Jackson Health System to Debut Its Documentary “Transplanting Through a Pandemic: How the Miami Transplant Institute Stood Up to COVID-19” During Virtual Screening Premiere

Documentary Showcases MTI, Recently Named Nation’s Top Transplant Center for Second Consecutive Year


Despite unprecedented challenges in one of the areas most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Miami Transplant Institute, an affiliation between Jackson Health System and UHealth – University of Miami Health System, has maintained the nation’s top position as the leading volume transplant center for the second consecutive year.

According to data released by the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network/United Network for Organ Sharing (OPTN/UNOS), MTI rose above the challenges to be the number one transplant center in the U.S. – with no other transplant center performing more organ transplant procedures than MTI.

MTI performed 721 transplants in 2020, down only slightly from the 747 transplants performed the year before. The center’s individual organ programs led in multiple areas in 2020 including:

  • The kidney program continues to be the largest in the country with 489 transplants performed.
  • The adult intestine, liver, pancreas and pancreas programs each ranked among the top ten.
  • The pediatric intestine program tied for first in volume.
  • The pediatric kidney and liver programs each ranked among the top ten, and MTI returned to the top ten for overall pediatric volume.

To celebrate this accomplishment, Jackson invites you to the virtual premiere of a short documentary titled, Transplanting Through a Pandemic: How the Miami Transplant Institute Stood Up to COVID-19, on Thursday, February 18 at noon.

The documentary will give viewers a behind-the-scenes look at the complex logistics, cutting-edge medicine, and compassionate care that were tested as never before, allowing MTI to protect its patients and healthcare workers while still providing their essential life-saving care. Cameras captured the team as they flew on short-notice to procure organs for a rare multivisceral transplant and rushed back to Miami to save a child’s life, and as is the story of transplantation, bring a story of healing from out of tragedy.

The documentary, produced by Jackson’s Communications and Outreach Department and shot over the period of several months during the pandemic, features adult and pediatric patients, who were directly involved in the transplantation process and affected by COVID-19. The world-class care provided to MTI patients is made possible by a multidisciplinary team of surgeons, physicians, nurses, social workers, dietitians, pharmacists, operating room, intensive care unit, inpatient, and other support staff, and this documentary was created to tell their heroic stories.

After the world premiere, media will also have an opportunity for a live Q&A with representatives from MTI, Jackson leadership, and patients featured in the documentary who will offer a special thank you to the medical teams and organ donor families that saved their lives.

One organ donor can save eight lives – and it is because of these donors and their families that the MTI team is able to perform this lifesaving work for patients. At MTI, patients also benefit by gaining access to the newest, most advanced, most effective treatments and procedures powered by research done by UHealth and grounded by the award-winning care provided at Jackson Memorial Hospital, one of the largest public teaching hospitals in the country.

For a sneak peek before Thursday’s exclusive screening, watch the documentary’s trailer here.


Carlos A. Migoya, president and CEO, Jackson Health System; Luke Preczewski, vice president, Miami Transplant Institute; Rodrigo Vianna, MD, PhD, director, Miami Transplant Institute and chief of liver, intestinal, and multivisceral transplant; Giselle Guerra, MD, medical director, Miami Transplant Institute and medical director of kidney transplant and living kidney donor programs; Jennifer Garcia, MD, medical director, pediatric transplant, intestinal transplant, and intestinal rehabilitation programs; Elijah Marrow, multiorgan recipient; Mikayla Matthews, Elijah’s mother; Manuel Ubieta, kidney recipient, COVID-19 survivor, and City of Doral police officer; Ana Paula Morán Vélez; pediatric intestinal transplant recipient; Manuel Fernando Morán and Ana Vélez, Ana’s parents.


Noon to 1 p.m., Thursday, February 18


You will be able to access the premiere via Zoom this Thursday: https://bit.ly/37oNgwj


Spanish speakers available; images of family or soundbites available upon request.

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Media Contact

Tania Leets

Media Relations Outreach

The Media Relations & Outreach team works with local, national and international print and broadcast media and other external audiences to showcase Jackson’s physicians, staff, research and medical services. The team also works reactively, responding to media inquiries on a variety of medical-related issues.

For more information, contact our media team:
Media Relations & Outreach
Alamo Building, 2nd Floor
1611 N.W. 12th Avenue
Miami, FL 33136
305-585-7200 (fax)