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GCN : October 2015
34 GCN OCTOBER 2015 • GCN.COM In October 2014, Ohio launched a project that would help the 123,000 Americans on the national waiting list for a life-saving organ transplant while also educating Ohioans about the important decision of becoming an organ donor. The Swipe to Donate Life program was a collaboration between the Ohio Department of Public Safety (ODPS) and Donate Life Ohio, the state’s coali- tion of four of the 58 nationwide organ procurement organizations (OPOs) in the country. According to Marilyn Pongonis, director of communications at Colum- bus-based OPO Lifeline of Ohio, 99 percent of the state’s registered organ donors signed up when they were get- ting or renewing their driver’s licenses at a local Bureau of Motor Vehicles. Four in 10 Ohioans, however, do not sign up to be organ donors. Many people are not ready to make that decision or they have questions or are unsure what it means to be an organ donor — and it’s not the BMV’s job to provide them with that information. Additionally, the BMV registration process lacks the option for would-be donors to specify whether they would like to be an organ, eye and/or tissue donor, which causes most registrants to unknowingly sign up for all three. That is where OPOs come in. Staff members and volunteers go to state functions and public events — such as college football games, state and coun- ty fairs, and health expos — to educate and register interested individuals in the organ donor program. Previously, that meant carrying HELPING OHIOANS UNDERSTAND AND EMBRACE ORGAN DONATION The Swipe to Donate Life project used existing systems to build a much better process and reach more would-be organ donors 1015gcn_020-038.indd 34 10/5/15 10:41 AM
January and February 2016