possible.

Nares, the fellowship director of pediatric critical care medicine and director of the pediatric intensive care unit at Holtz Children’s Hospital, was recognized as Physician of the Year for assisting the Life Alliance with the clinical management of donors, collaboratively approaching families for consent, coordinating needed tests, facilitating physician orders, and increasing organ viability.

O’Phelan, the chief of the Neurocritical Care Division and co-director of the Neurosciences Critical Care Unit, was honored as the Donation Champion for devoting her personal time to physician education and key hospital donation meetings, facilitating family discussions and donor management, and always being available for alliance staff.

Held October 8 at the Fontainebleau Hotel on Miami Beach, the gala honors individuals who, as Leslie Cortina, executive director of the alliance, said, “go the extra mile to assist us in making the ‘miracle of life’ possible.”

Part of the Miller School’s Lucille and DeWitt Daughtry Family Department of Surgery, the alliance is a federally designated, non-profit agency responsible for recovering organs and tissue for transplantation, supporting bereaved donor families, and educating health care professionals and the community about transplantation and donation. It serves six South Florida counties and the Commonwealth of the Bahamas.

Nares, who graduated from the Miller School, and O’Phelan, who earned her M.D. from Boston University School of Medicine, both completed their residency training at University of Miami-Jackson Memorial Hospital.

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