Laurie Williams Salonen, a longtime liver transplant coordinator at Nebraska Medicine, is retiring after 36 years of dedicated service. Having been there since the program’s inception in 1985, Salonen has been hailed as the pillar of the liver transplant program. Nebraska Medicine was only the fifth center to open in the country at the time, and Salonen played a crucial role in its establishment. Over the years, the center has conducted around 4,000 liver transplants, thanks in large part to Salonen’s guidance and support for patients and their families.
To honor Salonen’s tremendous contribution, a fund has been created in her name by the University of Nebraska Foundation. The fund aims to support future liver transplant coordinators and ensure the continuity of this vital program. Alan Langnas, the head of transplant surgery at Nebraska Medicine, described Salonen’s impact as profound and unparalleled, having positively affected the lives of countless patients. Byers W. Shaw Jr., who started at the program alongside Salonen, echoed this sentiment, emphasizing that she has been instrumental in the program’s success.
Salonen’s commitment to her patients extended far beyond the transplant process, as she keeps in touch with over 400 individuals she has helped. Reflecting on her career, Salonen expressed her gratitude for the opportunity to be a part of families’ lives, considering it a genuinely humbling and rewarding experience. As Salonen’s retirement marks the end of an era for Nebraska Medicine’s liver transplant program, her legacy and impact will undoubtedly continue to resonate in the lives of those she has touched.