eye and tissue donors who save and heal lives.
DLL team members include Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency (LOPA), the Louisiana Hospital Association (LHA), the Office of Motor Vehicles (OMV), the National Kidney Foundation, Legacy Donor Foundation, Baton Rouge Regional Eye Bank, Southern Eye Bank, Louisiana Lion’s Eye Bank and Ochsner Medical Center.
“It is great to be recognized for our registry efforts,” said Kirsten Heintz, Director of Public Relations & Education for LOPA. “The true reward is knowing we are honoring the donor’s wishes and helping others receive a second chance at life.”
States receiving medals reached the top tier in at least three of five key categories:
• 50 percent or more of all state residents age 18 and older registered as donors
• 40 percent or more organ donors, eye donors and tissue donors registered at their time of death
• 50 percent or greater Donor Designation rate, which is the rate at which individuals join the registry expressed as a percentage of licensed drivers of ID card holders.
Gold medals reflect achievement in all five areas, silver in four areas and bronze in three, all for the year 2011.
“The Office of Motor Vehicles is in a position to interact with more potential donors than any other organization in Louisiana,” said Gwen Dunware, administrator of the OMV. “Because of that, we can effectuate the goal of LOPA and DLL by making the registration process very easy. We are proud to be a part of these great organizations that have the potential to impact the lives of so many people here in Louisiana and around the country.”
DLL ended 2011 with a 56 percent donor designation rate, with 58 percent of 18 or older residents registered, and with 52 percent of organ and tissue donors registered.
The DLL state team was formed in 2006, and each member is active in educational programs and awareness campaigns to reach individuals throughout the state.
“The LHA and LOPA launched a hospital donor registry drive campaign a few years ago that was so successful it became the national model,” said John Matessino, LHA president and
CEO. “Hospitals have used their reach and resources to educate and register employees and community members. This is truly a significant accomplishment, since lives are being saved.”
Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming received gold medals.
Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri,
North Carolina, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wisconsin received silver, while bronze medals went to Delaware, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Virginia.
“One of the challenges the eye banks across the state faced was educating the public that joining the Louisiana Donor Registry covered them for organ, tissue and eye donation,” said William Buras, executive director of Southern Eye Bank. “The DLL team committed to changing the language on all educational information to include information about corneal donation, so I feel confident we will get the gold medal next year.”
Awards were presented last month at Donate Life America’s National State Team Leader Meeting in Grapevine, Texas.
“It was an honor to accept the award on behalf of our team and celebrate the work we have done to increase the Louisiana Donor Registry,” said Kirsten Heintz, who serves as the state team leader for Louisiana. “We know as long as there are still people waiting for a lifesaving transplant, our work is not done, and we are already planning efforts to encourage more Louisiana residents to join the registry.”
About Donate Life America
Founded in 1992, Donate Life America is a not-for-profit alliance of national organizations and state teams across the United States, driving individuals, organizations and communities to increase the number of designated organ, eye and tissue donors who save and heal lives with a
vision of a nation that embraces organ, eye and tissue donation as a fundamental human responsibility.
For more information, visit www.donatelife.net.
About Donate Life Louisiana
Donate Life Louisiana (DLL) is a statewide alliance of organizations, committed to increasing the number of registered organ, tissue and eye donors through educational programs and awareness campaigns. A complete list of organizations and additional information is available at