Working together. Saving lives.


Voting opens Feb. 7 for UNOS Board election/Annual meeting of members

The 2017 Annual Meeting of Members of United Network for Organ Sharing will be held at 700 North 4th Street, Richmond, Virginia, March 7, 2017, at 11:00 a.m. (ET) for the following purposes:

  1. To elect Directors and Officers of the Corporation to serve for stated terms or until their successors are duly qualified and elected. Please note that the UNOS Board of Directors continues to function as the OPTN Board of Directors.
  2. To ratify amendments to the Bylaws of the Corporation, which have been adopted by the Board of Directors since the Annual Meeting of Members on March 8, 2016.
  3. To transact such other business as may properly come before the Annual Meeting or any adjournment thereof.

Members of record at the close of business on January 27, 2017, have the right to receive notice of and vote at the 2017 Annual Meeting and any adjournment thereof. In addition, those who are admitted as Members on or before March 7, 2017, will be allowed to vote at the meeting and any adjournment thereof.

Board election to be held electronically

OPTN/UNOS member voting representatives will be able to cast ballots electronically for the Annual Meeting. UNOS has partnered with VoteNet Solutions Inc., an election software company, to allow voting representatives to view the Board ballot online and register their votes via a secure web application. Voting representatives will receive by e-mail a link to the ballot and supporting information about the nominees, and log in information. The voting application will open February 7 and will close on March 7 at 9:00 a.m.

Over the past year, the OPTN/UNOS Board of Directors engaged in an assessment of its composition and needs. The Board is putting forth the below slate of candidates in order to make improvements in the following:

  1. Appropriate skill sets. As the Board will embark in the coming year on revising the next three-year strategic plan and bidding for the next OPTN contract, we seek individuals with knowledge of corporate and non-profit governance and strategic planning.
  2. Diversity of minority and gender representation on the Board. The Board recognizes that its composition should reflect the population it serves.
  3. Diversity in transplant professions. As we consider complex policy issues, we recognize the need for experts in transplant surgery and medicine, organ procurement, histocompatibility testing, hospital and healthcare finances and management, public health, law, and ethics.
  4. Balance in patient and donor representatives. We want to ensure that we have a good balance of voices from patients, donors, and their family members. For this reason, we have elected to structure the ballot in a way that ensures we will have sufficient representation of living donors and deceased donor family members in the coming year.

The Board asks for members and member electors to take this diversity and balance into consideration when voting on the ballot as a whole.

On Tuesday, February 7 at 12:00 p.m. ET, voting representatives will receive an email from with details relating to how they will receive their voting credentials and materials for the 2017 BoD election. All questions regarding the process should be directed to

Share your feedback about policy proposals out for public comment

You have a voice in shaping US organ transplant policy


The Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) is offering six proposals for public comment beginning on Monday, January 23. Proposals include:

  • National liver review board
  • Liver review board guidance:
    • Adult MELD exception review
    • Pediatric exception review
    • HCC exception review
  • Improving en bloc kidney allocation
  • Dual kidney concept paper
  • Histocompatibility lab policy and bylaws guidance
  • Bylaws rewrite – board of directors structure and recruitment process

View all proposals now

Narrated public comment presentations available

PowerPoint presentations with spoken narration are also available to provide additional context to the proposals out for public comment. View the presentations on UNOS Connect >

Join the conversation

We encourage patients, transplant candidates and recipients, living donors, donor families and transplant professionals to learn more about the proposals and provide valuable feedback to help shape U.S. organ transplant policy.

Comments and replies will be published the OPTN website, to promote transparency and trust in the national transplant system. Visitors can also share comments on social media, if they wish.

The deadline for feedback is March 24, 2017. The committees sponsoring the proposals review and consider every comment before developing final proposals for a vote by the OPTN/UNOS Board of Directors.

U.S. organ transplants, deceased donors set record in 2016

New record set: 33,608 organ transplants in 2016

Organ transplants performed in the United States in 2016 reached a new record high for the fourth consecutive year, according to preliminary data from United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS). UNOS serves as the national Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) under federal contract. For the year, 33,606 transplants were reported, representing an 8.5 percent increase over the 2015 total and an increase of 19.8 percent since 2012.

“Thousands more men, women and children are receiving a life-saving transplant opportunity each year,” said Stuart Sweet, M.D., Ph.D., President of the OPTN/UNOS Board of Directors. “We are deeply grateful to all who have chosen to help others through the life-saving act of organ donation. We are also very conscious that many more people are still anxiously awaiting a transplant, so we must continue to work with our partners in the donation and transplant community to meet the needs of those who continue to wait.”

The growth in overall transplants was largely driven by an increase of 9.2 percent in the number of deceased donors from 2015 to 2016, continuing a six-year trend of annual increases. Many deceased donors provide multiple organs for transplantation. Approximately 82 percent (27,628) of the transplants involved organs from deceased donors. The remaining 18 percent (5,978) were performed with organs from living donors.

US transplants increased 20% over last five years  

“This increase in organ transplants is partly a realization of an ongoing commitment to improvement at organ procurement organizations, transplant hospitals, and UNOS,” said Brian Shepard, UNOS’ Chief Executive Officer. “Organ transplantation has long been at the forefront of data-driven quality improvement, and OPOs and UNOS are working together on a technology-driven transformation in the way organ donors are identified and recovered.” (See UNOS’ recent public service announcement to promote transplant awareness.)

In addition, an increasing number of deceased donors in 2016 had medical characteristics or a medical history that, in prior years, may have been considered less often by clinicians. These include people who donated after circulatory death as opposed to brain death, as well as donors who died of drug intoxication or those identified as having some increased risk for bloodborne disease.

“While donation and transplant professionals always use their best medical judgment in evaluating donors and organ offers, over the last several years we’ve had success using organs from donors with certain criteria we may not have accepted in the past,” said David Klassen, M.D., UNOS’ Chief Medical Officer. “Among our key goals as the OPTN, working with our members nationwide, is to ensure that as many organs as possible are accepted and used for the patients who will benefit from them the most, while maintaining high levels of patient safety.” (See OPO leaders describe effective practices to increase the number of organs donated.)

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

Phase I of COIIN pilot begins in January

Phase I of the pilot stage of COIIN (Collaborative Innovation and Improvement Network) will begin in January 2017. Visit the COIIN resource page for background information and resources and a current timeline of the project plan.

Nineteen transplant hospitals were selected to participate in the initial pilot phase of the project. COIIN program staff and advisors have completed onsite coaching visits to each of the hospitals to review with them the pilot process, demonstrate the data collection and collaborative learning tools to be used, and prepare them for the Phase I kickoff. Pilot participants will each send representatives to participate in a Phase I kickoff meeting Jan. 10-11 in Richmond, Va.

Phase I of the pilot will involve three action periods for innovation and learning, each focused on a specific topic area: organ offers and acceptance, waitlist management, and care coordination. During each action period, pilot participants will develop and implement a series of 90-day action plans using the PDSA (Plan/Do/Study/Act) methodology. They will track their progress and share information on a collaborative learning website. They will also participate in a virtual learning session to be held in April 2017.

A learning congress will be held near the conclusion of Phase I. The learning congress will focus on key insights and refinements of materials such as the intervention guides. COIIN staff and advisors will incorporate learning and knowledge from Phase I and facilitate discussion with Phase II invitees.

Applications will open in spring 2017 for hospitals wishing to be considered for the second pilot phase of COIIN that will begin in October 2017. Selections for this phase will be made from a combined pool of new applicants and applicants not selected for the first pilot phase. Hospitals who previously applied for consideration will not need to fully re-apply, although updated information may be necessary.

Additional information and updates will be posted soon. For more information, contact Nicole Benjamin, UNOS’ Program Manager for COIIN, by phone at 804-782-4622 or via email at

UNOS researchers examine rise in kidney discard rate

Five UNOS researchers (Darren Stewart, M.S.; Victoria Garcia, M.P.H.; John Rosendale, M.S.; David Klassen, M.D.; and Bob Carrico, Ph.D.) recently analyzed factors underlying the steady increase in discards of deceased donor kidneys recovered for transplantation, most notably in the last decade. Their study is available in the “Early View” (pre-print) online feature of the journal Transplantation.

View the study

The kidney discard rate more than tripled from the late 1980s to 2009, from approximately five percent to nearly 20 percent. The study found that at least 80 percent of the increase in the discard rate can be explained by the expansion of kidney donor criteria and clinical practice changes in biopsies and pump preservation of recovered kidneys. However, these factors did not account for some residual change. The researchers conclude that behavioral factors, such as concern over use of kidneys with greater donor risk, and/or inefficiency in kidney allocation may have played some role. Efforts to reduce risk aversion and improve allocation may help improve utilization, as may more frequent pump perfusion of less-than-ideal but potentially transplantable kidneys.

Nominees Chosen for Board of Directors Election

At its December 2016 meeting, the OPTN/UNOS Board of Directors approved the following slate of nominees for Board appointments beginning in July 2017. The UNOS Board of Directors also functions as the OPTN Board of Directors.

OPTN/UNOS member voting representatives will receive a ballot and biographical information for the nominees in early 2017.

President (vote for one)

  • Yolanda Becker, M.D. , University of Chicago Medical Center

Vice President/President-Elect (vote for one)

  • Sue Dunn,, RN, B.S.N., M.B.A., Donor Alliance
  • Jeffrey Orlowski, M.S., CPTC, LifeShare Donor Services of Oklahoma

Treasurer (vote for one)

  • David Axelrod, M.D., M.B.A., FACS, Vidant Medical Center
  • David Reich, M.D., FACS, Hahnemann University Hospital

Immediate Past President (vote for one)

  • Stuart Sweet, M.D., Ph.D., St. Louis Children’s Hospital

Regional Councillors (vote for five)

  • Region 1 Stefan Tullius, M.D., Ph.D., Brigham and Women’s Hospital
  • Region 2 Matthew Cooper, M.D., Georgetown University Medical Center
  • Region 8 Timothy Schmitt, M.D., FACS , University of Kansas Hospital
  • Region 10 Todd Pesavento, M.D., Ohio State University Medical Center
  • Region 11 Kenneth Brayman, M.D., Ph.D., University of Virginia Health System

Minority Transplant (vote for one)

  • Juan Carlos Caicedo, M.D., Professional Representative Northwestern Memorial Hospital
  • Akinlolu Ojo, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D., M.B.A. University of Michigan Medical Center

Patient and Donor Affairs Representatives (Donor Family) (vote for one)

  • Tara Storch
  • Bob Veith, B.S., M.S. 

Patient and Donor Affairs Representatives (Living Donor) (vote for two)

  • William Freeman, M.D., M.P.H.
  • Macey Henderson, J.D., Ph.D.
  • Heather Hunt, J.D.
  • Megan Lewis, Ph.D.

At Large OPO Representative (vote for one)

  • Charles Alexander, RN, M.B.A., The Living Legacy Foundation of Maryland

Histocompatibility Representative (vote for one)

  • John Schmitz, Ph.D., Histocompatibility Laboratory at UNC Hospitals

Transplant Coordinator Representative (vote for one)

  • F. Danyel Gooch, M.S.N., RN, CCTC, Indiana University Health

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