People of the U: Michelle CrawfordPublished on Wednesday, March 4, 2020By: Ruth CumminsResidents of Grenada and the larger region aren’t able to get a kidney, pancreas or liver transplant at the University of Mississippi Medical Center Grenada, but Michelle Crawford will get them started on that journey.Crawford, a registered nurse and abdominal transplant coordinator at UMMC Grenada, leads a satellite clinic of the abdominal transplant program that’s based on the main Jackson campus. It provides much-needed access for Mississippians in the Delta and the northern half of the state who need services to prepare them for a transplant, but who might find it a hardship to travel to Jackson.Crawford shepherds care that includes imaging and lab studies, placement on a transplant waiting list, and post-surgery follow-up appointments. The Grenada clinic sees a large number of patients, many from several hours away, who are in need of a pancreas or kidney transplant, she said.“Most of them drive several hours to Grenada just so they can be placed on the national wait list through UMMC,” she said. “Our goal is to improve the quality of life, and if transplanting the patient improves their quality of life, then that’s our goal. Without organ donors, many of our patients would remain on dialysis and never be able to have a normal life.”In 2018, the Mississippi Organ Recovery Agency honored Crawford with the Hospital Leadership of the Year Award. MORA’s Spero Awards each year recognize hospital partners, medical professions and others who shine in promotion of organ, eye and tissue donation.“I advocate for organ donation and our transplant program by speaking at various clubs,” Crawford said. “I am a guest speaker every year at Holmes Community College, where I speak to the nursing students about kidney transplants. Also, I plan activities and events every April to promote organ donation.”VaitlaDr. Pradeep Vaitla, medical director of the Department of Nephrology, said Crawford is the glue that holds together the Grenada transplant clinic. “Patients travel to the Grenada clinic for services, and she gets everything done for them on the same day,” he said. “She has really taken it upon herself to expand the program in Grenada.“Her biggest impact is getting patients on the transplant list,” he said. “There’s been a 25 to 30 percent growth of patients from the Grenada area on the transplant list in the last five years.”Crawford stays busy with passions outside the workplace. She teaches junior high Sunday school at her church, “and I volunteer in the church TV studio,” she said. “I actually work the cameras and sound and broadcast on cable TV and on Facebook.” The married mom of three boys, Crawford aspires to take a Disney World trip with the family every year. “Honestly, my boys keep me too busy for any hobbies!” she said.Every institution is rich with personal stories. We want to know ours.Do you know a student, staff, volunteer or faculty member at the University of Mississippi Medical Center whose story would make an interesting feature or deserves to be recognized?Know someone who you think more people should know about because of his or her commitment to his or her job and/or the people he or she works with or for? Who has a fascinating hobby? Who participates in a remarkable group? Who has accomplished something amazing?We want to learn more about each individual who makes up our extraordinary UMMC Family, and we want to share what makes each person unique and special in the Front and Center section of our dynamic new UMMC Intranet.To nominate someone to be considered for a Front and Center feature, just complete and submit this short form. If that person is picked for a feature, a member of the Communications and Marketing staff will contact him or her to learn more about his or her personal story.Soon, the rest of the Medical Center will know why your nominee is an outstanding reminder of what makes this place so special – the Front and Center.