A six-month search for a new executive director for South Florida’s only organ bank ended Tuesday with a promotion from within the troubled agency owned and operated by the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine.
Alghidak “Sam” Salama, an assistant professor of clinical surgery at UM, was named executive director of the Life Alliance Organ Recovery Agency, or LAORA, the university announced in a press release.
Salama joined LAORA in 2009. He previously served as medical director and most recently as acting director following the abrupt departure in September of Michael Goldstein, a surgeon hired in February 2014 to lead the kidney transplant program at the Miami Transplant Institute and to serve as the organ bank’s director.
Salama’s appointment starts a new chapter for LAORA, which has experienced a series of key leadership changes in recent years. Two former employees who had served as director of clinical operations and medical director filed separate lawsuits in Miami-Dade Circuit Court alleging that a male supervisor physically struck them during a 2013 staff meeting in an attempt to silence their complaints. The lawsuits have yet to be resolved.
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LAORA is the only organization federally licensed to procure and distribute solid organs for transplantation in the South Florida area and the Bahamas. Its role is to recover organs from donor patients at South Florida hospitals and to distribute the organs throughout the country for potentially life-saving transplant surgeries.