During a time that’s bringing countless challenges to our nation’s healthcare system, LifeCenter Northwest is grateful for our partners—like Dr. Joshua Lieberman of the University of Washington (UW)—who go above and beyond to help overcome those challenges.

Early in 2020, once the number of COVID-19 cases in our region began to spike, transplant centers became understandably hesitant about accepting any organs without comprehensive COVID testing on potential donors and recipients.

COVID testing capability was quite limited across the country, but thankfully UW has a clinical laboratory that became a cutting-edge testing hub in Seattle at the beginning of the pandemic. Starting in March, LifeCenter Northwest began meeting with Dr. Lieberman (a pathologist at UW specializing in infectious disease) and our combined team was quickly able to rapidly develop and implement a COVID testing system for potential organ donors and recipients.

“We had never interacted with Dr. Lieberman before and he wasn’t required to help us—but he’s been an excellent partner throughout the pandemic,” explained Dominic Adorno, LifeCenter Northwest’s vice president of clinical operations. “Dr. Lieberman was instrumental in coordinating time-sensitive COVID testing for donors, and—as a result—those donors saved hundreds of lives that might have otherwise ended too soon.”

The COVID testing program that Dr. Lieberman designed in partnership with LifeCenter Northwest was so innovative and effective that it was the subject of an article in the June 2020 issue of the American Journal of Transplantation, co-authored by Dr. Lieberman.

Candy Wells, LifeCenter Northwest’s director of organ utilization, was also a co-author of that article, and is similarly impressed with Dr. Lieberman’s deep commitment to donation.

“Dr. Lieberman has been incredible, and I can’t praise him enough,” said Wells. “He is so committed to moving donation forward, and I know for a fact that multiple transplants wouldn’t have happened without his dedication—going the extra mile, collaborating and staying late to do testing.”

In September of 2020, LifeCenter staff proudly presented Dr. Lieberman with a “Donation Champion” award during a virtual Clinical Advisory Council meeting, honoring him for his outstanding partnership.

“Supporting LifeCenter’s work has been the most meaningful way I’ve been involved with the outbreak, by far, and I’m so humbled to be a part of supporting organ transplantation,” concluded Dr. Lieberman.