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Press Releases

June 21, 2012 New York Organ Donor Network Commends NY State Legislature On Passage Of Lauren's Law"
May 01, 2012 Facebook to Dramatically Help Increase Number of Registered Organ Donors
April 13, 2012 Online Organ Donor Registration in New York State - NY1 Conducts Interviews at New York International Auto Show
April 12, 2012 New Jersey Sharing Network and New York Organ Donor Network Celebrate National Donate Life Month by Ringing NASDAQ's Opening Bell
April 10, 2012 Using MyDMV, New Yorkers Can Now Enroll Online to Be Organ Donors
April 02, 2012 NATIONAL DONATE LIFE MONTH 2012: New York Faces Longer Waiting Times On Transplant Waiting List
January 09, 2012 Donate Life America's Campaign to Register 20 Million New Organ Donors in 2012
December 05, 2011 KATELYN'S HEADING TO CALIFORNIA! Donor Network Video Contest Winner Is Announced
November 23, 2011 Public Voting Starts Today for Online Video Contest
August 01, 2011 New York Organ Donor Network Appoints Helen Irving, RN, MBA, President and CEO
July 29, 2011 State Health Commissioner Announces New State-Federal-Local Partnership to Increase Number of New Yorkers Who Sign Up on State’s Organ and Tissue Donor Registry
June 17, 2011 Donor Network CEO Elaine Berg Awarded Excellence in Leadership
May 21, 2011 Family of Organ Donor Julio Garcia Meets Five Transplant Recipients Whose Lives Were Saved
April 02, 2011 NATIONAL DONATE LIFE MONTH: Groundbreaking Campaign to Increase Organ Donation Enrollment
February 03, 2011 African-American Transplant Surgeon’s Contributions Inspire Support for Black History Month Donor Registry Drive
January 11, 2011 New York Organ Donor Network Names Two Executive Hires: James Pardes Is Vice President of Marketing and Communications; Helen Christensen Directs Clinical Services
November 24, 2010 Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of the Catholic Church in New York, and a National Leader, Says that Organ Donation Is a Powerful Way for Individuals to Show Love of Others
October 18, 2010 During National Donor Sabbath, New York Organ Donor Network Urges All Religious Leaders to Make Miracles Happen
September 14, 2010 HISPANIC HERITAGE MONTH: Transplant Recipients of Latino Descent Hope Their Close Calls Will Inspire Donor Registry Enrollments
August 17, 2010 Suffolk County’s EMS Partners With the New York Organ Donor Network
July 27, 2010 New York Organ Donor Network Aims to Increase Organ Donor Registry Enrollments on August 1, National Minority Awareness Day
July 08, 2010 New York Organ Donor Network Applauds Governor Paterson's Signing of Electronic Signature Act
June 09, 2010 New York Organ Donor Network Launches a New Advertising Campaign

 

 

New York Organ Donor Network Commends NY State Legislature On Passage Of Lauren's Law"

Legislation to Encourage Organ Donation and Transplantation in NY

New York, NY - June 21, 2012: - The New York Organ Donor Network, the nonprofit dedicated to the recovery of organs and tissue for transplant in the greater New York metropolitan area, today applauded the New York State Legislature’s passage of “Lauren’s Law,” a bill to increase organ donation by expanding the donor options on driver’s license application.

Under this new measure, New Yorkers who are applying for, or renewing, a driver’s license or non-driver’s license ID will be required to respond to the organ donor enrollment question.  New Yorkers can either select “yes” to enroll as an organ donor on the New York State Donate Life Registry or “skip this question.”  Currently, the organ donor enrollment question is optional.

“We commend the tremendous efforts of the New York State Legislature to pass this life-saving legislation,” said Helen Irving, President and CEO of the New York Organ Donor Network. “New Yorkers overwhelmingly support organ donation.  Yet, just 19% of eligible New Yorkers are registered organ donors.  The process that Lauren’s Law puts in place will help correct this disparity, and will increase the likelihood of New York achieving its full potential to save lives through organ donation and transplantation.”

The bill, sponsored by Senator David Carlucci (D-Rockland, Orange) and Assemblyman Felix Ortiz (D-Brooklyn), is named for Lauren Shields, a twelve year old girl from Stony Point, NY.  Lauren received a life-saving heart transplant at only nine years old.  Since that time, Lauren and her mother, Jeanne, have been advocates for the bill that will ultimately increase the number of New Yorkers registering to be organ donor and therefore increase the number of life-saving transplant that occur in New York each year.

Today, more than 114,000 people in the United States are waiting for organ transplants. The need for increased organ donation enrollment is particularly critical in New York State where nearly 10,000 New Yorkers are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant waitlist. In New York, someone dies every 15 hours waiting for an organ transplant.  Yet, only 19% of eligible New Yorkers (age 18 and older) are enrolled on the New York State Donor Registry (compared to the national state average of 43%).   

About the New York Organ Donor Network: The New York Organ Donor Network is the nonprofit, federally designated organ procurement organization (OPO) for the greater New York Metropolitan area. Established in 1978, the Donor Network is the second largest OPO in the United States, serving a culturally and ethnically diverse population of 13 million people. Working closely with transplant centers and hospitals, we coordinate organ, tissue and eye donation for transplant in the New York region; educate the public and health care professionals about donation and transplantation; promote the importance of signing up on the New York State Donate Life Registry. We work closely with 10 transplant centers, more than 90 hospitals, and various tissue and eye banks. The Donor Network is accredited by the Association of Organ Procurement Organizations (AOPO) and a member of the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), which oversees the organ transplant waiting list in the U.S.

To register to be an organ donor in New York, please visit www.SaveLivesNewYork.org.

 

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Facebook to Dramatically Help Increase Number of Registered Organ Donors

Richmond, May 1, 2012 - Donate Life America, the national organization dedicated to increasing the number of registered organ, eye and tissue donors that save and heal lives, today announced a major initiative with Facebook.Facebook launched an upgrade to its timeline structure, which asks users to check their organ donor status and directs them to Donate Life America's National Registration Page --allowing them to designate a donation decision if they have not done so already.

In an exclusive interview with ABC News'Robin Roberts on Good Morning America this morning, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg announced the new initiative and became one of the first Facebook users to sign up to donate on the social network.

Tonight Facebook's COO and one of America's most powerful businesswomen Sheryl Sandberg will sit down exclusively with Diane Sawyer. ABC News affiliates, ABC News Radio, Yahoo! and ABCNews.com will also feature coverage of the exciting new initiative. ESPN will be running two powerful organ donation stories throughout the day on SportsCenter that encourage organ and tissue donation.

"We can't thank Facebook enough for the organization's commitment to helping save lives by encouraging Americans to register as organ, eye and tissue donors. We are also grateful to ABC and ESPN for their dedication to this cause and for sharing this opportunity with their viewers. Thousands of lives will be saved or healed as a result of this initiative," said David Fleming, President and CEO of Donate Life America. "We want to encourage every Facebook user to take a moment and update their timeline, register to be a donor, and share their decision with family and friends. It is a simple way to provide hope for those in need."

The partnership signifies a giant step for the organ, eye and tissue donation community, bringing major exposure to the need for more registered donors and leading the public to officially designate themselves as donors, providing hope to the over 114,000 men, women and children currently waiting for a lifesaving transplant. Thousands more await needed tissue or corneal transplants to resume normal lives or restore sight.

To find out more about Donate Life America or to register to be an organ, eye and tissue donor, visit  www.facebook.com/DonateLife. 

RELATED LINKS:

Facebook Post to share on your Facebook Timeline

Step by step guide to adding donor status on Facebook

Mark Zuckerberg's Interview

Mark Zuckerberg's Blog Post

All ABC Coverage on the Initiative

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/01/technology/facebook-urges-members-to-add-organ-donor-status.html

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Online Organ Donor Registration in New York State - NY1 Conducts Interviews at New York International Auto Show

 

New York, NY - April 13, 2012: On Tuesday this week, a press conference took place in Albany, NY, announcing that New Yorkers can now sign the state's organ donor registry online by logging onto the MyDMV website.

Just days later, NY1 was invited to interview the leadership of New York State's health and motor vehicles departments, as well as the top executive at the New York Organ Donor Network.

Being able to enroll online utilizing electronic signatures is a major breakthrough for organ donation in New York.

More than 113,000 people in the United States are awaiting organ transplants, and many will wait years before receiving life-saving organs. Tragically, an average of 18 people will die each day because of the shortage of organ donors.

Here in the New York metro area, more than 8,000 people need organ transplants. And more than 6,300 of them are on the waiting list for kidneys.

WATCH THE VIDEO: KAFI DREXEL'S REPORT ON NY1

 

AT THE NEW YORK INTERNATIONAL AUTO SHOW: From left to right -- Sue Kelly, Executive Deputy Commissioner, New York State Department of Health; Barbara Fiala, Commissioner, New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, and Helen Irving, CEO and President of the New York Organ Donor Network. They were celebrating the launch of ONLINE enrollment on New York's organ donor registry. For the first time, secure electronic signatures are allowing New Yorkers to become instant organ donors. Vist MyDMV today to sign up at https://my.dmv.ny.gov/crm/.

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New Jersey Sharing Network and New York Organ Donor Network Celebrate National Donate Life Month by Ringing NASDAQ's Opening Bell

 

New York, NY, April 12, 2012: We were there as they counted down to the opening of the NASDAQ  in  Times Square!

This morning, the New Jersey Sharing Network and New York Organ Donor Network visited the NASDAQ MarketSite in celebration of April as National Donate Life Month. Read all about it.

WATCH THE VIDEO

 

New York Organ Donor Networks President and CEO Helen Irving (front), and Jessica Melore, a heart recipient who is also the Senior Manager, Education and Partnerships at the New Jersey Sharing Network, ring the opening bell at the NASDAQ.

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Using MyDMV, New Yorkers Can Now Enroll Online to Be Organ Donors

 

Albany, NY, April 10, 2012 - The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and State Health Department (DOH) today announced that New Yorkers can now easily enroll in the State's Organ and Tissue Donor Registry online through MyDMV.

The announcement was made in conjunction with Governor Andrew M. Cuomo designating April as "Donate Life Month" in New York State to honor organ donors, organ procurement agencies, and eye and tissue banks whose efforts are saving lives. A media event was held at the State Museum in Albany to unveil the new system and encourage people to register as organ donors.

This new service will reduce barriers to potential donors and increase life saving transplants. Currently, more than 2.7 million New Yorkers are registered as organ donors, but that number represents only 18 percent of the possible donors in the state. The national average is 42 percent.

"The need is great," said DMV Commissioner Barbara J. Fiala. "More than 113,000 people in the United States are waiting for organ transplants, including almost 10,000 New Yorkers. Every day, an average of 18 people die while waiting for organ transplants in the U.S., and every 10 minutes another name is added to the waiting list. Each month, more than 40,000 generous New Yorkers sign up as organ donors through DMV. But to meet the need, we must do better."

"Organ donation is truly lifesaving," said State Health Commissioner Nirav R. Shah, M.D., M.P.H. "One person who donates organs can save up to eight lives while a tissue donor can improve 50 more lives by restoring eyesight, helping fight infection in burn patients, and preventing the loss of arms or legs. Thanks to Governor Cuomo and a renewed collaboration among state agencies and stakeholders, we have created an online option that takes just a few minutes to complete, but will significantly impact the thousands of New Yorkers who are waiting for an organ donation."

The State has also released a Request for Proposals (RFP) to select a vendor organization to assume the administration and operation of the New York State Donor Life Registry. The vendor would lead a public-private partnership to expand the organ donor base through greater marketing and program efficiencies. The MyDMV system will be a core component of future operations.

MyDMV, launched by the Department of Motor Vehicles last September, provides DMV customers with secure access to a variety of online services. A MyDMV account requires you to enter personal identification information that DMV can use to verify your identity to create a single, secure username and password. In addition to registering to be an organ donor, the benefits provided with a MyDMV account include changing your address, signing-up for registration and inspection renewal reminders and obtaining a copy of your driving record.

The New York State Organ and Tissue Donor Registry, or Donate Life Registry, is a confidential, computerized system that maintains a list of an individual's consent to donate his/her organs upon death. Under State law, the registry can only be accessed to determine an individual's donation status after death and only by a federally approved organ procurement organization or licensed eye and tissue bank. Enrolling to be an organ donor will not affect one's medical care and/or funeral arrangements, and there is no cost to the donor's family. Anyone over age 18 can sign up to be a potential organ donor, regardless of their medical history.

During the online sign-up process, prospective donors will be required to provide basic information found on their license or non-driver ID including date of birth, zip code, and last four digits of the Social Security number. Procedures and controls built into this process ensure the authenticity, integrity, security and confidentiality.

Organs for life-saving transplants include heart, liver, kidneys, lungs, pancreas, and small intestine. Examples of tissues that could save or enhance someone's life include eyes and corneas, heart valves, bones, and skin grafts. Organs and tissues are distributed fairly and equitably based on medical criteria. Financial or celebrity status has no bearing on determining who receives a transplant.

Those who register through MyDMV do not need to print, sign and mail their registration application to the New York State Department of Health, which maintains the Donate Life Registry. Customers can still sign up by mail or at any DMV office. And, while most donors enroll through the DMV when they get or renew their driver licenses or non-driver ID cards, potential donors can sign up anytime.

A special registration table will be available at GNYADA'S New York International Auto Show at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City from Thursday, April 12 through Sunday, April 15. Staff and volunteers will be on hand to help people sign up to be organ donors.

In addition to enrolling through MyDMV, New Yorkers may also enroll by mailing in a registry enrollment form available on the DOH's Web site. Enrollment may also be facilitated by contacting a local organ procurement organization or tissue bank or by filling out a voter registration form.

The effort to increase the number of people who sign up to be organ donors has the support of several important groups that were also represented at the announcement including the New York State Association of County Clerks; the New York Alliance for Donation and the New York State Auto Dealers Association. Celeste Sierad, a Capital Region resident who received a life-saving liver transplant, also participated in the announcement.

Paul Piperato, Rockland County Clerk and President of the New York State Association of County Clerks said, "I am proud to represent New York State's 62 County Clerks who are advancing the Organ Donation Registry's efforts to save lives. I hope that other New York State residents will join us in this most worthwhile endeavor."

Victoria Adler, RN, Board Chair of the New York Alliance for Donation and Executive Director of the Lions Eye Bank at Albany said, "95 percent of people who enroll in the Registry do so through DMV. Governor Cuomo, Commissioner Fiala and Commissioner Shah are making a significant difference with coordinating their efforts to increase the number of enrollees by implementing the MyDMV portal. The membership of the New York Alliance for Donation is so thankful for the hard work that this administration, as well as so many others at the DMV and DOH have been doing to help increase donation rates."

Rob Certilman, Chair of The New York State Automobile Dealers Association said, "What is our purpose in living if not to ultimately help our friends and neighbors? We must donate life to others in desperate need when our organs can no longer be of use to us."

Celeste Sierad, a liver transplant recipient from the Capital Region said, "As a transplant recipient, I am thrilled that New York State and the DMV have made it easier for New Yorkers to register their decision to be an organ and tissue donor. Thirteen years ago, my life was saved because a young man decided to donate his organs when he received his first driver's license. I know that allowing New Yorkers to sign up to be a donor online will help save the lives of the thousands of people waiting for a life-saving transplant."

DMV also supports organ donation and transplant through the sale of "Life… Pass It On" custom license plates. Twenty dollars of the annual fee supports the "Life Pass It On Trust Fund," which funds organ donation and transplant research and educational programs promoting organ and tissue donation. The plate can be ordered in any DMV office, by calling the Custom Plates Office at 518-402-4838 or online at www.dmv.ny.gov.

To view Governor Cuomo's Proclamation designating April as "Donate Life Month" in New York State, visit http://www.governor.ny.gov/sl2/proclamationindex.

For more information on organ donation and how to enroll in the Donate Life Registry, please visit DMV's Web site at www.dmv.ny.gov or the DOH Web site at www.health.ny.gov/donatelife. The MyDMV application can be found at https://my.dmv.ny.gov/crm/..

The Department of Motor Vehicles Office of Communications can be reached at 518-473-7000 and the Department of Health's Communications Office can be reached at 518-474-7354, x1.

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NATIONAL DONATE LIFE MONTH 2012: New York Faces Longer Waiting Times On Transplant Waiting List

 

Major Effort to Increase Organ Donor Enrollments: New York Organ Donor Network Launches Unprecedented Campaign Including First-Time Partnership With Radio Stations Power 105 and Z100

New York, NY, April 2, 2012:  With New Yorkers facing longer wait times on organ transplant waiting list, the New York Organ Donor Network (NYODN) announced that it is launching an unprecedented campaign as part of their ongoing efforts to increase organ donor enrollments in New York in April during National Donate Life Month. The  month is set aside to raise awareness of organ donation and to honor those who have given the gift of life.   

Today, more than 10,000 New Yorkers are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant. Every 13 hours, a New Yorker will die waiting for an organ transplant.  Yet, only 18% of eligible New Yorkers (age 18 and older) are enrolled on the New York State Donor Registry (compared to the national state average of 43%).  

In an effort to close the significant gap in organ donor enrollments in New York State, NYODN will run a campaign to encourage New Yorkers to arm themselves with the facts, sign up on the New York State Donor Registry, and mobilize others to do the same.

“We are excited to announce this month-long campaign to educate the public about the critical need for organ donors, and, ultimately, to increase the number of New York residents enrolled to be organ donors,” said Helen Irving, the CEO and President of the New York Organ Donor Network. “We will make every effort to reach as many New Yorkers as possible through our unique programs and community events that highlight the fact that organ donation does save lives and that just one organ donor can save the lives of up to eight people.”

NYODN is partnering with Clear Channel radio stations Power 105 and Z100 for the first time to promote organ donation across multi-mediums including on-air radio announcements, social media, videos, contests, and prizes. On-air DJ personalities, Mo Bounce (Z100), and ProSyle (Power 105) will promote a contest that asks listeners to upload pictures of themselves supporting organ donation onto Facebook for a chance to win prizes.

"I'm beyond thrilled and happy to be one small part of the New York Organ Donor Network Campaign," said Mo Bouce of Z100. "Since April is National Donate Life Month, I think this is a great and easy way for every New Yorker to help. You don't need money. You and I can do our part by just being who we are: huge hearted New Yorkers.

"Being born and raised in Brooklyn, I know we have the biggest and strongest hearts on the planet. And ask yourself: Wouldn't you want someone to help save you or a family member? This is a win-win for every New Yorker!"

President Barak Obama recently issued a Presidential Proclamation for April Donate Life Month stating, “the need for donors is greater than ever.” As evidence of the federal, state and local government’s renewed focus to boost organ donor enrollments, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is stepping up their efforts to make their customers aware of the importance of organ donation. The NYODN is also launching an aggressive outreach campaign at 26 Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) locations in their jurisdiction. Currently, more than 95% of all enrollments on the New York State registry occur at the DMV. NYODN volunteers and staff will be stationed at DMVs most days during the month of April.  They will engage DMV customers to tell them their personal story of how organ donation has affected them positively, and encourage customers to make the choice to become an organ donor.

Several community events will occur over the course of Donate Life month as well.  They include the largest gathering of organ donors and recipients at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City on April 14th; walks and runs hosted by donor and recipient families on Long Island and other locations, and organ donor enrollment drives at several New York City area hospitals.

To register to be a donor, or to learn more about the New York Organ Donor Network's Donate Life Month activities, please visit www.SaveLivesNewYork.org.

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Donate Life America's Campaign to Register 20 Million New Organ Donors in 2012

RICHMOND, Va. – Jessica Melore’s 30th birthday was on january 4, a milestone birthday she did not always think she was going to have.  At only 16 years old Jessica received a sudden and lifesaving heart transplant.  Now, Jessica’s story of hope helps to launch Donate Life America’s bold new initiative, “20 Million in 2012.”

Donate Life America, the national organization promoting organ, eye and tissue donation in the United States, is launching this bold new initiative, “20 Million in 2012.” The initiative focuses on radically increasing the number of people registered on state donor registries.

This official launch of the campaign comes on the heels of its announcement during the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, CA, where every year since 2004 it has sponsored the Donate Life float. This year’s float again featured inspirational stories of organ donors and their families, a tradition that the “20 million in 2012” campaign will continue throughout 2012 as it features powerful stories of those affected by organ, eye and tissue donation.

“I am so proud to be part of Donate Life America’s “20 Million in 2012” campaign, as part of the I am HOPE storytelling project,” says Melore. “New Jersey is the first state to promote the 2012 stories of hope. Real life stories like mine can inspire people to sign up to be organ, eye and tissue donors.  These commitments to donation provide hope to the more than 112,000 men, women and children on the organ transplant waiting list, along with the hundreds of thousands more in need of cornea and tissue transplants.”

Additionally, the “20 Million in 2012” campaign will feature four national Donate Life events during 2012: the Donate Life Flash Mob on March 24th, Donate Life Blue and Green Virtual Fashion Show on April 20th, Donate Life Champions in Fall 2012 and Donate Life Linking Hands for Life all year long.

“In 2012 we are making a bold statement about our commitment to save more lives,” says David Fleming, President and CEO of Donate Life America. “With the majority of individuals in the United States wishing to be organ, eye and tissue donors, the biggest challenge to meeting our goal of 20 million will be getting people to take action and register today as an organ, eye and tissue donor at DonateLifeAmerica.org.”

For more information about the “20 Million in 2012” campaign or to register to be an organ, eye and tissue donor and join in this lifesaving work, visit www.DonateLifeAmerica.org.

Sign up now to be an organ donor in New York State!

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KATELYN'S HEADING TO CALIFORNIA! Donor Network Video Contest Winner Is Announced

New York, NY, November 5, 2011: The votes are in for the New York Organ Donor Network’s “Think You’re Hollywood?” online video contest. And the winner is Katelyn Wheeler and her video "Save a Life."

Katelyn beat out tough, creative competition, and the Donor Network acknowledged everyone for participating in this effort to promote organ donation.  The winner was chosen by the public from five finalists.

To celebrate the New Year, Katelyn and a friend will be heading out for a fun filled trip to California. The 6-day, 5-night trip will include airfare, lodging, guest passes to the Rose Parade and 2 tickets to the Rose Bowl.

One of the features of the parade is the Donate Life float that sends a message to millions that organ donation saves lives.

Click here to view Katelyn's winning entry.

For more information, contact Martin Woolf: mwoolf@nyodn.org; or call 646-291-4460.

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Public Voting Starts Today for Online Video Contest

The Public Is Invited to Vote for the Best Video That Promotes Organ Donation in New York

New York, NY – November 23, 2011: The New York Organ Donor Network announced today that voting has been opened to the public in its “Think You’re Hollywood?” online video contest.

Vote here.

The Donor Network said in a statement that the contest attracted a variety of creative entries.

"The five finalists have been chosen and, starting today, it’s time to vote for your favorite. We encourage the public to take a moment to vote for the video finalist they think is most impactful, the one that most powerfully promotes why New Yorkers should sign up to be organ donors."

Voting is open until December 2nd and the public is encouraged to invite their friends to vote.

The Donor Network added: "Visitors to our Facebook page can check back frequently as they're allowed to vote for up to three entries every day."

Vote here.

The contest was launched as a fun way to engage New Yorkers in the topic of organ donation and encourage viral spreading online of the message through audience-produced videos. 

The winner will receive a 6-day, 5-night trip to California including airfare, lodging, guest passes to the Rose Parade and 2 tickets to the Rose Bowl.

To vote, visit this Facebook page.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Contact Martin Woolf at mwoolf@nyodn.org.

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New York Organ Donor Network Appoints Helen Irving, RN, MBA, President and CEO

Elaine R. Berg Retires Following 12 Years Helming the Nation’s 2nd Largest Organ Recovery Organization


New York, NY, August 1, 2011: Peter Hutchings, chairman of the board of directors of the New York Organ Donor Network, today announced that following a national search the board has appointed Helen Irving, RN, MBA, to serve as its next president and CEO upon the retirement of current president and CEO, Elaine Berg.

Ms. Irving’s tenure begins on September 26, 2011.

In making this appointment, the board expressed its sincere gratitude for Ms. Berg's 12 years of strong and consistent leadership.

“Elaine has built a robust and stable organization, and we are fortunate that she will serve us through a successful transition in leadership,” said Mr. Hutchings.

Ms. Irving began her career as a critical care nurse and is returning to the New York Organ Donor Network family where, in 1993, she served as a transplant coordinator and was subsequently promoted to clinical manager. She was recruited to NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia Hospital as manager of transplant operations, and then to The Mount Sinai Medical Center as administrative director, managing the Transplant Institute and Dialysis.

Ms. Irving comes to the Donor Network after eight years of service to Mount Sinai, where she is currently vice president of hospital operations. In addition to many other areas, she oversees solid organ transplantation, dialysis, and bone marrow transplantation.

Ms. Irving, a native of England, has lived in New York for 17 years. She received her BS in Health Administration from St. Joseph’s College, and her MBA in Health Care Administration from Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey.

“We are thrilled that Helen Irving, with her significant clinical, administrative, and business expertise; varied donation and transplantation experience; and knowledge of healthcare in New York, is joining our family as our next leader,” said Ms. Berg. “It has been an honor and privilege to serve New York’s donation community for the past 12 years, in which we helped to save thousands of lives.”

Contact:              

Dave Falkenstein (Sunshine Sachs) 212-691-2800 

Julia Rivera (New York Organ Donor Network) 646-291-4456

Martin Woolf (New York Organ Donor Network) 646-291-4460

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State Health Commissioner Announces New State-Federal-Local Partnership to Increase Number of New Yorkers Who Sign Up on State’s Organ and Tissue Donor Registry


Cites Shortage of Organs and Tissues for New Yorkers Waiting for Transplants

 

The following press release was issued by the New York State Department of Health:


New York, NY, July 28, 2011: New York State Health Commissioner Nirav R. Shah, MD, MPH, today announced a new partnership effort to encourage more New Yorkers to "Give the Gift of Life" by signing up on the State's Organ and Tissue Donor Registry.

Joined by federal, state and local officials as well as transplant recipients and family members of donors at the Manhattan headquarters of the New York Organ Donor Network, Commissioner Shah noted that each year more than 1,200 New Yorkers receive organ transplants but more than 9,000 New Yorkers are on waiting lists.

Monday, August 1, is National Minority Donor Awareness Day to encourage greater donor enrollment among all racial and ethnic groups and highlight the acute need for organ transplants among minorities, who make up 50 percent of those on the national waiting lists.

"Residents of New York State make up approximately 10 percent of the entire national waiting list for organ transplants, and every day approximately 18 people die in this country waiting for a transplant," said Dr. Shah. "Currently 2.5 million New Yorkers are enrolled in the State's Donor Registry, but we know there are many more New Yorkers who would be willing to give the gift of life upon their deaths."

The New York State Organ and Tissue Donor Registry – called the Donate Life Registry – is a confidential, computerized registry that records an individual's consent to donate their organs and tissues upon their death. The listing can only be accessed at the time of death by a federally-approved organ procurement organization and licensed eye and tissue banks.

Dr. Shah announced that under new leadership in the State Health Department and the Governor's Office, the state is joining with its partners at the federal and local levels to strengthen and improve efforts to increase enrollment in the donor registry. Planned activities include efforts to create a system for online enrollment using a secure electronic signature.

Jaime Torres, Regional Director for the U.S. Department of health and Human Services (HHS), said: "Donation reminds us of how connected we are through blood, tissue and organs. People of all ages and ethnicities can save and enhance lives through organ, eye and tissue donation. HHS and health advocates across the country are observing National Minority Donor Awareness Day by calling attention to the need for organ, eye and tissue donors from minority populations."

Michelle Davis, HHS Regional Health Administrator, said: "Due to high rates of diabetes and high blood pressure, African Americans and other minorities require organ transplants at higher rates than that of other ethnic groups. By becoming a donor you can help decrease disparities within communities of color."

Barbara Fiala, Commissioner of the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, said: "The Department of Motor Vehicles is pleased to partner with the Department of Health and others gathered here today to help raise awareness throughout the state about the importance of organ donation. "Currently, the majority of New Yorkers who sign up on the Registry do so by signing the donation box on their driver's license or non-driver ID card application or renewal form. We will continue our efforts to remind the public that signing up is simple and could be lifesaving."

New York City Health Commissioner Thomas Farley said: "One of the greatest attributes of New York City is its diversity. However, many of our residents from minority groups suffer from illnesses that require organ transplants. This means there is a great need for organ donors, especially among our minority population. I encourage everyone who intends to be a donor to register. No matter what your skin color, the language you speak at home, or what country you were born in, register to be an organ donor today."

Kenneth Raske, President and CEO, Greater New York Hospital Association, said: "This critically important push to encourage organ donation could enable New York's world class hospital transplant departments and surgeons to help thousands more patients who desperately need organs. New York lags behind far too many states in terms of the number of available organs for transplanting, so we strongly urge more New Yorkers to consent to donate their organs."

Elaine Berg, President and CEO, New York Organ Donor Network, said: "On behalf of the New York Organ Donor Network and the New York State Alliance on Donation, I commend Commissioner Shah and other federal, state and city officials for partnering with the recovery organizations to address the shortage of organs for life saving organ transplant. We are at a critical time in the history of organ, eye and tissue donation. New Yorkers are proud and generous people. Together we can save more lives and prevent needless deaths."

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Contact: Diane Mathis
518 474 7354, ext.1
518 817 6198 (cell)
dmm10@health.state.ny.us

 

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Donor Network CEO Elaine Berg Awarded Excellence in Leadership

June 16, 2011: It was another proud moment for the New York Organ Donor Network.

At the Annual Meeting of the Association of Organ Procurement Organizations (AOPO) in Denver, Colorado this week, the Donor Network's president and CEO Elaine Berg was recognized by her peers when she received the Sallop/AOPO Excellence in Leadership Award.

The criteria for nominees: An individual employed by an OPO, demonstrating excellence in leadership through outstanding management achievements or innovative practices in the organ procurement field.

For more than a decade, Ms. Berg has led the New York Organ Donor Network, helping to transform organ donation and transplantation in the greater New York metropolitan area.

During that time, more than 2,700 deceased organ donors have given the gift of life, with more than 7,000 organs having been transplanted.

Before joining the Donor Network in November 1999, Ms. Berg was vice president of Community Health Systems for NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital.

Prior to that, she served as vice president and executive director of the Allen Pavilion in Manhattan, which is part of the NewYork-Presbyterian system.

For eight years, Ms. Berg was the executive vice president and CEO of the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary in New York City. She also held a series of positions at St. Luke's - Roosevelt Hospital Center, The Brooklyn Hospital Center, and Jacobi Hospital.

Ms. Berg has been an active leader on the boards of several organizations supporting organ, tissue and eye donation both locally and nationally, including the New York Alliance for Donation, Donate Life America and the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS).

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Family of Organ Donor Julio Garcia Meets Five Transplant Recipients Whose Lives Were Saved

New York, NY, May 20, 2011: When Julio Garcia died suddenly from a brain hemorrhage at the age of 38 in March 2010,
his organs saved seven people. He also donated his corneas.

Fourteen months later, on May 11, Julio's wife, her children and other family members, got to meet five recipients who received Julio's organs. One of them is a two-year-old boy.

As word gets out about the meeting in Manhattan, Elaine Berg, president and CEO of the New York Organ Donor Network, says she hopes the story that appeared in The New York Times on May 17 will make more New Yorkers realize there are not enough people like Julio Garcia and his family.

Ms. Berg says the emotional meeting between Julio's wife, Mirtala, and some of her husband's recipients, will hopefully inspire more New Yorkers to decide to become organ donors.

"Nearly 8,000 people need organ transplants in the greater New York metropolitan area," says Ms. Berg. "And yet last year, there were just 242 deceased organ donors in the region. Worse still, only 16 percent of New Yorkers have signed the state's organ donor registry, compared with an average of 40 percent nationwide."

Among the family members with Mirtala at the meeting were Julio's son Kevin Lemus, 18, as well as their children Jeffrey (11) and Brianna (5).

A highlight of the emotional meeting, where many tears were shed, was when Mirtala met Sebastiao Lourenco who received Julio's heart. They hugged for what felt like the longest time, and Mirtala placed her hand on Sebastiao's heart --- to feel Julio's heart still beating strongly.

Like Mirtala, Julio was born in Guatemala. Julio and Mirtala were married for 11 years. He was a craftsman and a carpenter. He also was a pastor at a church and loved to preach the Bible.

Another bittersweet meeting was when Mirtala met two-year-old Braylen Benitez who received a liver segment from Julio. Like any healthy kid his age, Braylen was eager to run around and explore the New York Organ Donor Network's conference room.

The other recipients in attendance were Edward Santos, a member of the Garcia's family church, who received a kidney; Thomas Ginz, Julio's lung recipient, and Jo Ann Laskaris, who received the right segment of Julio's liver.

Dr. Herbert Pardes, the president and CEO of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and NewYork-Presbyterian Healthcare System, addressed the attendees. Julio's donation and some of the transplants took place at hospitals led by Dr. Pardes. Representatives from Yale-New Haven Hospital and Mount Sinai Medical Center, where the other transplants took place, were also present.

The Donor Network's Elaine Berg, in summing up how she envisages the meeting will impact New Yorkers, said: "I hope that the generosity of Julio and the Garcia family will prompt everyone 18 and over to sign up on the New York State Donate Life Registry." Donor registry enrollment can be completed when individuals apply for or renew their driver's licenses at New York Department of Motor Vehicles offices, or on the New York Organ Donor Network's website.

Media: Contact Martin Woolf, 646-291-4460 or via e-mail: mwoolf@nyodn.org.

Read how The New York Times covered this story, and see the New York Organ Donor Network’s Photo Gallery.

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NATIONAL DONATE LIFE MONTH: Groundbreaking Campaign to Increase Organ Donation Enrollment

The New York Organ Donor Network Teams up with former NFL Superstar, WFAN’s Boomer Esiason and Actor Grizz Chapman of “30 Rock” for Donate Life Month

New York, NY, April 2, 2011: For National Donate Life Month, the New York Organ Donor Network is employing a groundbreaking campaign to increase organ donation registrations in the state and help relieve the state’s critical organ donor shortage.

The initiative features unprecedented activity at DMVs throughout the region, an enrollment contest amongst areas within the region, and is headlined by former NFL superstar, WFAN’s Boomer Esiason and “30 Rock” star Grizz Chapman.

Esiason and Chapman will serve as “captains” of the contest that challenges metro area residents to sign-up on the state donor registry at DMVs or at www.SaveLivesNewYork.org. Esiason, a longtime champion of organ donation will serve as captain of Manhattan and Long Island; Chapman, himself a kidney recipient, will lead the outer boroughs and northern counties.

“We’re thrilled to stand with Boomer and Grizz as we work toward our shared goal of saving more lives through donation,” said Elaine Berg, president and CEO of the New York Organ Donor Network. “Grizz and Boomer’s help will go a long way toward reducing the critical shortage of organ donors in New York.”

As part of the contest, organ recipients and families of organ donors will be on site at DMVs throughout the region to share their experiences with donation: Stories like that of double-lung recipient Andrea Eisenman Downey, who lived to walk down the aisle at her wedding in 2008; and stories like that of Regina Mirailh, whose son saved seven lives through donation after he was tragically killed in a 1999 car accident.

“I am alive today; I can keep making people laugh today because of the selfless generosity of a stranger who now is family. I thank God and my donor Ryan who saved my life, every day I say thank you,” said Chapman.

“I’ve long believed that giving the gift of life is the greatest act of charity one person can bestow on another,” said Esiason. “I’m proud to work with Grizz and the New York Organ Donor Network to help save lives.”

There are currently more than 110,000 people waiting for life-saving organs in the United States; 8,000 in the New York Metropolitan area alone. 18 die across the U.S. every day while waiting. Only 16 percent of eligible New Yorkers (age 18 and over) are enrolled on the state donor registry; the national average is nearly 40 percent. This campaign is born out of an effort to close that gap.

Among the DMV locations where recipients and donor families will be located are: Springfield Gardens, Hauppauge, Medford, Port Jefferson, Riverhead, Huntington, Garden City Massapequa, Bethpage in Long Island; College Point, Jamaica, Brooklyn, Coney Island, Harlem, Herald Square, Greenwich Street, Midtown in New York City and; West Haverstraw, Peekskill, White Plains, Yonkers in the Northern Counties.

New York Organ Donor Network: The Donor Network is the nonprofit federally designated organ procurement organization that serves an area of over 13 million people in Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, Long Island and Staten Island, Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland and Westchester and Pike County in Pennsylvania.

New York State Donate Life Registry: The registry is a confidential database maintained by the New York State Department of Health, which allows individuals to express their consent to be organ donors when they die. The numbers of eligible New York State residents who are currently on the registry—those aged 18 and over—is only 16 percent.

Media: Contact Martin Woolf at mwoolf@nyodn.org or call 646-291-4460.

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African-American Transplant Surgeon’s Contributions Inspire Support for Black History Month Donor Registry Drive

New York, NY, February 3, 2011:   To coincide with Black History Month throughout February, the New York Organ Donor Network is partnering with African-American leaders across the New York metropolitan area to join their “I Am Proud to Be an Organ Donor” campaign, which is designed to encourage people of color to get the facts about donation and sign up on the New York State Registry.

The campaign kicks off this month and continues until April with many events to highlight donation taking place across the metropolitan area. It may be a little known fact, but it was an African-American transplant surgeon who was the first physician to perform a kidney transplant between a recipient and donor who weren’t identical twins. In 1961, Dr. Samuel Lee Kountz Jr., a resident physician at Stanford, performed the history-making transplant. He would go on to mark a distinguished career, performing more than 500 kidney transplants.

Prior to that, at the end of 1954, Dr. Joseph Murray had performed the first successful human transplant, when Ronald Herrick donated a kidney to his twin, Richard, at what is now Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. Ronald, who kept his brother alive for eight years, died this past December at the age of 79.

Although Dr. Kountz’s life ended prematurely in December 1981 after he had contracted a neurological disease, many life-saving transplants have occurred since his 1961 landmark surgery. For instance, since 1988, African-Americans have received over 89,000 transplants.

Still, despite the medical advances, more than 110,000 people await transplants in the United States, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS). More than 32,000 of those waiting are African-American, although this community only represents 13 percent of the U.S population.

“It is incredible to look back to salute Dr. Kountz’s achievements and the African-American surgeons who followed in his footsteps,” said Elaine Berg, president and CEO of the New York Organ Donor Network. “At the same time, of the approximately 7,500 patients who need transplants in the New York metro area, more than 2,600 or 34 percent are African-Americans.”

Karen Cummings, a New York Organ Donor Network public and professional education specialist, said, “The disproportionate numbers of African-Americans affected by the need for organ donation is mainly due to diseases that are prevalent in that community, like high blood pressure, diabetes and lupus. Many of these lead to renal failure.”

It’s in this context that the New York Organ Donor Network is calling upon African-Americans’ pride in their heritage during Black History Month, and the inspiring role of Dr. Kountz, to sign up on the New York State Donate Life Registry.

To enroll in the registry, check off the box on the driver’s license application form or renewal form at the New York Department of Motor Vehicles; or enroll online at www.DonateLifeNY.org.

New York Organ Donor Network: The Donor Network is the nonprofit federally designated organ procurement organization that serves an area of over 13 million people in Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, Long Island and Staten Island, Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland and Westchester and Pike County in Pennsylvania.

New York State Donate Life Registry: The registry is a confidential database maintained by the New York State Department of Health, which allows individuals to express their consent to be organ donors when they die. The numbers of eligible New York State residents who are currently on the registry—those aged 18 and over—is only 15 percent.

To participate in Black History Month organ donor registry enrollment drives, contact Karen Cummings at kcumming@nyodn.org or call 646-291-4454.

Media: Contact Martin Woolf at mwoolf@nyodn.org or call 646-291-4460.

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New York Organ Donor Network Names Two Executive Hires: James Pardes Is Vice President of Marketing and Communications; Helen Christensen Directs Clinical Services

New York, NY, January 11, 2011:   The New York Organ Donor Network has announced the following executive appointments:

James Pardes is the organization’s first-ever vice president of marketing and communications. Mr. Pardes is a seasoned marketer with more than 15 years of marketing experience across the consumer packaged goods, sports, and health care industries.

Prior to joining the Donor Network, he served as director of international marketing partnerships at the National Basketball Association (NBA) where he managed and marketed the USA Basketball and Harlem Globetrotters brands.

Before joining the NBA, Mr. Pardes worked at the sports marketing agency Octagon as group director of the NASCAR-Sprint partnership; at Unilever as brand manager for Lever 2000, and at behavioral health care outcomes measurement company DeltaMetrics as marketing manager.

Mr. Pardes has an MBA from Columbia Business School, and a MEd in Sports Management from Temple University.

Helen Christensen joined the Donor Network as director of clinical services. Ms. Christensen has more than 16 years experience in the organ donation field and has built a nationwide reputation for enhancing organ donation.

From July 1994 until joining the Donor Network, Ms. Christensen held various positions at the California Transplant Donor Network (CTDN), the organ procurement organization that is based in Oakland, California.

Ms. Christensen has maintained a leadership role in the National Learning Collaborative, an initiative of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Hospital Services (HHS). Recently, she received the Region 5 Leadership Award at the Sixth National Learning Congress for the Donation and Transplantation Community of Practice held in Grapevine, Texas.

After joining CTDN as a transplant coordinator, Ms. Christensen then spent the next seven years as the hospital services coordinator. For the past eight years, Ms. Christensen held the position of manager of hospital development at CTDN. During her tenure, she initiated and improved organ and tissue donation practices as required by national legislation. In 2010, Ms. Christensen developed the OPO’s new position of coroner and medical examiner liaison.

Ms. Christensen received her BSN degree from the University of California, Dominguez Hills, CA, and her MHA from St Mary’s in Moraga CA. She earned an associate’s degree in nursing at DeAnza College in Cupertino, CA.

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Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of the Catholic Church in New York, and a National Leader, Says that Organ Donation Is a Powerful Way for Individuals to Show Love of Others

New York, NY, November 24, 2010: Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of the Catholic Church in New York and newly elected President of the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops, has issued a statement that encourages Catholics to sign up as organ donors.

In the statement, sent to the New York Organ Donor Network, Archbishop Dolan says: “It is for the betterment of humanity, for the love of one’s fellow human beings, that organ donation is undertaken. One of the most powerful ways for individuals to demonstrate love for their neighbor is by making an informed decision to be an organ donor.”

Elaine Berg, the president and CEO of the New York Organ Donor Network, welcomes Archbishop Dolan’s message. “We are extremely appreciative that Archbishop Dolan has reinforced the powerful message of love and generosity associated with organ, tissue and eye donation. His words of encouragement help to reinforce the fact that all major religions support donation as one of the most noble of gifts.”

Boosted by Archbishop’s call for an increase in donation, the New York Organ Donor Network is appealing to New York area Catholics to sign the New York State Donate Life Registry for organ, eye and tissue donation.

“We feel it is in the power of our religious leaders to make miracles happen this Holiday season by rallying in support of organ donation,” Ms. Berg said.

“That is why the Archbishop’s support is so significant now at the start of the holidays and throughout the year. We hope New York’s Catholics be motivated and inspired to enroll as donors.”

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New Yorkers age 18 and over can sign the New York State Donate Life Registry when visiting their local DMV to apply for or renew their driver’s license. Individuals can also download an enrollment form on the New York Organ Donor Network’s website at https://apps.nyhealth.gov/professionals/patients/donation/organ/DonorRegistration.action.

If you wish to support the New York Organ Donor Network’s mission of saving lives by promoting organ donation in your house of worship, please contact Karen Cummings at 646-291-4454 or via e-mail: kcumming@nyodn.org.  

Media: Contact Martin Woolf, 646-291-4460 or via e-mail: mwoolf@nyodn.org.

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During National Donor Sabbath, New York Organ Donor Network Urges All Religious Leaders to Make Miracles Happen

New York, NY, October 18, 2010: With National Donor Sabbath 2010 just two weeks away, the New York Organ Donor Network has issued an urgent appeal to religious leaders in the greater New York metropolitan area: Please help to help motivate your congregants to save lives by signing the New York State Donate Life Registry for organ, eye and tissue donation.

Donor Sabbath, which is celebrated throughout November, is part of a national initiative launched by the Department of Health and Human Services in 1997. It is a time when houses of worship educate their congregants on the life-saving and life-improving gifts of organ, cornea and tissue donation.

“We realize that some people need the help of their religious leader when it comes to the issue of life and death,” said Elaine Berg, the president and CEO of the New York Organ Donor Network. The Donor Network is the second largest nonprofit, federally designated organ procurement organization in the United States.

“All religions support donation as one of the most noble of gifts,” Ms. Berg said. “This is why we feel there is no better source of support for each individual family when it comes to organ and tissue donation than their religious leader. We face a particularly dire situation in our region. Close to 8,000 people are waiting for organ transplants, and yet each year there are fewer than 300 deceased donors.”

Ms. Berg urged religious leaders to include discussion about donation during Sabbath services in November. “It would also be so helpful if they coordinated their efforts with organ donor registry drives. The New York State Donate Life Registry is a database of legal consent. Regrettably, New York ranks very low when compared with other states in terms of percentage of individuals who have enrolled.

“We feel it is in the power of our religious leaders to make miracles happen this Donor Sabbath by rallying in support of organ donation.”

New Yorkers age 18 and over can sign the New York State Donate Life Registry when visiting their local DMV to apply for or renew their driver’s license. Individuals can also enroll on the Donor Network’s website at www.DonateLifeNY.org.

A Critical Shortage of Organ Donors:

  • There are close to 110,000 people waiting for life-saving transplants across the United States.
  • Nearly 8,000 of those individuals live in the New York metro area.
  • Nearly 8,000 of those individuals live in the New York metro area.
  • On average, 18 people die each day in the United States while waiting for organ transplants they do not receive.
  • Only 13 percent of New York residents age 18 or over have signed up on the New York State Donate Life Registry.

The New York State Donate Life Registry:

The registry is a confidential database maintained by New York State’s Department of Health. This is a registry that records an individual’s legal consent to become an organ, cornea and tissue donor upon their death.

If you wish to support the New York Organ Donor Network’s mission of saving lives by participating in National Donor Sabbath, please contact Karen Cummings at 646-291-4454 or via e-mail: kcumming@nyodn.org.

Media: Contact Martin Woolf, 646-291-4460 or mwoolf@nyodn.org.

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HISPANIC HERITAGE MONTH: Transplant Recipients of Latino Descent Hope Their Close Calls Will Inspire Donor Registry Enrollments

New York, NY, September 14, 2010: After suffering two heart attacks, 34-year-old Juan Farias waited three years before he received a heart—as well as a new liver. Juan, who has four children and lives in Middletown, NY, received his life-saving transplants in 2007 at Montefiore Medical Center.

Thirteen years earlier, Dr. Jose Goris, a New Jersey resident, faced his own personal crisis. Jose, a general practitioner, was diagnosed in 1994 with a rare liver disease, sclerosing cholangitis, at which time he was told that he needed a transplant. The transplant only became a reality in 2007 at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia Presbyterian, when his good friend, Rigo Peralta, gave him part of his liver.

Both men are among the fortunate individuals to receive organ transplants before it was too late. In the greater New York metropolitan area, there are close to 8,000 people on the national waiting list.

Juan and Jose — both of whom are proud of their Hispanic ancestry — are hoping their personal experiences will motivate other Latinos in New York to sign the Donate Life Registry during Hispanic Heritage Month that begins September 15.

Their plea is all the more urgent because 1,600 or 20 percent of those who need transplants in the New York metro area are of Hispanic descent.

Considering how many people are waiting for transplants and how few deceased organ donors there are —in 2009, there were just 285 donors in the entire New York metro area — Juan says, “It’s so important to let Hispanics know of the critical need for donation. I was very lucky but so many Latinos will die without a transplant. We have to educate ourselves and then please, please, sign the New York State Donate life Registry.”

Jose, whose transplant means he can continue caring for his patients with a predominantly Hispanic community in Washington Heights, feels blessed to have had a friend come to his rescue.

“The lesson I learned is that Hispanics should register to become organ donors before a tragedy affects them or a family member,” he says. “With no deceased donor available, only Rigo’s generosity kept me alive.”

For their part, the New York Organ Donor Network is hoping that these personal accounts will lead to more Latinos making a concerted effort to enroll in the New York State Donate Life Registry, a confidential database administered by New York State’s Department of Health.

Elaine Berg, the Donor Network’s president and CEO, points out that New York trails far behind most other states in the percentage of population who have registered to be donors. “It’s shocking to think that only 13 percent of New Yorkers age 18 and over have enrolled,” she says.

“We acknowledge that Hispanics traditionally are among the most giving in our community, with a consent rate of close to 60 percent. But the truth is that around one-third of Hispanics either haven’t registered or their next-of-kin say ‘no’ to donation.”

Julia Rivera, herself of Hispanic descent, is the director of communications at the Donor Network. She says that with increases in obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure, the need for kidney transplants has grown in the U.S.

“In 2009, according to the National Kidney Foundation, Hispanic-Americans had a high percentage of diagnosed diabetes cases, the most common cause of renal failure,” Ms. Rivera said. “Of all newly diagnosed cases of renal failure, 11 percent of the patients are Hispanic-Americans. Several will need kidney transplants.”

Ms. Rivera adds: “The more we share this information with the Hispanic community, the more prepared they will be to take care of themselves, and more amenable to enrolling on the Donate Life Registry. It’s a legacy of love and a chance to save a life.”

To enroll in the New York State Donate Life Registry: Log onto the registry from the home page of this website.

If you, your business or organization would like to conduct an Organ Donor Registry Drive during Hispanic Heritage Month: Contact the Donor Network’s Miriam Perez at 646 291-4455 or mpereznyodn.org

About the New York Organ Donor Network: Founded in 1978, the New York Organ Donor Network is the second largest of the nation’s 58 nonprofit, federally designated organ procurement organizations (OPOs.) The Donor Network is responsible for the recovery of organs, eyes, and tissues for transplantation as well as public and professional education efforts in the greater New York metropolitan area. It serves a highly diverse population in Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Staten Island, Long Island, Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Westchester, and Pike County, PA. The Donor Network partners with 10 transplant centers, more than 90 hospitals, as well as several eye and tissue banks. It is fully accredited by the Association of Organ Procurement Organizations (AOPO) and is a member of the United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS.)

Media: For more information, contact Martin Woolf at 646-291-4460 or mwoolfnyodn.org

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Suffolk County’s EMS Partners With the New York Organ Donor Network

The Donor Network and Suffolk Emergency Medical Services Announce an Education Program to Increase Awareness of the Need for, and Role of EMS, In Organ, Tissue and Eye Donation

Hauppauge, NY, August 17, 2010: Suffolk County EMS and the New York Organ Donor Network have announced the launch of a new professional education program entitled Myths and Realities, and the Role of EMS in Organ and Tissue Donation.

The program, presented by Nick Seals, a paramedic who works as a donor evaluation coordinator at the Donor Network, is already proving to be a revelation for EMS providers, who unknowingly play an important role in the evaluation of potential organ donors.

“It’s a very eye-opening and inspiring presentation,” said Greg Miniutti, the assistant chief of the Commack Volunteer Ambulance Corps, one of the first departments to host the program during its pilot testing phase this past May. The program, when it was just an idea Mr. Seals had, was first tested last summer at Greenlawn Fire Department.

Gary Ritter, a paramedic and physicians assistant who attended the presentation in Commack, said, “I was impressed with the personal connection that Nick made me feel as a paramedic to this whole other world of organ donation.”

The next program presentation is on Tuesday, August 17 at Cold Spring Harbor Volunteer Fire Department.

Among the important issues the program stresses for EMS providers is the need for accurate and thorough documentation. “The pre-hospital care report generated by EMTs in the field is one of the first things we look for in the chart of a potential donor,” Mr. Seals explained.

Tom Lateulere, Course Sponsor administrator of Suffolk County Emergency Medical Services said, “This seems like a logical fit. As health care practitioners and partners in our community, we’re happy to be involved in the sharing of this vital information. We all know a little bit about the need for organ donation. This program is focusing in on what we can do as EMS providers to help spread the word.”

Mr. Seals said the program educates EMS personnel about the critical shortage of organ and tissue donors in New York, while at the same time dispelling some of the myths surrounding the topic.

“We stress the role that we, as EMS providers, play as allied health care professionals in our communities,” Mr. Seals stated. “I have found that my fellow medics and EMTs are often fascinated by exactly what it is that I do for the Donor Network. Now I’ve turned that curiosity into a more formal presentation. My hope is that once they’ve completed the program, EMS providers will go on to educate their friends and family about the realities of organ and tissue donation.”

Mr. Seals noted that there are more than 100 EMS agencies and more than 5,000 providers in Suffolk County.

Ambulance services, fire departments, or other organizations interested in hosting the program can visit the Suffolk REMSCO website at www.suffolkremsco.com, and then click on the “Donate Life” link; or they can email a request to nseals@nyodn.org. Scheduled presentations will also be listed on the Suffolk REMSCO site. The program entitles attendees to CME credit.

About the New York Organ Donor Network: Founded in 1978, the New York Organ Donor Network is the second largest of the nation’s 58 nonprofit, federally designated organ procurement organizations (OPOs.) The Donor Network is responsible for the recovery of organs, eyes, and tissues for transplantation as well as public and professional education efforts in the greater New York metropolitan area. It serves a highly diverse population in Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Staten Island, Long Island, Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Westchester, and Pike County, PA. The Donor Network partners with 10 transplant centers, more than 90 hospitals, as well as several eye and tissue banks. It is fully accredited by the Association of Organ Procurement Organizations (AOPO) and is a member of the United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS.)

Media: For more information, contact Martin Woolf, 646-291-4460 or mwoolf@nyodn.org.

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New York Organ Donor Network Aims to Increase Organ Donor Registry Enrollments on August 1, National Minority Awareness Day

New York, NY, July 27, 2010: The New York Organ Donor Network is urging the region’s minority population to take action on National Minority Awareness Day on Sunday, August 1, by registering to be organ donors.

National Minority Awareness Day draws attention to the need for organ and tissue donors among minority populations through initiatives including intensive awareness campaigns and the promotion of healthy living and disease prevention to decrease the need for transplantation.

This year, National Minority Awareness Day takes place just weeks after the signing of the groundbreaking Electronic Signature Act by Governor David Paterson. Once implemented, the new law will allow all New Yorkers to sign the Donate Life Registry online.

In the interim, the Donor Network is urging individuals not to wait.

“The situation is desperate,” said Elaine Berg, the Donor Network’s president and CEO. “We appeal to the metro area’s minority population to make that extra effort right now, on August 1. Please visit our website at www.DonateLifeNY.org to fill out the registry enrollment form. By printing, signing and mailing in the form, you may one day be able to save or improve the lives of up to 60 people.”

To emphasize why enrolling is so important, the Donor Network points out that of the 5,340 people of color waiting for organ transplants in New York State, 3,000 (31 percent) are African-American, 1,595 (16 percent) are Hispanic and 745 (8 percent) are Asian.

Of the 1,940 transplant recipients in New York State last year, a total of 425 (22 percent) were African-American, 373 recipients (19 percent) were Hispanic, and 150 (8 percent) were Asian.

On Minority Awareness day, the Donor Network works to dispel myths about donation, and arm all New Yorkers with the facts they need about donation and the Donate Life Registry, a confidential database administered by New York State’s Department of Health.

About the New York Organ Donor Network: Founded in 1978, the New York Organ Donor Network is the second largest of the nation’s 58 nonprofit, federally designated organ procurement organizations (OPOs). The Donor Network is responsible for the recovery of organs, eyes and tissues for transplantation, and public and professional education efforts in the greater New York metropolitan area. It serves a highly diverse population in Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Staten Island, Long Island, Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Westchester and Pike County, PA. The Donor Network partners with 10 transplant centers, more than 100 hospitals, as well as several eye and tissue banks. It is fully accredited by the Association of Organ Procurement Organizations (AOPO) and is a member of the United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS).

Media: For more information, contact Martin Woolf at 646-291-4460 or at mwoolf@nyodn.org.

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New York Organ Donor Network Applauds Governor Paterson's Signing of Electronic Signature Act

Law Will Result in Drastically Increased Donor Registry Enrollments to Save Lives

New York, NY, July 8, 2010: Governor David Paterson today signed into law an electronic signature bill that will dramatically improve the organ donation process in New York. The law will allow New Yorkers to register online to become organ donors. The bill passed the Assembly unanimously on April 27 and the Senate on May 12. The Electronic Signature Act eliminates the need to download enrollment forms and mail them in.

The statement from Elaine Berg, President and CEO of the New York Organ Donor Network follows:

“This is an historic day for every New Yorker that is waiting for a lifesaving organ. For years, the New York Organ Donor Network has led the fight for an electronic signature. This bill is the key to streamlining the organ donation registration process; once implemented, its effect will be immediate, and will result in countless lives being saved.

“On behalf of the entire New York Organ Donor Network family, I applaud Governor Paterson for signing this bill into law, and giving New Yorkers the tools they need to step up and sign the donor registry in record numbers.

“We thank Senator Duane, Assemblymen Gottfried and Brodsky, and all of the bill’s cosponsors for their continuing leadership in making this dream a reality. We extend our gratitude to the entire Assembly and Senate for unanimously passing this landmark legislation.”

About the New York Organ Donor Network: Founded in 1978, the New York Organ Donor Network is the second largest of the nation’s 58 nonprofit, federally designated organ procurement organizations (OPOs). The Donor Network is responsible for the recovery of organs, eyes and tissues for transplantation, and public and professional education efforts in the greater New York metropolitan area. It serves a highly diverse population in Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Staten Island, Long Island, Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Westchester and Pike County, PA. The Donor Network partners with 10 transplant centers, more than 100 hospitals, as well as several eye and tissue banks. It is fully accredited by the Association of Organ Procurement Organizations (AOPO) and is a member of the United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS).

Media: For more information, contact Martin Woolf at 646-291-4460 or at mwoolf@nyodn.org.

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New York Organ Donor Network Launches a New Advertising Campaign

“Keep Life Going” Features New Yorkers whose Lives Have Been Saved by Organ Donation

New York, NY, June 9, 2010: In an effort to reduce New York State’s critical shortage of organ donors, the New York Organ Donor Network is urging Governor Paterson to take action on the Electronic Signature Act, which will simplify the registry enrollment process and allow New Yorkers to electronically sign onto the state’s Donate Life registry. The bill passed unanimously in both the Assembly and the Senate, and is pending the Governor’s action to bring New York State into line with every state that has had success signing up organ donors.

While the legislation is pending, the New York Organ Donor Network has launched “Keep Life Going,” a new advertising campaign featuring New Yorkers whose lives have been saved by organ donation.

 “Keep Life Going” launched the last week of May on Long Island. Ads will be displayed at Long Island Railroad stations, on Long Island buses, and heard on radio stations in Nassau and Suffolk counties. The advertising will run through August.

The ads feature John Primavera, a father from Merrick who received his life-saving kidney transplant as a teenager; Marilyn Foster, a mother of two from Brooklyn and a liver recipient; Raphael Kellner, a 6-year-old boy from Westchester whose life was saved by a liver transplant; Jessie-Ann Bettcher, a 19-year old college student, whose life was saved by a heart transplant; and 5-year-old Gregory Denizard, whose life was saved by a liver transplant. The campaign will feature many more survivors from New York City, Long Island, and Westchester.

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