Volunteer collaboration is one of the strongest measures of success to ignite bold advancements in our field. This year, new and enhanced initiatives underway at The Alliance resulted in a record number of volunteers who engaged in national collaboration and professional education efforts. More than 328 organ donation and transplantation professionals committed their time and expertise to advance the national community of practice during an unprecedented year of challenge and growth. This marks an 87 percent increase in the number of volunteers on The Alliance’s board, councils, committees and workgroups.
“Members of the organ donation and transplantation community respond when there’s a calling and a need,” says Board Chair Kevin Myer, president and CEO of LifeGift in Houston. “There are some challenges in front of us and I am confident that the professionals in this community will continue to give of themselves to make a stronger community of practice.”
Nationally, post-pandemic volunteerism is up as people connect to issues that they are passionate about. “Our volunteers are really passionate about our mission to promote collaboration and share best practices to restore lives through transplantation,” says Karri Hobson-Pape, executive director of The Alliance. “We create the network so best practices can be shared across the country. The growth in our engagement with volunteers represents our growth in new initiatives and programs where ideas can be exchanged.”
Some of the Alliance’s new initiatives in 2021 include the following:
- Donation After Circulatory Death (DCD) Educational Guide initiative – the development of a comprehensive educational guide for patient care teams to be aware of current approaches and effective practices related to identifying and facilitating cases of donation after circulatory death
- Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) initiative – a broad set of DEI initiatives to help educate and promote diverse talent at The Alliance and across the organ donation and transplantation community through active recruitment, retention, mentoring, and training efforts
- Enhanced Mentorship Program – a cost-free peer-to-peer mentorship network with new access to live training sessions and enhanced program functionalities
- The Organ Donation Exploratory Seminar – a semi-annual seminar that broadly examines the comprehensive donation process for the multidisciplinary healthcare team
- Expanded Conversation Series – a series of live, online collaborative discussion opportunities offered throughout the year where insights are shared and solutions are identified to critical challenges affecting the community of practice
With a relatively small full-time team of four employees, augmented by program consultants, the volunteers provide the basis for all deliverables generated by The Alliance.
“To meet the ongoing demands of the community, we increased the number of programs offered this year, which led to significant growth in speakers and moderators,” says Alliance Program Manager Deanna Fenton. “And we were fortunate to see more individuals raising their hands to participate in various workgroups and committees. Thanks to the ongoing commitment and dedication of these volunteers, we’re able to continue sharing valuable information to improve donation and transplantation practices across the continuum.”
“The Alliance wouldn’t exist or be successful without our staff and our engaged volunteers,” says Hobson-Pape. “I am so proud of the strength of our team, who manage our volunteers, and astounded by their accomplishments this year. Additionally, our Board is so committed and involved, and they all responded to calls to action to work on our initiatives.”