Gift of Life Donor Program

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Howard M. Nathan
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Location: Philadelphia, PA
Founded: 1974
Industry: Healthcare, nonprofit, organ procurement organization

Gift of Life Donor Program

Howard M. Nathan
President and CEO

Gift of Life Donor Program is one of the oldest and largest of 58 organ procurement organizations (OPOs) in the U.S. Since the nonprofit’s inception in 1974, it has coordinated more than 40,000 organ transplants and more than 650,000 tissue transplants in the region. In addition to Gift of Life’s clinical work, it trains transplant and donation professionals through the Gift of Life Institute. And through the Gift of Life Family House, the organization supports family members of those who are receiving treatment. “My motivation has always been that Gift of Life Donor Program has to be the voice of those people and those families who are on the waiting list, because they have no voice in hospitals where someone is going to die,” says president and CEO Howard M. Nathan.

Quick Tip: “Remember the mission, and do not take ‘no’ for an answer.”

Nathan says that each year, 120,000 people on the national waiting list die waiting for an organ transplant in the U.S., due in part to the fact that only about 2 percent of people who die are medically suitable to be organ donors. That’s why the nonprofit pioneered the mandatory routine referral policy, which eventually became federal regulation. Under the policy, hospitals are required to contact an OPO near the time of every single death to determine if that person could be a donor. The regulation also added the organ-donor designation to licenses.