Reflecting on a Year of Collaboration and Progress: Advancing Organ Donation and Transplantation Together

As we approach the end of another remarkable year, the Association of Organ Procurement Organizations (AOPO) is filled with gratitude and pride as we reflect on the collective achievements of the OPO community of more lives saved through organ donation and transplantation. Our members’ and partners’ unwavering dedication and collaborative spirit have been the driving force behind the strides we’ve made in 2023.

AOPO’s Goal: 50,000 Annual Organ Transplants in 2026

This year, we witnessed significant milestones in organ donation and transplantation. And looking ahead, AOPO remains steadfast in its commitment to advancing system performance. Our ambitious goal to achieve 50,000 annual organ transplants in 2026 is a testament to our determination to save even more lives. Through continued collaboration and the pursuit of excellence, this goal is attainable and within reach. Our primary focus centers around three pillars of progress: improvement, data-sharing, and advocacy.

Improvement: Collaboration has enabled us to identify, refine, and improve organ donation processes. From efficient donor identification to swift organ recovery, our shared commitment to advancement has optimized the entire donation pathway, ensuring that more organs reach those in need. Over the past year, the AOPO IMPACT Program has pioneered a framework for successful OPO practice sharing, guiding operational changes to enhance outcomes. Additionally, AOPO offered ongoing educational opportunities, including virtual AOPOedu webinars and in-person conferences such as the Annual Meeting, Directors Workshop, Leadership Development Summit, and Financial Management Meeting, that supported continual knowledge sharing among donation stakeholders.

Data-Sharing: Embracing data-sharing has been a cornerstone of our initiatives. By improving data analytics for performance assessment, OPOs can more effectively benchmark their success compared to other OPOs with similar service areas. In 2023, AOPO launched our UNION (Unified OPO National) data project to facilitate quality improvement and research through data-sharing and analysis to increase donation and transplantation rates. The Data Committee also introduced a new system to predict OPO ranking status under the CMS rule, offering OPOs insights into their standing before official data is available.

Advocacy: AOPO and our members are actively engaged in advocacy efforts to address regulatory challenges and enhance the legislative landscape surrounding organ donation. We are working toward improved coordination of system stakeholders, resulting in increased transplant rates. In 2023, our focus included prioritizing areas such as maximizing organ utilization, advancing organ transportation, ensuring revisions to the Uniform Determination of Death Act (UDDA) did not negatively impact donation, and implementing the new CMS OPO performance metrics.

Strategic Collaborations for National Outreach

Our focus on strategic collaborations has resulted in innovative national outreach initiatives. Through educational campaigns, media partnerships, and community engagement, we have worked together to dispel organ donation myths and promote a culture of informed decision-making. In 2023, we established new partnerships with the Student Organ Donation Advocates to engage student populations in advocating for organ donation and the National Black Nurses Association (NBNA) to communicate the importance of donation in communities of color. Furthermore, we supported the HBCU-OPO pilot programs, which developed initiatives to educate underserved communities about organ donation and provided opportunities for medical students to shadow the organ donation process, contributing to efforts to diversify the future workforce in the field and increase the number of registered organ donors.

Expressing Gratitude: A Collective Mission

As we bid farewell to 2023, let us take a moment to express our deepest gratitude to each and every member of the AOPO community. Your dedication, innovation, and collaboration has been the unrelenting power behind our collective success. Together, we have significantly impacted the lives of donor families, as well as transplant recipients and their families.

Looking forward, let us continue to build on the momentum of 2023. With unwavering commitment and collaborative spirit, we are confident that we will not only meet but exceed our goals, bringing us closer to a future where the gift of life through organ transplantation is accessible to all in need.

Wishing everyone a joyful holiday season and a New Year filled with hope, collaboration, and saving lives.


Colleen McCarthy
AOPO President
Vice President of Organ & Tissue Donation
Versiti Wisconsin

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