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Dr. Kristin Mekeel Appointed Division Chief of Transplantation and Hepatobiliary Surgery

Dr. Kristin MekeelWe are pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Kristin Mekeel to the role of Chief of the Division of Transplantation and Hepatobiliary Surgery in the Department of Surgery. 

Dr. Mekeel holds the rank of Professor of Clinical Surgery and has served since October of 2017 as the Interim Chief of the Division. In this capacity, she has performed admirably in bringing the clinical and academic programs forward to a level of excellence not previously seen at UC San Diego. Under her direction and in concert with multidisciplinary partners, the programs in liver and kidney transplantation are busier than in all prior years and as a result are positively impacting the lives of many more patients throughout the region. The quality of liver and kidney transplantation outcomes performed at UC San Diego have continued to improve and are now among the best in the country. 

Dr. Mekeel brings an energy and passion to the role that will no doubt bring the division and its related programs even further forward to a place reserved only for the top-tier programs. Her tireless efforts, robust talents, and commitment to UC San Diego have made it clear that she is indeed the right person to lead this division on a permanent basis. 

Now a nationally recognized transplant surgeon, Dr. Mekeel completed general surgery residency at the University of Colorado and a fellowship in abdominal transplantation at the University of Florida. She joined the faculty at UC San Diego in 2010 from the Mayo Clinic, Phoenix, and quickly progressed to the rank of Professor.  She has served as the Surgical Director of Kidney Transplantation at UC San Diego since 2013 and has introduced improved processes and strategies to elevate the role of living donation to address the critical shortage of available organs. For example, Dr. Mekeel spearheaded UC San Diego’s involvement in the National Kidney Registry, which facilitates the pairing of recipients with living donors and to date has led to transplantation in more than 3500 patients nationwide. 

Dr. Mekeel’s academic interests focus on clinical quality and safety. Her commitment to quality improvement in the health system setting is evident not only in the remarkable improvements achieved in our transplantation programs, but also in her recent selection to serve as the Director of Surgical Quality for UC San Diego Health. She serves (and has served) on a number of national committees (UNOS/OPTN) that influence transplantation practices throughout the country, and she has been the recipient of numerous teaching and mentoring awards. 

In addition to her role as Chief of the Division of Transplantation and Hepatobiliary Surgery, Dr. Mekeel was also recently promoted to the position of Vice-Chair for Quality and Safety in the Department of Surgery. In this capacity she will assist the chair and divisions across the Department in developing and implementing strategies to further elevate the level of care provided across our clinical enterprise. 

We are fully confident that Dr. Mekeel will lead the way forward for our talented faculty, trainees, and staff, and that together they will further the care of our region’s present and future patients and establish the UC San Diego Division of Transplant and Hepatobiliary Surgery as one of the elite programs in the country. 

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