The Quest of a Quality Systems Specialist to Balance Science and Service

Published January 12, 2024 in Blog

Learning about science and the human body has always fascinated Kim. “I initially thought I was going to be a doctor,” she laughed. Kim pursued cellular molecular biology and earned a research degree. 

In her first role with the American Red Cross, Kim got the chance to dive into quality control, which she really enjoyed because it gave her the chance to consistently learn about new things. After working for the Red Cross for seven years, a coworker suggested she check into a position with Mid-America Transplant. 

“I didn’t have a previous connection to organ and tissue donation, but I knew I’d get the chance to learn more about the human body through Mid-America Transplant,” she said. 

Now as a senior quality system specialist, Kim works to make sure every process at Mid-America adheres to regulatory standards and guidelines. “I help to maintain a quality-centered culture,” she said. “Finding new and better ways to do that as the organization grows is what keeps me there.” 

Kim is wearing a blue button up blouse, tan jacket, and has a pin in the shape of a gold leaf.

After 13 years working for Mid-America Transplant, Kim says she loves that her role gets to touch every department within the organization. “I’m probably one of the few people who actually gets to do that. Quality is integrated into everything we do so I get to meet and talk with everyone to learn about their processes. I love knowing so many different aspects of what we do.” 

Given continuous improvement has been such a top value for the organization (Mid-America Transplant won the Baldrige Award for the second time in 2021), the ability to find and identify trends has helped Kim’s role evolve. “Being detail-oriented and paying attention to data to ensure things are always correct has really helped me grow,” she added. 

And although quality control isn’t a role that is on the front lines of the life-saving mission, Kim says it’s like the glue that holds everything together. “No one really wants to be the bad guy and identify problem areas,” she said. “But seeing things work more effectively and efficiently always pays off when it comes to helping more families. And that makes me feel good.” 


Another thing that Kim enjoys is being able to influence how her community views organ and tissue donation. “I am a Black woman. There are a lot of misconceptions about being a donor, especially in my community. Organ and tissue donation is often seen as being very taboo,” she said. 

And it was the opportunity to help shift that conversation that inspired Kim to look into the role within Mid-America Transplant. “One of the things that stood out to me was I could reach out to the Black community and get the word out about organ, eye, and tissue donation,” she explained. “Because my job is more behind the scenes, volunteer opportunities are when I get to talk with families one-on-one.”

At the end of the day, the opportunity to help families and give back to her community is why Kim has spent more than a decade dedicated to organ and tissue donation. “Being of service to families is so important,” she said. “There are so many things you can do at Mid-America Transplant. The people who are here the longest are like me who really enjoy volunteering and being a part of people’s lives at such a vital time. If someone is that kind of person, I would definitely say they should come to Mid-America Transplant.”   


If you feel a calling toward organ, eye, and tissue donation, consider joining an organization committed to a lifesaving mission and find a rewarding career with Mid-America Transplant. View our current job openings