(Edison, NJ) June 13, 2017 – Musculoskeletal Transplant Foundation (MTF), the nation’s foremost tissue bank, today announced that Matthew J. Kuehnert, M.D., globally recognized expert in blood, organ and tissue transfusion and transplantation, has joined the organization as its medical director.
Kuehnert’s appointment follows his retirement from a 20-year career at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), where he most recently served as Director of the Office of Blood, Organ, and Other Tissue Safety (BOOTS), an activity he helped found more than a decade ago. He replaces David Gocke, M.D., who is retiring after serving as MTF’s medical director for 30 years.
“Dr. Kuehnert brings to MTF world-renowned expertise in assuring the safety of donated organs and tissues,” said Bruce Stroever, President and Chief Executive Officer of MTF. “In his two decades leading CDC initiatives in this field, he has been recognized for his remarkable dedication to patients, commitment to scientific innovation, and passion for public health. We are delighted that Dr. Kuehnert has chosen to join MTF and look forward to working with him to leverage his perspective and experience to advance the science of tissue transplantation, and to continue our focus on saving and healing the lives of people by providing the safest possible donated human tissue transplants.”
Kuehnert is the recipient of the American Association of Blood Banks President’s Award, the Association of Organ Procurement Organizations Executive Director’s Award for organ safety, and the George W. Hyatt Memorial Award for tissue safety. Retiring at the rank of Captain, the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps recognized him with a Distinguished Service Medal nomination for his scientific contributions, outstanding leadership, and impact in creating the BOOTS Office. He is included on the World Health Organization’s roster of experts in essential health technologies for transplantation services, and has co-authored more than 100 peer-reviewed articles, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports and book chapters.
“I am proud to join MTF, a worldwide leader in innovation, research and quality in tissue banking,” said Kuehnert. “After 20 years at the CDC working to prevent infectious disease transmission through transfusion and transplantation, my focus as medical director of MTF will be to ensure patient safety for tissue recipients while maximizing the benefits of these life-saving and life-enhancing procedures.”
Kuehnert joined the CDC as an epidemic intelligence officer in 1996 and has served in many infectious disease-related public health responses during his tenure at the agency, including Anthrax, West Nile, Monkey Pox, Ebola virus, and most recently, Zika virus.
In 2006, he was named director of the CDC Office of BOOTS, coordinating investigations, surveillance, and policy to improve transfusion and transplant outcomes and create public health interventions to ensure patient safety. At BOOTS, he was the senior author of life-saving Public Health Service guidelines in organ transplantation, which resulted in the use of Nucleic Acid Amplification Testing (NAT) for organ donor screening of HIV and Hepatitis C, an advanced safety method for detecting early infection in blood specimens. Kuehnert also was instrumental in establishing an investigation notification system for organ transplant-transmitted infections and a surveillance system for transfusion-associated adverse events.
A graduate of Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, Kuehnert completed his internship and residency in internal medicine at Stanford University and the University of California at San Francisco, respectively, and completed an infectious disease fellowship at Emory University.
“As we welcome Dr. Kuehnert to MTF, we also congratulate Dr. Gocke on his retirement,” said Stroever. “Dr. Gocke has been an integral part of MTF’s mission for three decades, guiding our organization through significant changes in the field of tissue donation and transplantation. We cannot thank him enough for his leadership, collaboration and commitment. He will be missed.”