Organ and Tissue Authority

Associate Professor Helen Opdam

Portrait photograph of National medical director, Doctor Helen Opdam
National Medical Director

Associate Professor Helen Opdam MBBS FRACP FCICM was appointed as the OTA National Medical Director on 1 July 2014. She is a Senior Intensive Care Specialist at the Austin Hospital in Melbourne and Director of Warringal Private Hospital Intensive Care Unit. Her intensive care interests include improving patient care through enhancing hospital systems and neuro-intensive care. 

 

Helen has a long-standing commitment to organ and tissue donation, holding the position of the inaugural State Medical Director of DonateLife Victoria from 2009 to June 2015. This was preceded by leadership roles during the National Organ Donation Collaborative (2006-2009), which included participation on the National Institute of Clinical Studies (NICS) Advisory Committee that oversaw the Collaborative, and an appointment from 2002 as a medical consultant to the Victorian Organ Donation Agency, providing medical suitability and other clinical advice on donation cases.  

 

In 1998 Helen led the development and implementation of pilot program in Victoria focused on reviewing hospital deaths to identify potential donors in order to understand where barriers and missed opportunities existed that limited donation. Helen has led the evolution of this process to what is now the DonateLife Audit, which is undertaken in all DonateLife hospitals, and she continues to provide guidance as Chair of the OTA Data and Audit Working Group. The Audit provides key donation metrics that are vital for informing future strategic direction, measuring donation performance and outcomes, and monitoring the effectiveness of the Reform program.

 

Helen contributes to numerous committees and workings groups. She is a Council member of the International Society for Organ Donation and Procurement (ISODP) and a regular program committee member for the international Congress meetings of ISODP and The Transplantation Society. Helen participates on key Australian committees including the Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Society (ANZICS) Death and Organ Donation Committee and the National Health and Medical Research Council Expert Advisory Group for the development of ethical guidelines for organ transplantation from deceased donors. She is a regular invited speaker at national and international conferences.