Transplant Growth Collaboration in New Jersey Drives Progress and Innovation in Organ Donation and Transplantation

Transplant Centers and Hospitals from Throughout the U.S. Came Together to Share Best Practices to Save More Lives

(Red Bank, NJ) – On May 31, 2024, NJ Sharing Network hosted its first-ever Transplant Growth Collaboration meeting, bringing together C-suite and senior transplant program and hospital leaders from across the nation. The event, held at the Oyster Point Hotel in Red Bank, NJ, was a resounding success, providing a platform for the exchange of innovative practices aimed at increasing the rate of successful transplantations and saving more lives.

Endorsed by the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) and hosted by NJ Sharing Network, the collaboration included representatives from all six New Jersey transplant centers and eight of New York’s transplant centers. The event facilitated critical discussions aimed at overcoming challenges and identifying effective practices to increase deceased donor organ transplants.

“We believe this event and future Transplant Growth Collaborations have the potential to revolutionize the way transplants are conducted,” said Carolyn M. Welsh, MS, President and CEO, NJ Sharing Network. “We took pride in hosting this event in New Jersey as we have experienced five consecutive years of organ donation growth thanks to our healthcare partners and the generosity of those in the Garden State who say ‘YES’ to giving the gift of life. This collaboration is a significant step towards driving positive change and saving more lives through collective action and innovation.”

The event featured presentations and discussions on successful transplant programs, including Hackensack University Medical Center’s nationally leading kidney transplant program, known for its exceptional growth and patient outcomes. Attendees gained insights into effective strategies and best practices that have contributed to significant growth and improved patient outcomes, while also addressing barriers to transplant program growth and exploring potential solutions.

In 2023, the OPTN created the Expeditious Task Force to develop pathways to increase the number of successful transplants and improve organ allocation efficiency. The Task Force has set a bold aim of increasing the number of deceased donor transplants from 39,680 in 2023 to 60,000 in 2026. Dianne LaPointe Rudow, ANP-BC, DNP, FAAN, OPTN Board President, emphasized that achieving this goal requires the concerted efforts of transplant programs nationwide.

According to United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), there are over 100,000 Americans - nearly 4,000 of whom live in New Jersey - waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant. Just one organ and tissue donor can save 8 lives and enhance the lives of over 75 others. The opportunity to give the gift of life is extremely rare - not everyone who registers as a donor is able to donate after they pass away. In fact, only 3 in 1,000 people pass in a way that allows for deceased organ donation. This underscores the pressing need for more registered donors. To learn more, get involved, and join the National Donate Life Registry as an organ and tissue donor, visit

About the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN)

The Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) is a unique public-private partnership that links all professionals involved in the U.S. donation and transplantation system. Also crucial to the system are individuals who sign organ donor cards, people who comment on policy proposals and countless volunteers who support donation and transplantation, among many others. A driving force of the OPTN is to improve the U.S. system so that more lifesaving organs are available for transplant. Patient safety is at the forefront of activities at transplant hospitals, organ procurement organizations (OPOs) and labs. The OPTN acts through its Board of Directors and committees, who bring a wealth of commitment and technical knowledge to guide us. Committees address issues of concern in the transplant community. The board establishes and maintains transplant policies (operational rules) and bylaws (membership requirements) that govern the OPTN.

About NJ Sharing Network (NJSN)

NJ Sharing Network, headquartered in New Providence, NJ, is the federally designated non-profit organization focused on saving and enhancing lives through the recovery of donated organs and tissue in the Garden State. NJSN partners with an extensive network of 54 local hospitals to provide hope for the nearly 4,000 New Jersey residents currently waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant, and it is part of the national recovery system for the over 100,000 people on the national transplant waiting list. For five consecutive years, NJSN has reported organ donation records, and 3.8 million New Jerseyans are registered as organ and tissue donors, according to the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (NJMVC). Among the top performing organ procurement organizations in the nation, NJSN has been recognized by NJBIZ for six consecutive years as one of the state’s ‘Best Places to Work.’ To learn more, get involved, and join the National Donate Life Registry as an organ and tissue donor, visit



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