Betsy J. Walsh, JD, MPH, vice president and deputy general counsel for Novant Health, Inc., has been elected president of the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network/United Network for Organ Sharing (OPTN/UNOS) board of directors. She will serve a one-year term beginning in July 2015.
Ms. Walsh is a living donor and becomes the first person elected to the post who is not a clinician. She donated a kidney to her sister, Judy Jones Tisdale, in 1995.
“I deeply appreciate the trust of the transplant community in offering a patient the opportunity to serve as president of the OPTN and UNOS,” she said. “Nearly 20 years ago, access to a transplant enabled my family to move from a health care crisis back to normal life. I plan to spend the next year supporting the hundreds of dedicated UNOS volunteers and staff members working to increase access to transplantation for others in need.”
As president, she will direct the efforts of the organization that serves as the nation’s organ transplant network under federal contract. Her duties include leading biannual meetings of the OPTN/UNOS board, as well as serving as chair of the OPTN/UNOS Executive Committee and UNOS’ Corporate Affairs Committee. She is responsible for strategic planning, including the establishment of key goals and oversight of progress in areas such as:
• increasing the number of transplants
• promoting patient safety
• achieving best use of donated organs
• ensuring those in need have equitable access to transplantation
• improving outcomes for living donors, transplant patients and those in need of a transplant
Walsh served most recently as vice president/president-elect on the OPTN/UNOS Board of Directors and its Executive Committee and has previously served on the Membership and Professional Standards Committee. She also spearheaded an effort to rewrite OPTN bylaws in plain language.
She is a frequent lecturer and presenter on legal and health care issues. She is also a co-author of a number of journal articles evaluating the health care experiences of low-income patients, including those enrolled in Medicaid. In her role at Novant Health, a multi-state, non-profit health care system, Ms. Walsh provides legal support to physicians and administrators in a variety of transactional and regulatory matters.
Walsh earned a doctor of jurisprudence degree from Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C., and a master’s degree in public health from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. She also completed a postdoctoral fellowship in health services research at the University of North Carolina in Charlotte.