Donor Network West and San Francisco Announce Partnership to Bring Organ and Tissue Donation Education to High Schools

Donor Network West and San Francisco Announce Partnership to Bring Organ and Tissue Donation Education to High Schools

Press Release from Donor Network West

(San Ramon, CA) April 19, 2017 - Donor Network West, the organ procurement organization that heals lives through organ and tissue donation in northern California and Nevada, and the City of San Francisco are announcing a new community health education partnership to bring organ and tissue donation education to high school students. The initiative, backed by Mayor Ed Lee and implemented by the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) and the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD), will be announced at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital on April 21st during National Donate Life Month.

There are 22,000 awaiting a life-saving transplant in California, of which 7,800 wait at one of three San Francisco Transplant Centers.

Classroom conversations brought home spark discussions, and in this case save lives. The launch of this initiative highlights San Francisco’s commitment to building a culture of donation. At the same time, it meets the shared goal of all partners to encourage conversations within our diverse and multicultural families and communities.

“Knowledge is where change begins and where culture shifts start, and our youth play a big part in this. The collaborative effort between the City, the Department of Public Health, the School District and Donor Network West is made that much stronger by this shared vision,” says Cindy Siljestrom, CEO of Donor Network West. As part of the initiative, Donor Network West will collaborate with the SFDPH to provide Health Education and Professional Development Teams with resources to begin implementing organ and tissue donation information into programming for high school health and science classes. They will also provide in-service education to SFUSD Safety and Wellness staff. Additionally, high schools will receive organ and tissue donation education materials for posting in school Wellness Centers, reaching 60% of students. The educational initiative will also extend beyond high schools to reach the city’s diverse community health clinics.

“By joining forces with San Francisco schools and Donor Network West, we can improve education and awareness about the importance of organ and tissue donation,” said Barbara Garcia, San Francisco Director of Health. “We know that disparities in organ transplantation particularly affect Asians, African Americans, Latinos and American Indians. Reaching the youth in those communities is an important step to increasing donations that save lives.”

In celebration of the initiative launch, and in honor of National Blue and Green Day during National Donate Life Month, the iconic City Hall building in San Francisco will light up in blue and green on April 21 as a symbol of the city’s support of organ, eye and tissue donation. Transplant recipients, donor families, hospital partners and community members are invited to witness the moment of lighting around sunset.

One organ donor can save the lives of up to eight people and a tissue donor can heal more than 75 others. Anyone can register as a donor at or at the DMV.

About Donor Network West

Donor Network West saves and heals lives by facilitating organ and tissue recovery for transplantation. The organization was established in 1987, and is an official Donate Life organization accredited by the Association of Organ Procurement Organizations (AOPO) and the American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB). Federally designated to serve 40 counties in northern California and Nevada, Donor Network West partners with the Department of Motor Vehicles and the state-authorized donor registries. For information, visit, follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook.

Tiffany Trueman
About SF Department of Public Health

The mission of the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) is to protect and promote the health of all San Franciscans. SFDPH strives to achieve its mission through the work of two main Divisions – the San Francisco Health Network and the Population Health Division. The San Francisco Health Network is the City's only complete system of care and has locations throughout the City, including Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center, Laguna Honda Hospital and Rehabilitation Center, and more than 15 primary care health centers. With a broad community focus, the ultimate goal of the Population Health Division is to ensure that San Franciscans have optimal health and wellness at every stage of life. To achieve this, the Division is comprised of branches dedicated to core public health services, such as health protection and promotion, disease and injury prevention, disaster preparedness and response, and environmental health services.

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