CEO Report: The Gift of Life

Posted on February 05, 2019

“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” - Pablo Picasso

MHA CEO ReportEvery 10 minutes a mother, a child, a sibling is added to the national transplant waiting list and another 22 patients die each day because not enough organs and tissues are available. Due to this great need, healthcare organizations across the country will recognize Feb. 14 as National Donor Day.

During this time, we would like to salute those organizations and individuals who assist Michigan hospitals in identifying generous donors who are willing to make a lifesaving contribution to help the more than 3,000 Michigan residents currently on the organ donor waiting list. Thanks to these partners, Michigan set new highs for organ donors, organ transplants and tissue donors in 2018.

It all starts with the Michigan Secretary of State, who maintains the Michigan Organ Donor Registry, a vital resource for hospitals in identifying donors and facilitating a match with those on the donor waiting list. Secretary of State branch offices account for more than 90 percent of donor registrations, an extremely simple process that takes less than one minute and is recognized on your driver’s license or identification card.

Facilitating all services necessary for organ donation to occur is Gift of Life Michigan, the state’s only federally designated organ and tissue recovery program. The MHA originally created a collaborative with Gift of Life Michigan and the MHA Keystone Center, implementing evidence-based best practices to improve organ donation processes. The collaborative further developed into a sustained partnership in 2013, with Gift of Life Michigan becoming a member of the MHA. Today Gift of Life Michigan acts as a liaison among donors, hospitals and transplant centers and partners with the Michigan Secretary of State in maintaining and growing the Michigan Organ Donor Registry.

One effort to support continued growth is the annual competition it organizes among Michigan hospitals to see who can register the most new donors. We commend each MHA member who participated in 2018, with particular praise to Sparrow Health System in Lansing, which registered a competition-record 1,041 individuals during the six-week competition, and Detroit Medical Center, with 1,028 registrants. Efforts such as these have led to a dramatic increase in the Michigan Organ Donor Registry, which now contains more than 66 percent of Michigan adults, almost three times the percentage of 10 years earlier.

At Michigan hospitals, we know our role in organ transplants transcends the operating room. To stay abreast of ongoing organ and tissue donor needs, MHA Chief Medical Officer Gary Roth, DO, serves on the advisory board of Gift of Life Michigan. In this capacity, Dr. Roth represents not only as a clinician, but as a voice for hospitals across the state.

Lastly, we would like to recognize those hospitals that serve as transplant centers in our state:

  • Ascension St. John Hospital
  • Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak
  • DMC Children’s Hospital of Michigan
  • DMC Harper/Hutzel Hospital
  • Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital
  • Henry Ford Hospital
  • Mercy Health Saint Mary’s
  • Spectrum Health
  • University of Michigan Hospitals and Health Centers

Each of these members and their staff are the ones who ultimately perform a transplant, and they do it with great skill and compassion.

Lastly, I’d like to ask that we each take a moment to think about and thank those Michigan donors — and their families — who helped a patient in need. In 2018, the generosity of 338 organ donors resulted in 1,087 lifesaving organ transplants. Another 1,384 donors provided the gift of tissue that benefited thousands of other patients.

Organ and tissue donation cannot be done alone. Instead, it takes the cooperation of numerous healthcare organizations, partners and, most importantly, selfless donors working together to meet this great need.

I hope that you will follow my lead and take that individual step to help another. All it takes is less than a minute of your time and a visit to the Gift of Life Michigan donor page.

As always, I welcome your thoughts.

P.S. MHA's upcoming Breakthrough conference is Feb. 21 and 22 at the Grand Traverse Resort & Spa. If you have not done so already, I urge you to consider registering.


  • CEO Report: The Gift of Life

Tags: Brian Peters, CEO Report, organ donation, Gift of Life Michigan, organ transplant, National Donor Day

Posted in: MHA Rounds

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