Cassie C. Kennedy, M.D., investigates ways to optimize solid organ transplant recipients' survival and quality of life via pretransplant interventions for patients and their caregivers. Dr. Kennedy studies new and established risk factors important to patients undergoing lung transplants. This includes research on frailty, obesity, psychosocial and emotional patient factors.
Dr. Kennedy's goals are to identify effective interventions to address or eliminate pretransplant risk factors, thereby improving transplant outcomes and candidate selection. Current approaches include use of health coaches for transplant candidates and their caregivers and tele-rehab for transplant candidates.
- Self-management. Dr. Kennedy is studying health coaching interventions to improve self-management and quality of life in transplant candidates awaiting lung or heart-lung transplantation.
- Transplant caregiver well-being. Dr. Kennedy is studying health coaching interventions to improve well-being and stress of thoracic transplant candidates' caregivers.
- Frailty. Dr. Kennedy is identifying objective measures of frailty in patients. Specifically, she is studying the impact of frailty on transplant outcomes and exploring interventions targeted at improving frailty parameters.
- Obesity and body composition. Dr. Kennedy is working to improve knowledge regarding the impact of obesity and body composition — such as low muscle mass or high abdominal fat — on transplant outcomes.
- Psychological risks. Dr. Kennedy is studying how psychological measures, comorbidities or prior traumatic events affect transplant outcomes.
- Patients' emotional traits. Dr. Kennedy is learning how certain traits — such as attitude or coping — affect the pretransplant experience and how to best help patients during the pretransplant time.
- Vascularized composite allotransplantation (VCA) transplant. Dr. Kennedy is collaborating with a multidisciplinary team to determine the factors potential candidates and their caregivers use to choose VCA transplant over other surgical and medical therapies.
Significance to patient care
Currently, lung transplant outcomes are suboptimal internationally, with a median survival of approximately 5.7 years after transplant. In addition, there is a national shortage of organ donors, with approximately 1,700 patients awaiting transplantation at any given time.
Dr. Kennedy's work to further define risk factors for poor outcomes assists in improving patient care by providing clinicians with objective measures for use in transplant candidate selection. These objective measures include providing essential prognostic information for patients and clinicians and identifying intervention targets to improve patients' chances of transplant listing and achieving optimal transplant outcomes.
- American College of Chest Physicians (CHEST)
- Board of regents, 2022-present
- Chair, Council of Networks, 2022-present
- Distinguished Educator, 2021, 2020
- Early Career Clinician Educator, 2019
- Chair, Transplant Network Steering Committee, 2012-2016
- Fellow designee, 2011
- Continuing medical education editorial board, CHEST journal, 2022-present
- Director, Advanced Lung Disease and Lung Transplant Fellowship, Mayo Clinic, 2022-present
- Chair, Lung Transplant Convergence Workgroup, Transplant Specialty Council Practice Committee, Mayo Clinic, 2021-present
- Kern Health Care Delivery Scholars Program, Mayo Clinic
- Clinical program director, 2021-present
- Health Care Delivery Scholar, 2015-2017
- Medical director of lung transplantation, William J. von Liebig Center for Transplantation and Clinical Regeneration, Mayo Clinic, 2021-present
- Editorial board, Innovation, Quality and Outcomes, Mayo Clinic Proceedings, Mayo Clinic, 2018-present
- Academy of Educational Excellence, Mayo Clinic
- Legacy member, Teaching Track of Excellence, 2021
- Associate member, Education Administration and Leadership Track of Excellence, 2019
- Fellow designee, American Society of Transplantation, 2019
- Transplant Scholarly Physician Award, Transplant Center, Mayo Clinic, 2012-2013