New AOPO Initiatives will Advance Diversity in OPOs and Cultivate Future Leaders

Earlier today, we announced several key initiatives aimed at increasing diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in the Organ Procurement Organization (OPO) community. All of these efforts are part of AOPO’s 50K organ transplants in 2026 campaign that is designed to reduce health inequities experienced throughout the organ donation and transplantation process.

Diversity Equity and Inclusion Survey

This month, we are launching a new survey to assess DEI within our membership, aiming to help OPOs raise awareness and foster DEI within their organizations. The survey focuses on organizational improvements, as well as individual staff engagement with DEI at varying leadership levels. Topics will cover types of trainings, educational needs, and other target areas.

Through the assessment, we can identify disparities between OPO staff and leadership and the communities they serve. This information will help create an inclusive and equitable culture throughout the OPO community, promoting more fairness within the diverse communities we serve and resulting in more lives saved. In addition, findings from the assessment will help guide AOPO’s DEI Committee and determine its next steps to provide OPOs with resources to improve DEI.

AOPO Leadership Development Summit

In addition to the DEI survey, AOPO is moving forward with our plan to increase diversity within leadership in the OPO community by launching the first Leadership Development Summit, which will take place on October 18-20, 2022, in Richmond, Virginia.

The Leadership Development Summit is an educational program designed to develop future leaders and increase diversity among senior leaders in OPOs. Reaching our transplant goals means we need to provide opportunities for new and up-and-coming leaders to help improve the organ transplantation system, ensuring that transplants and donations reflect our nation’s diverse makeup.

The Summit will be structured around six core competencies: operations, board governance, finance, human resources, clinical, and stakeholder engagement. The courses will be taught by current leaders and outside experts, and the Summit will include networking opportunities to allow emerging leaders to informally learn from peers.

OPOs are encouraged to sponsor the attendance of these future leaders. View the program agenda for more details and to register.

Collaboration with Historically Black Colleges and Universities

AOPO’s Leadership Development Summit also supports the goals of the Consortium of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), of which Meharry Medical College, Howard University, and Morehouse School of Medicine are members. These HBCUs, along with AOPO and the Organ Donation Advocacy Group, aim to create new opportunities for Black health professionals to better understand donation and transplantation by enabling them to shadow professionals at OPOs and transplant centers.

The collaboration will also help initiate pilot programs to inspire interest in associated careers for middle school students and increase continuity of care to draw attention to donation in multi-ethnic communities. Once these pilot projects are completed, the goal is to replicate the programs at other universities.

These initiatives are examples of what we can accomplish by collaborating with our members and partners to develop unique opportunities to increase organ transplant equity and organ donations from multicultural communities. These next steps will lead to more lives saved.

Steve Miller, MBA, CAE

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