Maine Medical Center

Maine Transplant Program

At the Maine Transplant Program at Maine Medical Center, our mission is to provide the best care for patients with irreversible kidney failure and their living donors. As the only transplant program in the state, the Maine Transplant Program has performed more than 1500 kidney transplants since 1971. Learn more about living donation.

We are committed to providing top quality, multidisciplinary and personalized care for each patient. Our experienced transplant team is made up of nephrologists, surgeons, nurses, lab specialists, pharmacists, nutritionists and social workers. Our dedicated group works closely with the providers who know you best including your referring nephrologist and dialysis unit, to ensure that you have the best possible outcome.

Receiving care closer to home can help ease stress. The Maine Transplant Program provides high quality care conveniently located in Portland, Maine. When compared with other programs in the United States:

  • Our center has higher transplant rates (proportion of referred patients who actually receive transplants) than the region.

    graph illustrating higher transplant rates for patients
  • Our median time to transplant is less than half of the time for the region. These statistics mean you may be likely to receive a transplant faster with us than with other programs in the area.

    graph illustrating median time to transplant is less than half of the time for the region
  • Our patient mortality rates after being placed on the waitlist are lower than the rates of those of the Region and the U.S.

    graph illustrating lower patient mortality rates
  • Our patient and graft survival rates are higher than the U.S. average.

    graph illustrating  patient and graft survival rates that are higher than the U.S. average

For living donors, we offer:

  • Fast Track evaluation process that can speed up the evaluation of living donor candidates allowing us make a decision within 8 weeks of the initial visit
  • Kidney Paired Donation (also known as Kidney Donor Swap)
    • If your blood type is not compatible with the person you want to donate to (this happens about 30 percent of the time), you can still help that person by taking part in a kidney transplant paired exchange.
    • Through our program, you can participate in a local or national exchange, so your kidney goes to a patient in need. Then, as part of the exchange, your intended recipient will receive a kidney from someone else who they are compatible with.
    • Your chances of helping somebody in need despite being incompatible are 1.5 times higher with us than the national average.

      *Source: Maine Medical Center, for donations in 2018
      **Source: NKR Paired Exchange Results Quarterly Report, data as of 12/31/2018 (for donations between 2/2008-6/2017)

The Maine Transplant Program provides easy-to-understand information about organ transplant and living donation. These interactive programs can help you learn more becoming a donor and general information on organ transplant surgery.

The programs, created by Emmi Solutions, are developed in partnership with Board certified physicians. *Please note — these programs provide a general overview. Your surgeon may have different requirements, recommendations, and pathways than what is presented.

To view a Video, please click on the links below and complete the registration.

Organ Transplant Overview
Becoming a Donor 

The Maine Transplant Program has been at the forefront of both translational and clinical research. As a teaching hospital, many of our physicians serve as faculty who continue to publish scholarly works in a wide variety of peer-reviewed journals. We are very active participants in medical education at every level. You may meet our trainees both in clinic and in the hospital as they learn about kidney disease and transplantation from our expert faculty.

Transplant Team


John Vella, MD

Medical Director


Juan Palma-Vargas, MD

Surgical Director and Director Living Donation

Hassan Mahmoud, MD

Hassan Mahmoud, MD

Transplant Nephrologist

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Larry Melton, MD

Transplant Nephrologist

Faysal M. Elgilani, MD

Faysal Elgilani, MD

Transplant Surgeon

Clinical Support Staff

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Marie Simoneau

Medical Assistant

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Klaryssa Bryan

Medical Assistant

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Shelly Remington

Medical Assistant

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Kaitlin Remington



Ardyce Peters

Ardyce Peters

Director, Transplant Services

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Patricia Messer

Practice Supervisor

Clinical Coordinators


Theresa Boulos, RN, BSN, CCRN

Pre-Transplant Coordinator

Elizabeth Bernazzani

Betsy Bernazzani, RN

Post-Transplant Coordinator

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Sarah Heywood, RN, BSN

Pre-Transplant Coordinator


Nicole Irvin, RN

Pre-Transplant Coordinator

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Heather Stephen, RN

Living Donor Coordinator

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Andrew Pixley, RN, BSN

Living Donor Coordinator

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Don Price, RN

Post-Transplant Coordinator

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Heidi Ulbrich, RN

Post-Transplant Coordinator

Inpatient Clinical Support

Deborah Hoch

Deborah Hoch, DNP, CCRN, ACNP-BN

Nephrology & Transplant Nurse Practitioner


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Ashley White

Financial Counselor


Marizela Savic

Marizela Savic, PharmD

Social Work

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Sarah Moran, LCSW

Social Worker


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Felicia Bryant, RD

Clinical Transplant Dietitian

Living Donor Advocates

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Laura Madigan McCown, MA, LCSW

Frank Chessa

Frank Chessa, PhD


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Shelby McDonnell

Please complete this form if you have questions or want more information about organ transplant services.Thank you.

Kate and Mike's Story

Michael Martel has been on dialysis for 9 years and needed a new kidney. Kate Myhaver wanted to donate a kidney to a friend but it wasn't a match. Despite that, she moved forward being an altruistic donor, someone who gives an kidney to an unknown person, and Michael was the lucky recipient.

Message from Our Director

Our mission is to provide the best care for patients with irreversible kidney failure and their living donors. Read more from our Director, Dr. John Vella.