End of Year Message from AOPO President Barry Massa
With 2022 coming to a close, I wanted to take this opportunity to say “thank you” to all of our OPO members and their staff for helping us to make big strides toward saving more lives.
We are ending this year on a high note with the recent launch of our new AOPO Foundation. Its purpose is to provide research funding for organ donation and transplantation. New technologies and processes are key to meeting our goal of 50K organ transplants in 2026. This mission continues to be our beacon, and AOPO’s leadership and your collaboration throughout 2022 have moved us closer to that goal. I am proud to share some highlights with you.
Our initiatives focused on our core pillars of data sharing, advocacy, and improvement. In that spirit, we developed an OPO IMPACT Program of community experts to evaluate an OPO’s operations within all departments and provide a peer guide for improvements based on data-driven results. With CMS’s new policies on the horizon, this data will help OPOs to boost their rankings and facilitate more organ transplants. And thanks to the release of the NASEM report, we have a clear roadmap of recommendations for all system partners – donor hospitals, OPOs, transplant centers, CMS, and UNOS – to help create a more efficient and equitable organ donation and transplantation system.
This year, we identified diverse leadership growth as an important component of organ equity. AOPO administered a DEI assessment tool for OPOs to determine areas of opportunity to raise awareness and foster DEI within their organizations. We also hosted a Leadership Development Summit for emerging OPO leaders to gain valuable insights into leading an OPO and serving diverse populations. Additionally, we collaborated with historically black college and university (HBCU) medical schools to develop pilot programs to support continued public outreach and education in communities of color and to encourage Black health professionals to pursue careers in organ donation and transplantation.
Shifting to the legislative front, this year, we hosted two Advocacy Days for our OPO members to speak with their legislators on Capitol Hill regarding important issues impacting OPOs and patients. We know that face-to-face communication is important in our effort to educate Members of Congress about the organ donation and transplantation system. And that effort has paid off, with a number of Members backing our efforts for change. On the regulatory side, we have met with CMS staff and submitted comments on numerous policy initiatives to share our perspectives as the national voice of OPOs.
In closing, I wish you and your families happy holidays and a merry new year. I’m proud of our accomplishments from 2022 and look forward to our work together in 2023. Thank you for making a difference and for saving lives every day.