Heart Transplant
Our Staff

Meet Our Staff

In addition to the care patients receive from their physicians, a broad team of professionals dedicated to each heart transplant's success supports, treats, and counsels every patient. Members of the heart transplant staff play a key role in supporting patients through the transplant process.

Heart transplantation is a complex procedure. Our nurses and coordinators are with you every step of the way. Before and after transplant, patients and their families receive continuous support to help make the changes they need, while adjusting to a new life.

Nurse managers

Heather Packard, RN, BSN
Heart transplant and mechanical circulatory support (MCS) program
Heather arrived at Stanford in March of 2013. Heather graduated from the University of Michigan School of Nursing in 2000. Heather comes to the Stanford heart transplant and MCS program to serve as the nurse manager of both programs. She brings with her a passion for transplant that she has had for over 10 years. Heather has previous experience as a nursing supervisor in two large transplant programs - the University of Michigan & Mayo Clinic Arizona. Heather's focus is on the daily operations of both programs in order to assure patient safety, quality oversight, program development, and growth of the Heart Transplant and MCS Programs.

Patient care coordinators

Patient care coordinators arrange evaluation appointments, medical studies, and consultations. They track test results performed outside of Stanford and manage medication refill requests. They work closely with the nurse coordinators and physicians to support patients after their heart transplant.

Ashley Ward, 650-723-7695

Val Cannon

Pre-transplant patient care coordinators

The pre-transplant coordinator manages tests, procedures, and medical appointments during the evaluation period and continues to coordinate care while patients are on the transplant waiting list.

Val Cannon, 650-723-5468

Pre-transplant nurse coordinators

Pre-transplant Nurses

Transplant nurse practitioners are advanced practice nurses who work in conjunction with cardiologists and surgeons to provide patients with the best clinical care possible.

Post-transplant nurse coordinators

Specially trained nurse coordinators work closely with all members of the transplant team to coordinate care throughout the entire transplant process. These nurses also provide extensive education and support to patients and their family members.

Lisa Guertin, MS, NP
VAD nurse practitioner & program coordinator

Lisa Guertin began working in healthcare in 1996, she received her BSN in 2000 from the University of Massachusetts. Lisa has worked several institutions across the country including Boston, Miami, and San Francisco with a nursing focus on critical care. Lisa became interested and passionate about transplant and switched gears working at the California Transplant Donor Network. In 2010, Lisa graduated from the Acute Care Nurse Practitioner program at the University of California, San Francisco. She currently works with ventricular assist devices and heart transplant patients as a nurse practitioner and coordinator.

Kathy Town

Kathy Town, RN, 650-723-3633
Kathy has been a registered nurse for 32 years. Kathy graduated from Evergreen Valley College in 1980 and later completed her BSN in 1996 through the Statewide Nursing Consortium-Cal State Dominguez Hills. Kathy has worked in the intensive care units, worked as a nursing supervisor on the medical surgical units and finally in 1996, worked as an advanced heart failure nurse and transplant coordinator. Kathy worked for Kaiser Hospitals and Clinics 1980 until 2008. Kathy has been working as a transplant coordinator at Stanford Hospital & Clinics since 2008. Kathy's past accomplishments include research RN for multiple heart failure studies, attaining certification as a clinical transplant coordinator, member of nursing coordinator council and magnet representative for heart transplant service line. When not at work, Kathy loves reading, scrapbooking, cross stitching and spending time with her four children.

Gabby Oro, RN
Gabby has worked with acute care transplant patients for several years before joining the Transplant Program. She attended OHSU for her BSN, and SFSU to obtain her masters in nursing. She coordinates the pre-transplant population as well pre-VAD patients. You may see her in post-transplant clinic occasionally assisting in the continuum of care of our post-transplant patients. She is fluent in Portuguese and Spanish.

Dietician & diabetes educators

Dieticians provide nutritional counseling and education to patients and their families, and often work closely with diabetes educators. Our Transplant Diabetes Program is a national and local award-winning program that addresses diabetes through a multidisciplinary approach.


Pharmacists review and monitor patient's medications and provide detailed medication education and training to patients and their families prior to discharge from the hospital.

Roy Lee, Pharm.D., BCPS

Roy Lee, Pharm.D., BCPS, 650-721-6707
Roy received his undergraduate degree in molecular, cell & developmental biology from the University of California, Los Angeles and his doctor of pharmacy degree from the University of California, San Diego. He completed his residency at Stanford Hospital & Clinics in 2010 and currently works as the heart, lung & heart-lung transplant pharmacist. On his free time, he likes to travel, try new culinary delights, and spend time with friends and family.

Research nurse coordinators

Research nurse coordinators screen, educate, and gain informed consent from heart transplant candidates and recipients who are eligible and willing to participate in clinical research studies.

Helen Luikart, RN, MSN, CCRC

Helen Luikart, RN, MSN, CCRC, 650-724-2883
Helen has been a practicing registered nurse for 29years. She received her BSN at the University of Louisiana in Lafayette, her MSN at theUniversity of California, San Francisco, and is a certified clinical research coordinator. She has worked at Stanford University and Stanford Hospital & clinics for over 22 years. She began as a clinical transplant coordinator for the adult and pediatric heart and lung transplant program in 1989. Ten years ago, she transitioned to the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine as a clinical research coordinator for the heart transplant program. Today, she is a heart transplant research manager for several clinical trials. Helen is married, has two teenage sons, and enjoys many outdoor activities and traveling.

Social workers

Transplant social workers conduct a formal psychosocial evaluation as part of the evaluation process for transplant candidacy. They assist with relocation and adjustment issues before and after transplant and also provide ongoing support, counseling and referral services as needed to patients and their families.

Cathy Miller, LCSW, 650-723-5581
Cathy comes to Stanford's heart transplant & VAD programs with over 20 years of clinical social work experience. Cathy received her master's degree in social work in 1983 from San Diego State University, and her California license in clinical social work (LCSW) in 1987. She has extensive experience in a variety of specialty areas including adult kidney, liver and heart transplant and pediatric bone marrow transplant.

Melissa Calnon, MSW, 650-723-5581
Melissa completed both her undergraduate and graduate education at Arizona State University obtaining her master's degree in social work in 2009. Prior to joining the Stanford team, she gained experience in a number of areas of medical social work including adult and pediatric liver transplant.

Transplant financial coordinators

Financial coordinators work closely with patients and insurance companies to obtain benefit information for the transplant process. They also serve as a resource to patients and their family members for transplant-related insurance and financial issues. Transplant financial coordinators can help answer all the questions you may have about paying for your heart transplant.

Debbie Mast, 650-725-5238
Suzanne Tegio, 650-498-6334

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