Dr. Nancy Ascher, chair of the UCSF Department of Surgery, has devoted her career to organ transplants and transplant research. Dr. Ascher completed her undergraduate and medical education at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She then went on to complete a general surgery residency and clinical transplantation fellowship at the University of Minnesota. She is board-certified by the American Board of Surgery.
Dr. Ascher joined the faculty of the Department of Surgery at the University of Minnesota in 1982 and was named Clinical Director of the Liver Transplant Program. She was recruited in 1988 by the UCSF Department of Surgery to build a liver transplantation program. In 1991, she was appointed Chief of Transplantation, an expanded role that included liver, kidney and pancreas transplants. In 1993, she was appointed Vice-Chair of the UCSF Department of Surgery, and in 1999 was appointed Department Chair.
Dr. Ascher has had a distinguished career of public service that includes appointments to the Presidential Task Force on Organ Transplantation and the Surgeon General's Task Force on Increasing Donor Organs. She also served as Chair of the Advisory Committee on Organ Transplantation for the Secretary of Health and Human Services from 2001 - 2005. Highly respected by her peers, Dr. Ascher was named to the list of U.S. News "America's Top Doctors," a distinction reserved for the top 1% of physicians in the nation for a given specialty.
Dr. Ascher is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and holds memberships in numerous other medical societies. She has taken an active leadership role in American Society of Transplant Surgeons activities and was its past-president. Dr. Ascher has published over 425 articles in medical and scientific journals. Her research interests are in hepatocyte immunogenicity, mechanisms of allograft rejection and clinical transplantation.
I. RECURRENT DISEASE AFTER LIVER TRANSPLANT
The NIH Liver Transplant Data Base has been extended to address the important issue of disease recurrence after liver transplantation. Although short term liver transplant results have improved markedly over the past ten years, it is apparent that disease recurrence is an important source of patient morbidity and graft loss. Long term following of greater than 1000 patients in the Liver Transplant Data Base will facilitate our understanding of the factors associated with graft recurrence.
II. EXPANDED CRITERIA FOR LIVER TRANSPLANT FOR HEPATOCELLULAR
We have redefined the criteria for liver transplantation beyond the Milan criteria. The UCSF criteria enables additional patients to benefit from liver transplants without compromising outcome.
"This issue of Inside Surgery highlights the UCSF Lung Transplant Program and the new technology called ex vivo lung perfusion that will help to increase the availability of donor lungs. It also features the Cardiac Transplantation and Mechanical Circulatory Support Program as well as the Pediatric Heart Failure and Pediatric Heart and Lung Transplant Program. Read an update by Nancy Ascher, M.D., Ph.D., chair of the UCSF Department of Surgery.........."
"Dr. (Nancy) Ascher excels in her role as Chair of Surgery, not only for her inexplicable foresight, but because she stays connected to trainees and students. This year, Dr. Ascher received the Francis Moore Excellence in Mentorship in the Field of Transplantation Surgery Award from the American Society of Transplant Surgeons."
"Residents and fellows noted that Dr. Nancy Ascher is an effective mentor because she treats them like colleagues and not just trainees. Residents and fellows felt "immersed and integral in the program which empowered them and helped their growth." Dr. Ascher emphasizes that a meaningful mentor-mentee relationship allows an honest exchange about the student's career path and the mentor's willingness to be that student's advocate."
"It was 1975 when Nancy Ascher, MD, PhD, chose surgery, a specialty shoulder-deep in men. Then again, so was medical school - Ascher was one of 20 women in her class of 180. After her residency, she blew past every gender barrier to become the first woman to perform a liver transplant, garnering enough speed to break through the stainless-steel ceiling to serve as UCSF's first female chair of surgery - one of three women holding that title in the country. The pace at which Ascher propels through every day is the velocity required for the steep ascent of a remarkable career."
Excerpt from UCSF Magazine, Spring 2013
On November 5th, Captain Chesley B. "Sully" Sullenberger, III spoke to a UCSF audience at Cole Hall on "Leadership in Advancing National Efforts in Patient Safety and Optimal Quality of Care". Captain Sullenberger spoke at the invitation of Nancy L. Ascher, M.D., Ph.D., Chair of UCSF Department of Surgery. Sullenberger had previously collaborated on healthcare issues with UCSF surgeon John Maa, M.D. He was introduced by Hobart W. Harris, M.D., M.P.H., Chief of the Division of General Surgery, who underscored how Sullenberger's aviation experience has informed patient safety and the evolution of modern clinical practice.
Drawing on his 43-year career as a pilot and safety expert, Captain Sullenberger demonstrated the importance of effective leadership, the necessity of understanding the science of safety, and the vital need for all health care institutions to build a robust culture of safety that improves outcomes, saves lives and reduces costs. For the benefit of those who could not attend, the lecture was recorded.
Liver cancer patients
in need of an organ transplant often face a cruel reality -- while
waiting for a deceased-donor liver, their cancer may worsen,
spreading to other organs and making them ineligible for a
transplant. With two children to raise and time ticking down, Amy
Baghdadi was fast running out of options. But at her daughter's
soccer practice, a fellow parent, who happened to be UCSF
transplant surgeon, Andrew
Posselt, M.D., Ph.D., heard Amy's story, and convinced there
were other options to explore, referred her to the UCSF Liver
Transplant Center. Then, a life-changing gift from a family friend,
Olivia Lemen, enabled Amy to undergo a life saving living-donor
liver transplant performed by UCSF transplant surgeons Nancy Ascher,
M.D., Ph.D., and John Roberts,
M.D. The video
tells the moving story of the "The Gift".
In its most recent survey, U.S. News in collaboration with Castle Connolly Medical Ltd. listed twenty-five (25) surgeons in the UCSF Department of Surgery, nearly one-third (1/3) of the clinical faculty, on the list of U.S. News "Top Doctors". The list, compiled from the opinion of colleagues, denotes the top 10% of physicians within a region practicing a given specialty. Fifteen of the 25 department surgeons were also named by their peers to the list of America's Top Doctors (ATD), a distinction reserved for the top 1% of physicians in the nation for that specialty. The listings are published online at U.S. News. The group rankings are intended to guide patients in selecting a doctor and physicians in making specialty referrals.
"Dr. Nancy Ascher presents The Osher Center for Integrative Medicine's mini-med lecture on transplantation. Explore how new technology may affect the future of transplantation."
"Each day in the U.S., 19 people die waiting for donated organs. To help increase supply, some health experts and economists want to legalize the market for human organs. We take up the issue with a panel of experts."
Dr. Nancy Ascher and Dr. Holger Willenbring were interviewed by PBS NewsHour correspondent Spencer Michaels about the transformation of embryonic stem cells into new liver cells as a treatment for patients.
"Of all the things for a married couple to bicker about, Nancy Ascher and John Roberts have hit on a first -- a pulsing human liver. To be precise, they are standing forehead to forehead with a man splayed out between them. Roberts wants more of his liver to take next door to a waiting recipient. Ascher wants more of it left behind for the donor's recovery."