Contact: Sandra Remey
Phone: 301-467-9024

AOPO Announces 50,000 Organ Transplants by 2026 Campaign that Focuses on Improving System and Saving More Lives

McLean, VA., (February 18, 2021) – Today, the Association of Organ Procurement Organizations (AOPO) announced a groundbreaking effort to reach 50,000 organ transplants annually by 2026. The goal represents a 50% increase over current annual figures and it sets AOPO on the path to complement and exceed the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services’ (CMS) expectation of 41,000 annual transplants during the same time period. This would amount to an additional 22% more organs transplanted beyond the CMS final rule benchmark set forth earlier this year.

“Fifty thousand organ transplants mean many loved ones will have a chance of living better, longer lives. We recognize that organ procurement organizations (OPOs) are a vital component of a larger system and true success comes from OPOs, donor hospitals, transplant programs, and other stakeholders working together toward this common goal of increased organ transplants,” says Joe Ferreira, AOPO President. “We believe the four initiatives we have outlined will challenge our members, as well as other stakeholders, to collaboratively improve overall system performance which makes the goal of 50,000 organ transplants annually very achievable. The four initiatives would seek to expand collaboration, reduce health inequities, maximize organ utilization, and drive innovation, which will lead to our ultimate goal of saving more lives.”

AOPO, an association representing organ procurement organizations, leads the nation’s organ donation community and is committed to eliminating the waiting list for life-saving organ transplants. AOPO’s four campaign initiatives include:

Expand Collaboration

  • Work together as dedicated partners within the OPO community to transfer knowledge and learn successful practices to achieve shared goals.
  • Use data shared within the OPO community to identify areas for individual OPOs to improve their operations to ensure every donation opportunity is maximized.
  • Develop, in conjunction with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), a Learning Collaborative focused on improving donation authorization, organ utilization, organ allocation, and the use of modern technology throughout the donation process.

Reduce Health Inequity

  • Make health equity an OPO priority.
  • Use the recommendations from the AOPO Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Task Force to guide donation and transplant professionals to achieve fairness, equity, and transparency in deceased donor organ procurement, allocation, and distribution.
  • Enhance and expand OPO cultural and implicit bias training.
  • Develop data-driven policies and support research to advance health equity in organ donation and transplantation.
  • Partner with the Association for Multicultural Affairs in Transplantation (AMAT) and other stakeholders to develop national outreach efforts for communities of color to encourage organ donation and to address concerns with organ donation and the healthcare system.

Maximize Organ Utilization

  • Advocate for regulatory and financial reforms designed to increase utilization of organs from older and more complex donors.
  • Educate stakeholders on regulatory and financial reforms designed to increase utilization of organs from older and more complex donors.
  • Align OPO and transplant performance measures to maximize utilization of organs by transplant programs that incorporate organ offer acceptance rates and increased transplants.
  • Provide public transparency and accountability for organ utilization by all collaborators of the system.

Drive Innovation

  • Partner with donor hospitals to implement electronic referrals systemwide to ensure timely identification of every opportunity for donation.
  • Drive utilization of existing innovations in organ perfusion and advocate for investment in new technologies to increase the quality of organs made available for transplant and expand the utilization of organs from all types of donors.
  • Support new research to improve donation rates and transplant outcomes, focusing on increasing the number of donations after cardiac death (DCD) donors and the utilization of organs from this donor type.

“AOPO is committed to improving the organ donation and transplantation process to optimize every opportunity to pursue, recover, and transplant organs,” says Steve Miller, AOPO CEO. “By taking these steps to improve the system, we are honoring donors and donor families who made the selfless gift to donate and ensuring those waiting for a life-saving transplant receive organs as soon as possible.”

AOPO will regularly share updates and milestones about the 50,000 Organ Transplants by 2026 Campaign.  For more details, see the full report.


AOPO is the non-profit organization recognized as the national representative of the 57 federally designated OPOs responsible for facilitating the organ, eye, and tissue donation process. AOPO leads the nation’s organ donation community through innovation, advocacy, and education to pursue the day when every donation opportunity results in lives saved.