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In Memoriam: Elizabeth Sleeman

UNOS commemorates the life and contributions of former staff member Elizabeth F. Sleeman, M.H.A., who passed away March 4 at the age of 32. She excelled in her service to UNOS and its constituents while battling a series of health challenges with grace and courage.

Elizabeth Sleeman

“Elizabeth was one of the first people I met when I came to UNOS,” said Brian Shepard, UNOS’ Chief Executive Officer. “Much of what I came to see as the character of our organization – dedication, intelligence, humor, and compassion – I saw first by watching her.

“Elizabeth left a significant mark on us professionally. She’ll be remembered longer for the person that she was, and for the fact that we are better people for having known her.”

She joined UNOS in 2007 as a policy analyst and was Assistant Director of Policy when she left the organization in 2013 due to declining health. Among her responsibilities, she served as staff liaison to the OPTN/UNOS Pancreas Transplantation Committee and Policy Oversight Committee. Her most enduring contribution was her support of the development of the OPTN Kidney Paired Donation (KPD) Pilot Program, which has coordinated more than 130 transplants since its inception in late 2010.

“Elizabeth was simply an amazing person, and ever more remarkable the better I was able to get to know her,” said Kenneth Andreoni, M.D., who worked with her as chair of the KPD workgroup and later as OPTN/UNOS President. “I fondly recall our multiple discussions about our families, and her joy and pride in relating the latest of her son William’s accomplishments.

“Elizabeth was truly instrumental in developing, nurturing and improving the Kidney Paired Donation program every step of the way. She will always be an incredible inspiration to me. Through her legacy, she will continue to enrich others’ lives for many decades to come.”

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