OPO Closes Annual Meeting Focused on Steps to Achieve 50K Organ Transplants; Presents Plan to Improve Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Organ Donation

McLean, VA., (July 9, 2021) – The Association of Organ Procurement Organizations (AOPO) wrapped up its Annual Meeting with closing remarks from its new President Jan Finn, RN, MSN, President/CEO, Midwest Transplant Network. The theme this year, 50k by 2026: Continuing the Journey, was intertwined throughout the program and presentations. As the organ procurement organization (OPO) community comes together to reach 50,000 organ transplants annually by 2026, Finn emphasized the association’s commitment to collaborative improvement to increase donation and maximize transplantation.  She addressed the OPO community in a closing plenary to share her vision for AOPO and its members, expressing the importance of unity to best serve donors and donor families, and ensure more people on the waitlist receive organ transplants.

Finn talked about the alignment of the campaign with AOPO’s mission to lead the nation’s organ donation community to save more lives.  AOPO and its members will work with key stakeholders toward a collective vision to pursue the day when every donation opportunity results in lives saved by implementing a series of initiatives:

  1. Expand collaboration across the AOPO membership and among all stakeholders.
  2. Reduce health inequities to improve accessibility of organ transplants in minority communities.
  3. Maximize organ utilization by transplant programs.
  4. Drive innovation and research to increase donation and maximize transplantation.

“Reaching this goal will necessitate focused performance improvement in all aspects of organ donation and transplantation, from the early interaction of caregivers with donors and donor families to the transplant and care for patients receiving the gift of donation,” says Finn. “Especially important will be to increase the number of donation-after-circulatory-death (DCD) donors and the utilization of organs from these donors.  We support the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services new metrics and focus on performance improvement. AOPO is committed to advancing enhanced systems to achieve the aim of increasing transplantation.

Key to achieving this goal will be implementing results of the AOPO Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Task Force that were presented at the meeting.  This task force was charged with:

  • Defining diversity, equity, and inclusion for AOPO and its membership.
  • Developing recommendations for how AOPO can raise awareness of and foster diversity, equity, and inclusion within the OPO community.
  • Developing recommendations on how AOPO can instill diversity, equity, and inclusion on an ongoing basis within its programs and services.
  • Developing metrics by which AOPO and OPOs can gauge progress toward improving diversity, equity, and inclusion within the membership.

Over the course of the last six months, the task force met to identify DEI gaps within AOPO and its membership, and establish targets and recommendations the donation community should act upon now and in the coming years. The DEI Task Force members identified the following areas for improvement and formed subcommittees to research, develop and recommend measurable actions incorporated into the final report:

  • Assessment and Evaluation
  • Communications
  • Human Resources
  • Programming
  • Training and Development

The Task Force recommendations include having AOPO and all OPOs adopt a DEI pledge, committing to a baseline assessment of AOPO and each OPO, and forming a permanent DEI Committee of AOPO to expand upon and continue the work of the DEI Task Force. This represents the beginning of a process to address long standing disparities and to align AOPO and OPOs to better represent and serve diverse communities. See details in the Executive Summary.

“Thanks to the work of our DEI Task Force AOPO is positioned to spearhead this important work,” says Steve Miller, AOPO CEO. “This is the first step in an important journey, that we look forward to leading, as we strive to be more inclusive and better represent the communities we serve while saving more lives.”

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AOPO is saving and improving lives through organ, eye, and tissue donation, leading the nation’s OPO community through innovation, advocacy, and education. AOPO advances organ donation and transplantation by driving continual improvement, collaborating with stakeholders, and sharing successful practices to save more lives.