Donor Network West is a federally designated nonprofit, 501(c)3, organ procurement and tissue recovery organization. Established in 1987, we serve more than 13 million people and connect a donor’s gift to those in need in 45 counties in Northern California and Nevada.
Organ, eye, and tissue donation offers the hope to heal. The generous decisions of donors and their families allow us to recover and allocate organs and tissues for transplantation and research. We are able to carry out our mission of saving and healing lives thanks to our partnership with 175 hospitals, doctors, nurses, more than 500 funeral homes and 44 coroners and medical examiners.
Donor Network West is a Donate Life organization accredited by the Association of Organ Procurement Organizations (AOPO) and the American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB). We are also a member of Donate Life California and Donate Life Nevada.
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).