About Donor Network West

Our Mission

Donor Network West saves and heals lives through organ and tissue donation. We honor and respect the donors and families we serve with compassionate care, and inspire our communities to donate life.

Our Vision

Our vision is to be the premier community resource for organ and tissue donation in our service area.  We will provide excellent and compassionate support and service to the public and health care professionals who serve them in the hope that each person will choose to be a donor.

Who We Are

Donor Network West is proud to be the third largest federally designated organ procurement organization and one of the largest tissue recovery organizations in the nation. Donor Network West has connected donors’ gifts to those in need since 1987.

What We Do

Donor Network West works in close partnership with families, doctors, nurses, more than 500 funeral homes, and 44 coroners and medical examiners to connect donors to recipients, because every donation is a generous, powerful gift that can save and heal the life of someone in need.

Saving and Healing Lives Everyday

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Service Area: Northern California and Nevada

175 hospitals, including 5 transplant centers:

As well as more than 13 million people in 40 countries in northern California and Nevada.

Read Our Story

In 1984, Congress passed the National Organ Transplant Act (NOTA), authored by then-Congressman Al Gore of Tennessee.

This piece of legislation addressed the critical shortage of deceased donor organs in the United States as well as the need for improvements in the recovery and placement of these organs.

The act called for the establishment of a national organ matching system as well as the establishment of a network of private, nonprofit organizations under federal contract which would be in charge of regional recovery and placement of donor organs.

Previously, in the 1970s and early 1980s, transplant centers coordinated their own recoveries with some programs sharing organs with each other on a regional basis.  In 1986, the Northern California Transplant Bank (NCTB) was founded to coordinate donation in hospitals on behalf of the transplant programs.

In 1987, an executive committee of high-level hospital administrators of the four major transplant centers in Northern California came together to develop an independent Organ Procurement Organization (OPO) in response to NOTA.

The resulting structure became known as California Transplant Donor Network (CTDN), whose mission was based on recovering organs for transplantation while NCTB’s mission remained focused on tissue recovery.

Phyllis Weber was appointed executive director of CTDN, and in the first year recruited 15 employees whose functions were a combination of hospital education and donor management.

In the first few years, CTDN focused much of its energy on educating donor hospital staff regarding the process of organ donation. As the donor referral and donor management processes improved, CTDN extended its efforts towards public education and family services in a continuing effort to increase consent rates to provide more lifesaving organ transplants.

In 2007, Phyllis Weber retired as executive director of CTDN after serving the organization for 20 years. Cynthia Siljestrom was appointed as CEO in April 2008.

In 2010, CTDN expanded its operations and began recovering tissues on behalf of the Musculoskeletal Transplant Foundation (MTF), Tissue Banks International (TBI), and Community Tissue Services (CTS).

California Transplant Donor Network became the single point of contact for both organ and tissue recovery within its donation service area. With the combination of these recovery services, CTDN was able to increase donation rates while making the process easier for hospitals and donor families.

On March 24, 2015 California Transplant Donor Network changed its name to Donor Network West. Our new name better identifies our organization, and more accurately describes our area of expertise. Our name captures our commitment to practicing excellence and compassion in the journey of the donated gift.

Donor Network West is proud to be a federally designated OPO, a Donate Life Organization, an accredited member of the Association of Organ Procurement Organizations (AOPO), an accredited member of the American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB), and a member of the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS).

Donor Network West serves 175 hospitals, five transplant centers, 44 coroners and medical examiner offices, more than 500 funeral homes, and the public in northern California and Nevada.

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