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April 12, 2006

U-M Health System transplant physician awarded with 'Shining Star'

Doctor recognized for organ donation leadership

ANN ARBOR, MI – Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land honors renal transplant physician Alan Leichtman of the University of Michigan Health System with a Shining Star award in recognition of his “exemplary leadership” in organ and tissue donation.

Alan Leichtman
Alan B. Leichtman, M.D.

Land created the Shining Star award to acknowledge those whose exceptional efforts encourage greater organ donor awareness. 

“Out of many deserving candidates, doctor Leichtman was chosen because of his exemplary leadership in organ donation,” says Land. “He is a recognized expert in transplantation and has increased awareness of the importance of participation in donor registries. He has also worked to improve the fairness of the apportionment process for the thousands of people who are waiting for transplants.”

Leichtman is a professor of internal medicine and has been medical director of transplantation for the kidney/pancreas program at the University of Michigan since 1989.  He is co-director of the U-M Transplant Center, director of the U-M’s Transplant Nephrology Fellowship Training Program and a member of the U-M Transplant Center Executive Committee.

He was appointed to chair the Organ and Procurement Transplant Network’s Kidney and Pancreas Transplantation Committee, which is the principle committee advising the federal government and the national organ procurement group that directs kidney and pancreas allocation policy. He also is one of seven co-principal investigators for the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients, which tracks outcomes and compiles statistics of transplant programs and organ procurement organizations and reports annually on the state of transplantation in the United States. Leichtman has co-authored numerous articles in the area of renal transplantation. He earned his medical degree from Michigan State University in 1978. 

Leichtman was nominated by Timothy J. Laing, M.D., associate professor and vice chair of the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan Health System.

“Alan is dedicated to his work and has had a profoundly positive impact on the lives of many patients,” says Frank Brosius, M.D., professor of internal medicine and physiology and co-director of the Nephrology Training Program at the University of Michigan. “His leadership has directly resulted in major changes in transplant allocution that have made kidney and pancreas transplantation fairer and more inclusive.”

Leichtman’s recognition coincides with Buddy Week, a public awareness campaign in which Gift of Life Michigan and Michigan Eye-Bank volunteers meet with the public at Secretary of State branch offices to discuss organ and tissue donation. 

The department has a primary role in collecting names for Michigan’s organ, tissue and eye donor registry through its online enrollment program. Donor cards are also available in branch offices and are mailed with driver’s licenses and state identification cards. Land also encourages awareness through her Organ and Tissue Donor Advisory Committee and by fostering partnerships with advocates statewide.

More than 2,900 individuals are currently on a waiting list for an organ transplant in Michigan, according to Gift of Life. For more information about the Shining Star award and other Department of State organ donor programs, please visit

Written by Kelly Chesney
Michigan Secretary of State
(517) 373-2520

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