Organ and Tissue Authority

Dr Helen Opdam

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

Dr Helen Opdam commenced as the National Medical Director of the Organ and Tissue Authority 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.

Dr Opdam 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. In 1998 in Victoria Dr Opdam led the implementation of the routine review of hospital deaths with the aim of optimising identification of potential donors and ensuring the option for donation is discussed with patients' families. In 2002 she was appointed as a medical consultant to the Victorian Organ Donation Agency, providing medical suitability and other clinical advice on donation cases. She was on the National Institute of Clinical Studies (NICS) Advisory Committee that oversaw the National Organ Donation Collaborative (2006-2009).

Dr Opdam is a member of the Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Society (ANZICS) Death and Organ Donation Working Party that has developed the ANZICS Statement on Death and Organ Donation. She regularly facilitates Medical ADAPT workshops to provide education to Intensive Care Specialists and trainees and other doctors on brain death and organ donation.

Dr Opdam is the Chair of the OTA Data and Audit Working Group, which oversees the national audit of deaths to detect potential organ donors. She contributes to numerous other committees and workings groups including being a Council member of the International Society for Organ Donation and Procurement, and on the NHMRC Expert Advisory Group for the development of ethical guidelines on the eligibility criteria and allocation protocols for organ transplantation from deceased donors. She is a regular invited speaker at national and international conferences.

Dr Opdam graduated from Monash University in 1990 with First Class Honours.