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Why This Program Is Important

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Understanding kidney and liver disease and their treatment options is key to choosing what is best for you. Understanding our diverse communities and their barriers to good health is key for a hospital to offer excellent healthcare. AATAP is a program built for the Black community, based on feedback and conversations with Black community members about the challenges of navigating a complex diagnosis and the healthcare system.

Our goals for AATAP:

  • Improve access to resources that help African American patients navigate the transplant process and achieve better health through transplantation
  • Continue to be a trusted destination for transplantation among African American patients, and improve trust in healthcare overall

AATAP providers address:

  • Patient distrust of health care. Our team takes the time to build a trusted, valued relationship with each patient and their family.
  • Cultural competency. We embrace the unique, rich culture and experience of Black Americans, and bring openness, understanding, and willingness to learn to every patient encounter.
  • Health literacy. We offer education about diagnosis and treatment in language that is easy to understand, and we take the time to answer questions so that patients and families feel comfortable about each step of the transplant journey.
  • Psychosocial support. Transplant care goes beyond the operating room. We have a team in place to help connect patients and families with the resources they need, from insurance assistance to support groups.

John E. Franklin, MD

John Franklin, MD

John E. Franklin, MD, MSc, MA, a transplant psychiatrist and diversity expert at Northwestern Medicine, is an adviser to the African American Transplant Access Program. Dr. Simpson works with Dr. Franklin to provide support for patients’ behavioral health needs throughout their transplant journey.

Dr. Franklin is a professor of psychiatry, behavioral sciences and organ transplantation at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, as well as the school’s associate dean for diversity, inclusion and student support. A practicing psychiatrist for more than 35 years, he has written extensively on issues in addiction medicine, organ transplantation and health disparities. Dr. Franklin’s expertise is foundational to Northwestern Medicine’s organ transplantation programs. His clinical expertise and ability to provide racially and culturally concordant care make him an invaluable member of the AATAP team.


Shimere Harrington, LICSW

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Shimere Harrington, LICSW, is the social worker in the African American Transplant Access Program. She partners closely with Dr. Simpson to understand patient needs and develop strategies to help overcome barriers that Black patients are likely to face when navigating the transplant evaluation process.

Shimere has been part of the Northwestern Memorial Hospital team since 2018, previously working in the Emergency Department and Cardiology. Her extensive clinical background includes more than 12 years working with diverse populations, including children, homeless individuals and patients with chronic illness — giving Shimere a unique ability to connect with a variety of patients and families. Her knowledge, experience and resources help Shimere educate and provide services to families in the African American Transplant Access Program.

Frequently Asked Questions

Get answers to common questions regarding AATAP.

AATAP Working Towards Health Equity

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Northwestern Medicine AATAP founder Dr. Dinee Simpson strives to create access to equal care for liver, kidney disease, which disproportionately affect Black Americans.

Dr. Simpson talks about her reasons for founding AATAP

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Kidney Transplant Surgery – Inside the OR
Kidney Transplant Surgery – Inside the OR

Perfect match: Daughter donates kidney to her mother with diabetes

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Linda Humphrey-Morgan received a kidney donated by her daughter, who desperately wanted to see her mother survive diabetes.