Elisa J. Gordon, PhD, MPH

Professor of Surgery
Department of Surgery
Director of Surgical Outcomes Research
Section of Surgical Sciences
Director of Transplant Outcomes Research
Vanderbilt Transplant Center

Dr. Gordon joined our surgical faculty in the Department of Surgery, as Professor, after a professorship at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, IL. Dr. Gordon’s research focuses on bioethics, health disparities, and health services and outcomes research in organ transplantation and donation, leveraging qualitative methods and implementation science. She specializes in developing and evaluating patient-centered educational and culturally targeted decision aids and interventions that optimize informed treatment decisions and reduce health disparities.

Dr. Gordon’s primary focus of research aims to reduce health disparities among Hispanic/Latinx and Black/African American patients, particularly kidney and liver transplant candidates and living donor candidates. Amongst her more than 170 peer-reviewed publications, recent articles include: Financial Impact of a Culturally Sensitive Hispanic Kidney Transplant Program on Increasing Living Donation, Transplantation 2022. Additional publications include: Information Needs and Development of a Question Prompt Sheet for Upper Extremity Vascularized Composite Allotransplantation: A Mixed Methods Study, Frontiers in Psychology 2022, and The Ethics of Donation After Circulatory Death Organ Recovery: An Overview of New Considerations Arising From Procurement Practice and Policy Changes, Current Opinion in Organ Transplantation 2022.

Dr. Gordon has been awarded numerous grants from the National Institutes of Health, serving as Principal Investigator on clinical trials related to ethical issues in living kidney donation, genetic testing, and increased risk donor organs in transplantation. Her additional grants focus on surgical innovations including xenotransplantation. Through Department of Defense funding, Dr. Gordon created Within Reach, a culturally targeted, neutral website about the option of hand/upper arm transplantation.

Dr. Gordon was a member of the National Academies of Sciences’ Committee on A Fairer and More Equitable, Cost-Effective, and Transparent System of Donor Organ Procurement, Allocation, and Distribution, which published the report, Realizing the Promise of Equity in the Organ Transplantation System, 2022.

Dr. Gordon is a member of the American Society of Transplantation, the American Society of Bioethics and Humanities, and the Health Equity Advisory Board of End-Stage Renal Disease, ESRD National Coordinating Center. She has been awarded the 2022 American Association of Kidney Patients Medal of Excellence in the transplant professional category and the 2021 Distinguished Senior Career Award from the American Society of Transplantation. She was an Honoree of the 31st Annual Gift of Life Award from the National Kidney Foundation of Illinois and has been recognized as a World Expert in Patient Education by Expertscape.

Dr. Gordon earned a bachelor of arts degree at the University of California, Santa Cruz, CA. She received her master of arts and doctor of philosophy degrees in Medical Anthropology from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH. She completed her post-doctoral fellowship in Clinical Medical Ethics at the University of Chicago and a master of public health at the University of Illinois, both in Chicago, IL.

Department of Surgery
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Medical Center North, D-4314
1161 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37232-2730
Phone: (708) 646-7973