Recipient Transplant Team

The Augusta University Health Kidney and Pancreas Transplant Program staffs a dedicated team of transplant surgical and medical specialists.

Practice Site Leaders

The Kidney and Pancreas Transplant Program physicians and staff are committed to making your health care experience convenient and problem-free.

Please contact any of the leaders below if you need assistance before, during or after your visit with us. Simply call 706-721-2888.


Constance Blankenship, MSN, FACHE, CNMT
Constance Blankenship, MSM, FACHE, CNMT
Practice Site Manager


A Transplant Surgeon will perform your kidney or kidney/pancreas transplant surgery. The surgeon will work jointly with the transplant nephrologist to oversee your care during your hospital stay.  The transplant surgeon will also oversee your pre-transplant evaluation.

Dr. Todd Merchen is the program director and joined the program in 2007. He completed his transplant surgery training at the University of Cincinnati and was director of the kidney transplant program in Spokane, Washington prior to coming to Augusta University Health. In addition to kidney and pancreas transplantation, he specializes in laparoscopic nephrectomy, hepatobiliary surgery, and vascular access.

Todd Merchen MD
Dr. M. Irfan Saeed joined the program in February 2016. His transplant surgery training was completed at Baylor University and he most recently served on the transplant team at Hackensack University Medical Center. [No photo available]

A Transplant Nephrologist will work with the surgeon to oversee your medical care during your hospital stay following transplant.  After discharge, the nephrologist will provide follow-up care in the Post-Transplant Medicine Clinic. The Augusta University Health transplant nephrologist will also ensure that you continue to see your primary nephrologist, so you can receive much of your follow-up care in your local community and have easy access to a knowledgeable physician at home when problems arise.

Dr. Carlos Zayas joined the Augusta University Health Transplant Program in 2013. He performed his transplant residency and fellowship at Emory University and previously served as medical director for the abdominal transplant program for Piedmont Healthcare. He is the associate program director and medical director of the program.

Dr. Carlos Zayas

Dr. Laura Mulloy completed her training at Augusta University Health in 1989 and is currently the assistant director of transplant nephrology and chief of the Section of Nephrology, Hypertension and Transplant Medicine in the Department of Medicine.

Dr. Laura Mulloy

Dr. Rajan Kapoor joined the program in 2014.  He completed his transplant nephrology fellowship from Augusta University in 2014 and his nephrology fellowship from Westchester Medical Center, New York Medical College in 2013.

Dr. Luis Ortiz came to Augusta University Health in 2002 after completing his pediatric nephrology training at the UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. Dr. Ortiz is chief of the Section of Pediatric Nephrology in the Department of Pediatrics.

Dr. Luis Ortiz

Physician Assistants and Nurse Practitioners

Physician Assistants (PA-C) and Nurse Practitioners (NP) practice medicine under the supervision of a licensed physician. During your pre-transplant evaluation visit, the physician assistant or nurse practitioner will perform a complete medical history and physical exam. Following transplant, the physician assistant or nurse practitioner will work closely with the transplant nephrologists to provide follow-up care in the adult post-transplant clinic.

R. Scott Smith, FNP-C joined the transplant program in September 2010. He is a BSN graduate of the Medical College of Georgia and MSN/FNP graduate of University of Alabama at Birmingham. Scott is currently FNP-C board certified.

R. Scott Smith, FNP-C

Amy Cohan, NP-C joined the transplant program in 2011 after completing a post-masters adult nurse practitioner program at Armstrong Atlantic State University. She received her Masters in cardiovascular nursing from University of Washington and has worked in a variety of medical, surgical and critical care settings as a staff nurse, clinical researcher and educator. While teaching at the University of Pennsylvania, Amy gained extensive experience with heart, lung, and kidney transplant patients.

Amy Cohan, NP-C
Hailey Brockman, NP joined the transplant program in 2015. [No photo available]

Transplant Coordinators

A Pre-Transplant Coordinator is a specially-trained registered nurse who will coordinate work-up activities related to your evaluation as well as help you stay ready for transplant while waiting for a kidney or kidney/pancreas. The Pre-Transplant Coordinator will also serve as a liaison between you and the rest of the transplant team.

A Post-Transplant Coordinator is a specially-trained registered nurse who works closely with transplant nephrologists to provide follow-up care in the adult post-transplant clinic.

A Satellite Clinic Transplant Coordinator is a specially-trained registered nurse who works closely with the satellite clinic nurse practitioner and physicians during your evaluation day visit or post-transplant follow-up appointment.


A Pharmacist will help you understand the role, dosages, and side effects of medicines you will be taking after transplant. Additionally, the MAP pharmacist can connect you with resources to help offset the cost of medicines.

Social Workers

A Social Worker will meet with you during the evaluation visit to discuss and help plan for social issues that may arise once you are transplanted, such as accessibility to healthcare, family support, and financial resources.  After transplant, a social worker can connect you with resources such as transportation and medication assistance, as well as facilitate your transition back to work.

Financial Coordinators

A Transplant Financial Coordinator will assess your medical insurance coverage prior to evaluation and assist with financial planning for your surgery and post-transplant medications.

Administrative Professionals

An Administrative Professional will contact you to schedule your pre-transplant orientation and evaluation appointments as well as assist the post-transplant coordinators with your follow-up care.