Leslie Turk

UL alum/transplant pioneer kicks off Black History Month

by Leslie Turk

A leader in multiple kidney transplantation is the keynote speaker for UL Lafayette’s fifth annual Black History Kickoff at 5 p.m. today in the Student Union Ballroom. Dr. J. Keith Melancon, a 1982 UL grad, recently made national headlines when he was featured on NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams for a 14-patient kidney exchange in Washington, D.C. — the largest kidney exchange of its kind to take place in one city. Melancon is director of kidney and pancreas transplant surgery and pediatric transplantation at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C. He was part of a team of doctors who pioneered the use of plasmapheresis to address kidney donor compatibility. The procedure lowers a person’s antibodies, allowing them to accept another person’s organ, which is especially important for patients with high levels of antibodies that make a traditional donor match virtually impossible.

The kickoff event, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by the Office for Campus Diversity, South Louisiana Community College, Enrollment Services, University Program Council’s African American Culture Committee and Greek Affairs. For more info, contact Dr. Jennifer Jackson at 482-6464.