Representatives with the Mercer University School of Medicine and Piedmont Transplant Institute of Atlanta recently held a ribbon cutting ceremony to officially open an organ transplant satellite clinic in Macon. The collaborative effort makes pre- and post-kidney transplant services more accessible to patients in Bibb County and surrounding communities. The satellite clinic is located in the Mercer Medicine Internal Medicine Clinic at 707 Pine Street in Macon and will initially evaluate patients on a quarterly basis.

The accessibility of a satellite clinic in Macon could literally be a life saver for patients currently undergoing dialysis, as well as those nearing dialysis in the Central Georgia community, said Dr. Ajay Srivastava, a Mercer Medicine nephrologist and assistant professor and chief of the nephrology division for the Mercer School of Medicine.

Despite advances in kidney transplantation outcomes, the number of actual transplants performed remains low due to the limited availability of viable kidney donors. Nationally, the number of deceased kidney donors is declining, while the need for kidney transplants continues to grow. With an average wait time of four to five years for a deceased donor kidney, approximately 200 of the more than 3,200 Georgia patients on the transplant waiting list die each year before receiving a kidney transplant. Better access to transplant centers through satellite clinics such as the one in Macon means more patients can be evaluated for transplantation.

But it's not just patients in the community who will benefit from the partnership, said Dr. Srivastava, the collaboration will also create landmark training fellowships in Infectious Disease and Nephrology for future Mercer medical residents.

"These new fellowships will expand subspecialty training for our medical students and, ultimately, elevate the caliber of physicians the Mercer School of Medicine graduates into Georgia's communities," he said.

For more information about the Mercer University School of Medicine, visit medicine.mercer.edu. For more information about transplant services at Piedmont Atlanta Hospital, visit piedmonttransplant.org.