ODOM BRINGS WEALTH OF KNOWLEDGE TO UMC'S TRANSPLANT PROGRAM
Sylvia Odom, the new director of transplant services at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, got the right call at the right time.
After working in transplants at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) since 1995, Odom was looking for a challenge, a way to make an impact and share the knowledge she had acquired over the years. She knew she had found that challenge when she received a call that UMC was taking major steps to reinvigorate its transplant program.
“I decided I would come take a look. Once I came here, I saw the excitement was there and the commitment was there. I had to see what I could do to support them,” Odom said.
Not even the rewards of working for the State of South Carolina could keep her away. State employees there receive free health care for life after working 20 years for the state. Odom had three years left until she was eligible for that benefit.
“I had to come,” she said. “We’re here for the citizens of Mississippi, so it’s an exciting time to be here. There’s absolutely nothing standing in our way of offering quality transplant services to the State of Mississippi.”
David Putt, chief operating officer of University Hospitals and Clinics, said hospital administration is excited to have Odom join the UMC team “to assist in managing the expected explosive growth of the kidney transplant program.”
“Sylvia has a vast knowledge of the kidney and heart transplant programs and has started working with the transplant team and nursing to ensure that quality outcomes are maintained,” he said.
Odom, a certified transplant coordinator, has been a nurse since 1974, earning the MSN in 1995 and the MHS-HIA summa cum laude in 2003 at MUSC. She has worked as a nurse in labor and delivery, pediatrics and cardiac care in North Carolina, California and South Carolina.
She joined MUSC in 1990 as a clinical nurse in cardiac care, and over the years worked as the thoracic transplant coordinator, thoracic and liver transplant administrative coordinator and a systems analyst for the MUSC Transplant Center. Odom witnessed her first heart transplant during her time in cardiac care and was amazed by the difference it made in a patient’s life.
“They opened up the recipient and I saw a big, floppy dysfunctional heart that’s replaced with a new heart that’s beautiful. Soon, that recipient walks out of the hospital with his family,” Odom said. “It’s fascinating. Transplants are viable treatments now for end-stage disease of the heart, kidney and liver.”
Odom said her absolute dream for the future is for the Medical Center to have a stand-alone transplant center. “And that we do multi-organ transplants for the state,” she said.
Dr. James Hughes, interim chair of the Department of Surgery, said the Medical Center is expecting great things from Odom.
“Her background and expertise promise to facilitate a comprehensive and effective management program which is going to fulfill such an enormous need for the citizens of our state,” he said.
—Patrice Sawyer Guilfoyle (5-7-07)2007-05-07 00:00:00 16896
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