Quarterly Update from Kevin Myer - October 2015

LifeGift is evolving at a rapid pace as we find more ways to offer hope to our community – for those waiting for transplants, those receiving transplants and those who make it happen. These are exciting times as we work hard to improve the availability of organs and tissue for transplantation, medical therapy, education and research. Of course, all of this happens because of the generosity of donors and donor families who turn tragedy into hopes and dreams for recipients.

Since my last quarterly update, we have experienced both challenges and tremendous successes. Currently, our biggest challenge is our organ donor authorization rates. Currently, they are lower than we expect and we are working hard to improve hospital processes and the way in which we obtain authorization to increases the “Yesses.” 

We believe donation is more than an option; rather, it is an opportunity to give life. My personal hope is that one day the culture of donation shifts to the concept of obligation. To help with this, we have engaged the best-in-class training professionals from Effective Arts to help us improve our authorization rates. This group will work with us throughout 2016, using trained human actors and simulation to help us be more effective requestors, while serving families in crisis with compassion and professionalism.

Our tremendous successes in dramatically increasing tissue donation and recovery throughout 2015 are helping serve the community via our tissue recovery partners with more transplantable cardiovascular tissue, bone grafts, sports medicine grafts and many other types of tissue used right here every day in Texas.

We have also begun construction on our new addition to the Houston office building that will provide brand new, desperately needed training areas, and a critically needed communication center. The Communication Center for Donation (CCD) will provide a beautiful space with sophisticated technology for our people to handle the 150,000+ calls per year we receive, many of which are conversations about donation with family members experiencing tragic loss of their loved one. Offering hope begins in the CCD where compassionate conversations happen that help families make the decision to donate lifesaving tissue for transplant and critically important research projects. 

We are also beginning plans to build a new office facility in the Fort Worth area to combine our organ and tissue staff in the same office. The facility will provide two to three operative suites to facilitate tissue recovery as we provide in Houston. 

As you can see, we are making great progress in helping more people by offering hope through organ, eye and tissue donation. We are investing in our people with training and improved facilities, and we are expanding our impact into areas such as regenerative medicine and other areas on the leading edge of health care. 

We are confident that we will improve our authorization rates and increase the organs available for transplantation. We are confident that we will continue to increase tissue donation and we are excited about our new building and the vastly improved Communication Center for Donation.

The Donate Life Texas Registry continues to climb with nearly 7.9 million Texans registered. In September, the donation and transplantation community achieved a significant milestone with the launch of the Donate Life America National Registry. This centralized portal will offer more Americans the opportunity to register as lifesaving donors and will couple all of the tremendous work happening at the state level. 

Thanks to our Executive Leadership Team, our dedicated staff, our Ambassadors of Hope, our Board of Directors, our Advisory Board and Medical Advisory Committee for steering LifeGift into the growing, vibrant and passionate organization that it is becoming. We are making progress and I look forward to our continued future successes as we wrap up 2015! 

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