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7 Quick Questions: Meet Kidney Doctor Alden Doyle

meet UVA doctors in Charlottesville, VA through our 7 Quick Questions series
kidney doctor alden doyle
Kidney doctor Alden Doyle, MD, directs UVA’s Kidney and Pancreas transplant Program.

Ever wonder what your doctor or health provider does outside the exam room? Our 7 Quick Questions series gives you a personal glimpse into the people of UVA.

Alden Doyle, MD, is a kidney doctor and medical director of the Kidney and Pancreas Transplant Program at UVA.

1. Why did you become a doctor?

It seemed interesting. I liked first aid as a Boy Scout, and it seemed like a way to take a little bit of science and push it into a field, like my parents’ Peace Corps background. 

2. Why did you choose your specialty?

I initially chose nephrology because it was complicated. I do transplant because my public health interest was in tropical medicine, so I spent a lot of time in international sites. At the time, tropical medicine was at the forefront of really new, interesting immunology ideas. When I married that kind of interest in immunology with nephrology — that equaled the transplant.

3. What is your favorite thing about Charlottesville?

Everyone seems happy to meet us. People are friendly, and they’re happy that we’re here.

4. Where did you grow up?

I grew up in different countries when my parents were in the Peace Corps, and then settled in the Chicagoland area.

5. What’s the most exciting thing/research happening in your field right now?

There’s a lot of national interest in transplantation, and that’s driven different positive things: It’s driven the HOPE Act, which President Obama signed in 2013 that allows for HIV-to-HIV transplant; it’s allowed for increased donor awareness; it’s allowed for a lot of national interest in the press about transplant. So, there’s kind of a buzz to transplant right now, which I think that’s going to be important for us, because of the restructuring of laws and regulations and the increased interest in donation.

6. Who is your inspiration or hero? 

Theodore Roosevelt. He was able to work within the system to exact great changes, fundamental changes.

7. What’s your favorite thing about working at UVA?

I get to work in a place with a lot of smart people who have a lot of institutional interest in making transplant great here, which is nice.

View Transcript

My name's Alden Doyle. I'm the medical director for the kidney and pancreas transplant programs here at UVA. I had the realization while in medical school in Guatemala that in order to make a huge difference you had to not only be able to diagnose and treat people, but you had to change the way that healthcare was delivered.

Transplant is special because you have a varied population of patients who know what it's like to be sick, sometimes almost mortally sick, and you can make them better in a durable way.

Patients should choose UVA because they have a combination of experience. They've been at the transplant game for years and years since the 60's. The size, they do over 100 kidneys a year. The outcomes, they're consistently better than national standards. And, mostly because it's a patient oriented program and people care.

Patients uniformly tell us when they come to visit from other centers is that the thing that they remembered is that the staff, the nurses, and the physicians cared about them and took good care of them, personalized care of them.

I like the science part, I like the academic part, and the teaching part, but nothing brings me back to clinic like the actual face-to-face patient care. I've had patients sometimes for 15 or 16 years. I watch them go from sick to well, watch them grow up, go to school, have kids, do things that they wanted to do in life. That's a wonderful thing.

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