October 4, 2007
Vol. 27 No. 2

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    Liver transplant surgeon will use his feet, legs (and head) to raise public awareness

    Theresa Carson
    Medical Center Communications

    Giuliano Testa, Associate Professor in Surgery, will run the 2007 LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon to raise public awareness of the need for organ donations.

    Giuliano Testa, Associate Professor in Surgery and Director of Liver Transplantation and Hepatobiliary Surgery at the University Medical Center, goes the extra mile to raise awareness about organ transplant donations, but next week, he will go an extra 26 miles.

    On Sunday, Oct. 7, Testa will join the American Liver Foundation Illinois Chapter’s Run for Research Team in running the 2007 LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon.

    “As chair of the ALF’s Medical Advisory Committee, I feel it’s important that I set an example,” Testa said.

    He has two goals: collect $7,000 for the foundation and finish the race in under 4:15:00. His best time to date is four hours, 30 minutes.

    He will be the first to say that in the past, he has been foiled by inclement weather, plentiful pasta, excess olive oil and even an injury caused by a flying pizza. But this year, the Italian native has built in an added incentive to make his time: If Testa doesn’t cross the finish line in under 4:15:00, he will allow one of his living-donor patients to shave his head.

    The money the doctor raises will support educational programs, research, local support groups, and campaigns to raise public awareness of liver diseases, wellness and organ donation.

    “Liver disease affects the health of people of all ages and backgrounds, yet it is not widely understood,” he said. “The AFL supports specific research projects and events dedicated to educate patients and the public.”

    Testa, who did his residency and internship at Chicago, returned to the medical center two years ago to head the pediatric liver transplant program.

    His accomplishments speak for themselves. In 1998, he helped to develop the first European living donor transplant program. He took part in the first robotic complex liver surgery in the United States and later was part of a team that performed the first dual living donor liver/small-bowel transplant.

    Since returning to the University, he and his team have performed six pediatric transplants and a host of operations on adults.

    Testa appreciates his team. When asked what he wants the public to know about Chicago’s pediatric transplant team, he replied, “From all points of view—human, emotional, professional, expertise-wise, dedication—this is one of the most impressive groups of transplant professionals working together to help children in need.”

    Outside his medical center office, the surgeon posted a box with a hand-printed sign that reads: Meetings with Dr. Testa $1. He also has a Web site for contributors at http://www.active.com/donate/run2007/alfgtesta.