We are fresh out of the AOPO Annual Meeting where our theme was 50K by 2026: Continuing the Journey. We discussed AOPO’s commitment to reaching 50 thousand organ transplants by 2026 and how we will accomplish this through systemwide collaboration to increase donation and maximize transplantation. As part of that commitment, we also unveiled our plan to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion in organ donation, as well as within AOPO and the OPO community.

Reaching our 50K goal will necessitate focused performance improvement in all aspects of organ donation and transplantation, from intentional community education and outreach to the early interaction of caregivers with donors and donor families to the transplant and care for patients receiving the gift of donation. Especially important 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. This is the first step in an important journey that we look forward to leading as we strive to achieve an equitable and inclusive culture throughout the entire donation and transplantation community. By recognizing and improving DEI, our community will save more lives.

Steve Miller, MBA, CAE

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