The Walter Reed National Military Medical Center will launch a pilot program to pioneer kidney paired donation chains started via the military share program, in which families of active duty military service members donate one of their kidneys to patients listed for transplant at the medical center’s campus. Officials from the center announced the program at the White House Organ Summit June 13.

“We are excited to participate in this initiative, which has the potential to increase organ allocation for our patients,” Navy Capt. (Dr.) Eric Elster, professor and chairman of surgery at the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences and Walter Reed National Military Medical Center said. “While it will require overcoming logistical barriers, we in military medicine excel at such challenges.”

Walter Reed surgeons perform an average of 25 transplants per year on patients from across the country, and the medical center also maintains a living donor kidney transplant program that participates in national paired kidney exchanges.