Working together. Saving lives.


Fallen Soldier Donor Memorial Unveiling

RICHMOND, Va.–Corporal Benjamin S. Kopp, a member of the 75th Army Ranger Regiment, saved six of his comrades when his unit came under small arms attack by insurgents in Afghanistan.

Although mortally wounded, he saved four more lives back in the United States through his selfless gift of organ donation.

To honor Corporal Kopp and all other brave soldiers who became organ, tissue and eye donors, a Fallen Soldier Donor Memorial is being dedicated in the National Donor Memorial at the United Network for Organ Sharing. It honors members of our military, both present and past, who have made organ and tissue donation their last courageous act of service so that others may live long and healthy lives in a free and safe world.

The memorial has been nearly four years in the making. It was the idea of Gary Foxen, a lung recipient. Foxen met Corporal Kopp’s mother, Jill Stephenson, in 2011, when Kopp was honored as part of the annual Tournament of Roses Donate Life Float, an annual celebration of the gift of life also conceived by Foxen. The memorial is a gift from the OneLegacy Foundation, with additional support from Gary and Lois Foxen and a number of additional individual and corporate contributors.

Ann Walsh, the memorial’s sculptor, said she wanted it to be “abstract and ethereal,” so she decided to make the statue hollow and see-through. “The lines echo the natural growth in the garden,” she added.

About the event

The Fallen Soldier Donor Memorial statue will be unveiled in a ceremony on November 10 at 9 a.m. ET at the United Network for Organ Sharing in Richmond, Va., as will a companion plaque that will hang at Landstuhl Military Hospital in Germany.

Due to space constraints the ceremony is by invitation only. The public may watch the ceremony live on UNOS’ Facebook page.

Speakers: Corporal Benjamin S. Kopp’s mother, Jill Stephenson; Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe; UNOS CEO Brian Shepard; OneLegacy Foundation CEO Thomas Mone; Dr. Guenter Kirste from Landstuhl; and Lois Foxen.

About UNOS

United Network for Organ Sharing a private, nonprofit organization, unites and supports the organ donation and transplantation community nationwide through organ placement, research, technology, policy development and education. UNOS serves as the nation’s Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network under federal contract. As the OPTN, it matches lifesaving organs with people awaiting transplants nationwide.

About OneLegacy

As the largest organ, eye and tissue recovery organization in the world, OneLegacy serves more than 200 hospitals, 11 transplant centers, and a diverse population of nearly 20 million people throughout seven counties in Southern California.

‘Josh’s List’ Goes Viral

Videos on Facebook and YouTube go viral; it’s what they do. Remember the hilarious skateboarding bulldog a few years ago? To date, 22 million views. Pure joy. Or the cavorting baby goats? Nearly seven million views.

Videos with a message, not so much, unless, perhaps, the PSA is edgy or grisly. What comes first to mind is the blood-soaked “OMG L@@K OUT!” That one, which you’d think was directed by Quentin Tarantino, takes an unflinching look at the bloody results of texting and driving. After its release, five million views.

Now, there’s “Josh’s List”—neither funny nor grisly, but appealing and heart-warming—and within only 15 days, more than 10.3 million views across two Facebook versions, and more 181,000 shares.

Those are extraordinary numbers, especially when one considers that the PSA, released by UNOS, is its first national PSA in more than 20 years … and some of the talent and production were donated by people and agencies that simply believe in UNOS’ cause.

The unique take in “Josh’s List” is appealing, heartwarming―and persuasive. The storyline, inspired by true events, was conceived by Australian writer, director and cinematographer Damien Toogood. He pitched the idea to UNOS awhile back, but UNOS had no funds for the project, so the idea was put on hold until last year.

The storyline of the PSA involves the heart recipient of organ donor Josh. In gratitude and to honor his donor, the recipient decides to fulfill Josh’s “bucket list,” which includes, among other things, getting a Mohawk, going hiking and taking a road trip. In a series of vignettes, the viewer watches as the recipient completes the list.

At the PSA’s end, we see the recipient stooping over, painting a white picket fence. With that, he’s fulfilling Josh’s final bucket-list item― “do more for Mom.” And, in the final scene, Josh’s mom emerges from her house, lovingly greets the recipient, and gently puts her head on his chest, listening to her son’s heart beat inside the recipient’s body.

“UNOS is thrilled with the viral results of our PSA campaign,” director of communications Mike Pressendo said. “The goal of ‘Josh’s List’ is to build awareness of and trust in the nation’s transplant system and to inspire people to support organ donation.

“We owe much of the success of the campaign to the generous contributions of time, talent and resources from across the globe, including filmmaker and writer Damien Toogood, the band Metric and the team at Publicis New York,” Pressendo added.

As Toogood posted on Facebook, “The saying in advertising is, ‘Well, it’s not like we are saving lives.’ I’m hoping that this spot is the exception.”

At this point, all indications are that it is. Watch it now.

Hospitals chosen for initial phase of COIIN pilot

Nineteen transplant hospitals  have been selected to participate in the initial pilot phase of COIIN (the Collaborative Innovation and Improvement Network), a three-year project intended to increase kidney utilization and study new methods of quality monitoring.

Phase I Pilot COIIN Participating Hospitals

  • Augusta University Medical Center, Augusta, Ga.
  • Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, Mass.
  • Mayo Clinic (Phoenix), Phoenix, Ariz.
  • Methodist Dallas Medical Center, Dallas, Texas
  • Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Chicago, Ill.
  • NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, New York, N.Y.
  • Ochsner Foundation Hospital, New Orleans, La.
  • Ohio State University Medical Center, Columbus, Ohio
  • Oregon Health and Science University Hospital, Portland, Ore.
  • Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, Ill.
  • Scripps Green Hospital, La Jolla. Calif.
  • Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Philadelphia, Pa.
  • University of Chicago Medical Center, Chicago, Ill.
  • University of Colorado Hospital/Health Science Center, Aurora, Colo.
  • University of Minnesota Medical Center, Minneapolis, Minn.
  • University of Utah Medical Center, Salt Lake City, Utah
  • University of Virginia Health Sciences Center, Charlottesville, Va.
  • University of Washington Medical Center, Seattle, Wash.
  • Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Wash.

“The hospitals participating in the pilot program have had success using kidneys that are not accepted as often by other transplant programs across the country, “ said David Klassen, M.D., chair of the COIIN Advisory Council and UNOS’ Chief Medical Officer. “The practices they have found to be effective can be shared with others to increase the number of transplants nationwide.”

Another key aim of the COIIN project is testing potential improvements to the program performance review process. During the study, participants will be exempt from the traditional review of patient and kidney graft survival performed by the OPTN Membership and Professional Standards Committee (MPSC). They will participate in an alternative, collaborative quality improvement framework to drive improvements in organ offer and acceptance, waitlist management, and care coordination.

Each pilot hospital will create and test improvement aims during successive rapid improvement cycles and can share lessons learned with other study participants on an interactive, virtual learning site. Hospitals can also monitor their improvement in key measures including outcomes, processes, relationships, and structures.

Training and coaching for pilot participants will begin in October 2016, and the data collection and collaborative learning will begin in January 2017.

Beginning in summer 2017, hospitals may apply for the second pilot phase of COIIN that will begin in October 2017. Selections for the second pilot phase will be made from a combined pool of new applicants and applicants not selected for the first pilot phase. New applications will not be required for those hospitals who have already submitted materials, although updated information may be necessary.

For more information about COIIN, contact Kristen Sisaithong, Performance Improvement Lead, (804) 782-2960 or

University of Pittsburgh Medical Center released from probation

Richmond, Va. – At a meeting by teleconference on Sept. 29, the OPTN/UNOS Board of Directors restored full member privileges for the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC).

The Board had placed UPMC on probation in June 2015. Its lung transplant program had an unusually high number of instances where they accepted lung offers for one transplant candidate, then transplanted another candidate at the program. This inappropriately limited opportunity for consideration of other candidates identified on the match run.

The Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) is operated under contract with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Division of Transplantation, by United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS). The OPTN brings together medical professionals, transplant recipients and donor families to develop national organ transplantation policy.

Join us for upcoming ethics webinar

The next webinar in the UNOS ethics series is coming soon. Learn more about this session and view the full schedule below.

Ethical complexities and living donation – 2

October 31, 2016 at 1 p.m. ET
Cost: $25

Featured Experts: Lainie Ross, MD, PhD.; Laurie Shore, MSW, LCSW; and Mary Amanda Dew, PhD
How can we remove the disincentives to living donation? What if the living donor ends up needing a kidney? Should uninsured people be considered for living donation? What constitutes valuable consideration? And what about non-directed donation, orphaned donors, and paired donations and chains?


Register now

To register for this webinar, go to UNOS Connect, our learning management system.

  • If you have access to UNOS Secure EnterpriseSM systems: UNet, WaitlistSM, DonorNet®, Tiedi®, KPDSM and other UNOS-developed transplant applications, your UNOS Connect account is already set-up. Simply access UNOS Connect with your UNet username and password. This will allow you full access to the site to view system training recordings, register for policy webinars and view materials.
  • Other Users: The first time you visit UNOS Connect, you will need to complete a brief, online form to register for the site. After that, you will have access to a wide range of UNOS instructional offerings and materials, except system training.

About the UNOS ethics webinar series

In an educational assessment earlier this year, we asked what topics you wanted to learn more about. The most requested was education on ethical issues. That’s why UNOS is offering a new webinar series that focuses on ethics and provides you with continuing education.

This continuing nursing education activity was approved by the Virginia Nurses Association, an accredited approver by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation. In addition, this program is approved by the National Association of Social Workers (Approval # 886443310-0) for 1 Social Work continuing education contact hour.

Upcoming webinars


Increased risk donation

January 2017
Cost: $25

Featured Experts: Art Caplan, PhDLainie Ross, MD, PhD; and Bob Veatch, PhD
Certain illnesses and behaviors put donors into the PHS increased risk category. Learn more about donors with hepatitis, HIV (and the HOPE Act) and cancer as well as those with high-risk histories, such as IV drug use, prison and even multiple transfusions. What about donors with other diseases such as Alzheimer’s? How about patients with Lou Gehrig’s? How much should candidates be told about their donor’s history? Does that change when they have a living donor? Listing practices will also be covered.

Ethics of allocation

February 2017
Cost: $25

Featured Experts: Michael Shapiro, MDPeter Reese, MD; and Bob Veatch, PhD
Hear about the general moral theory behind allocation as well as voluntary risks (alcoholism, non-compliance, etc.), age, status and obesity. Learn about geographical disparities and the tension between local versus national allocation. How do listing practices and exceptions play a role? We’ll cover multiple listing, level of pay, competition for organs, multi-organ allocation, and multiple transplants for the same patient.

Selection and acceptance criteria

March 2017
Cost: $25

Featured Experts: Art Caplan, PhD
How are patients selected to be listed for a transplant? And how do transplant teams decide which organs to accept for their patients? What role do addiction, age, obesity and compliance with treatment play? Should transplant outcomes in listing drive treatment? What about waitlist modification? And how about centers who say they accept anything, but don’t in practice?

Socio-economic matters

April 2017
Cost: $25

Featured Expert: Janet Stevenson
What happens when someone wants to direct a donation based on race, gender, socio-economic status or membership in a group? Given the cost of transplantation, are transplants really elective? What happens when folks can no longer pay or lose their insurance? What inequities are there for poor people who need transplants, in multiple listing, people who live in rural areas? Learn about valuable consideration in both living and deceased donation as well as poor people who sell their organs in other countries. What are the barriers to donation and transplant for minorities?

Technological advances and ethical conundrums

May 2017
Cost: $25

Featured Expert: Janet Stevenson
What are the ethical considerations in vascular composite allograft (VCA) transplantation, like face and hand transplant? How about the newest elective VCA transplants – uterine and penile transplants? What about the human trial element? What are the special informed consent requirements? How do you weigh the risk of unnecessary exposure to immunosuppression against the benefits? What are the inclusion/exculsion criteria? We’ll also cover other technological advances such as growing organs, cloning to produce human organs, stem cell scaffolds, animal/human hybrids to produce organs and destroying and replacing bone marrow.

Archived webinars

Go to UNOS Connect to view recordings of earlier webinars in the series.

An overview of ethics in transplantation

June 30, 2016 
Cost: Free

Featured Experts: Art Caplan, PhDMichael Shapiro, MD
Learn about religious and secular views on transplantation, how we got to our current system, and the concepts of autonomy, justice, non-maleficence, beneficence. Use what you’ve learned to decide what you would do during the case study portion of this session.

The ethics of death

August 11, 2016 
Cost: $25

Featured Experts: Michael Shapiro, MDBob Veatch, PhD
How is death defined, and why is that so important and even troublesome? What are the cultural implications about how treat patients who are alive versus those who are dead? How does care/treatment and insurance coverage change? What about making the choice to die? What ethical concepts are involved when a terminal patient wants to die? And what is imminent death donation?

Ethical procurement

August 25, 2016
Cost: $25

Featured Experts: Michael Shapiro, MDBob Veatch, PhD
Dig into the meaty topics of directed donation and social media to find donors. Explore international topics such as presumed consent and transplant tourism, the use of prisoners as organ sources and how international transplant tourism impacts patients in the U.S.

Ethical complexities and living donation – 1

September 28, 2016
Cost: $25

Featured Experts: Peter Reese, MDElisa Gordon, PhD, MPH; Laurie Shore, MSW, LCSW; and Mary Amanda Dew, PhD
When finding a living donor, there are many important ethical considerations: pressure and coercion, social media campaigns, maintaining confidentiality, donor rights, informed consent and medical and psychosocial evaluation. What about the risks of being a liver donor, including death? And what are the hospital’s responsibilities when living donors have complications?

Journal article describes UNOS research in transplant priority for prior living kidney donors

Four UNOS researchers examined delays in timely access to transplantation for some prior living donors who later require a transplant themselves. Their study is published online in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Prior living donors who later need a deceased donor kidney transplant receive very high allocation priority. To be listed for this priority, transplant programs must submit a request to UNOS. Any delay in a program’s submission may delay timely access to transplantation. The authors (Jennifer Wainright, Ph.D., David Klassen, M.D., Anna Kucheryavaya, M.S., and Darren Stewart, M.S.) studied OPTN and CMS data to examine the timing of priority requests for 210 prior living donors who were added to the kidney waiting list over a five-year period.

While most prior living donors received priority and were actively listed for a transplant in a timely manner, a substantial number spent considerable time either actively listed for a transplant without living donor priority or listed in an inactive status. This, in turn, affects their access to timely transplantation. UNOS has implemented processes to help programs prevent future delays in requesting living donor priority.

To view the entire article, consult the following citation:

J. Wainright, D. Klassen, A. Kucheryavaya, and D. Stewart. Delays in Prior Living Kidney Donors Receiving Priority on the Transplant Waiting List. Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. Available online at