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Donor Network West and San Ramon Regional Announce Innovative Organ Recovery Partnership

Donor Network West(San Ramon, CA) February 12, 2016 – Donor Network West, the organ procurement organization that heals lives through organ and tissue donation in northern California and Nevada, announced a partnership with San Ramon Regional Medical Center. Under the collaboration, the first of its kind in California, specific organ donors will be transferred to the hospital’s facilities as a way to accommodate a more certain time frame for donor families for the recovery of organs.

Organ recovery has traditionally been performed at community hospitals, utilizing the hospital’s resources. Many times, the requested time frame from donor families is difficult to accommodate within the busy hospital setting. This agreement allows for the transplant team to complete recoveries at San Ramon Regional’s on-campus Ambulatory Surgery Center, located across the street from Donor Network West’s headquarters.

“Honoring and respecting the donors and families that we serve is at the core of our mission. This change in practice will help relieve some of the organ recovery timing stress for these families and allow for better planning during a very difficult time,” says Cindy Siljestrom, CEO of Donor Network West.

Donor Network West partners with 175 hospitals in 40 counties. Along with a more certain time frame for donor families, transferring specific organ donors to San Ramon Regional Medical Center will improve the logistical challenges of transporting staff and surgeons across the region.

“We are excited to partner with the Donor Network to perform this important work, and look forward to continuing to serve the citizens of the tri-valley and beyond,” said Gary Sloan, CEO of San Ramon Regional Medical Center.

In celebration of this new partnership, and as a symbol of San Ramon Regional Medical Center’s commitment to saving lives, the Donate Life flag will be raised at the hospital. The flag pays tribute to donors and recipients whose lives have been touched by organ, eye and tissue donation.

There are 10,600 people waiting for an organ transplant in northern California and Nevada, of which 900 reside in Contra Costa County. One organ donor can save the lives of up to eight people and a tissue donor can heal more than 50 others. Anyone can register as a donor at or at the DMV.

About Donor Network West
Donor Network West saves and heals lives by facilitating organ and tissue recovery for transplantation. The organization was established in 1987, and is an official Donate Life organization accredited by the Association of Organ Procurement Organizations (AOPO) and the American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB). Federally designated to serve 40 counties in northern California and Nevada, Donor Network West partners with the Department of Motor Vehicles and the state-authorized donor registries. For information, visit, follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook.

About San Ramon Regional Medical Center
San Ramon Regional Medical Center is a 123-bed, acute-care hospital with 24-hour emergency care, inpatient and outpatient services. After undergoing an on‐site evaluation and demonstrating compliance with nationally developed standards for stroke care, San Ramon Regional has earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval™ for certification as a Primary Stroke Center, serving as a Stroke Receiving Hospital for Contra Costa County. Other hospital programs include: Blood Conservation, Breast Center, Cardiac Care, Cancer Care, Diabetes & Nutrition Services, Birthing Center, Orthopedics, Pediatrics, Spine & Joint Treatment, a Wound Care Center and Outpatient Therapy Services. For more information, visit


Donate Life California Starts 2016 with New President

SAN DIEGO, Calif., Jan. 20, 2016 – Monica Johnson has been elected to a two-year term as President of the Board of Directors of Donate Life California, which administers the nation’s largest registry of organ, eye and tissue donors.

Donate Life California was established in 2004 to oversee a computer database on which people register their decision to be organ, eye and tissue donors. Since then, more than 12.8 million people have added their names on the registry as potential donors; 95 percent have done so through the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and have a pink “DONOR” dot on their driver license or ID card.

Johnson has served on the Donate Life California board since 2011. She is the Executive Director of Sierra Donor Services, the nonprofit organ, eye and tissue donor recovery agency serving nearly four million people in Northern California and Nevada.

“It’s my honor and privilege to serve California as the President of the Board for Donate Life California,” said Johnson. “The California state donor registry continues to be the largest registry in the country at nearly 13 million and we’ll continue to pursue efforts to increase the numbers on the registry. Nearly 20 percent of the national organ transplant waiting list resides in California and we have an obligation and the opportunity to help save and heal the lives of thousands who wait. With the generosity of the diverse communities we serve, we can make this a reality.”

Sierra Donor Services and three other federally-designated nonprofits in the state, Donor Network West, Lifesharing and OneLegacy, support families giving the gift of life as well as provide public education about donation. The Donate Life California board includes representatives from each of the four organizations.

Johnson has been in the organ donation and transplantation field for nearly 25 years. Before becoming Executive Director of Sierra Donor Services, she held leadership positions at Pacific Northwest Transplant Bank in Portland, Oregon and LifeCenter Northwest in Bellevue, Washington. Johnson is a registered nurse and holds an MS in Management from Antioch University in Seattle, WA and earned her BS in Social and Behavioral Sciences from Linfield College in McMinnville, OR.

Californians can register to be donors by checking “YES!” at the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or by signing up at

Fast Facts from Donate Life California:

  • One in five on the national organ transplant waiting list (121,675) lives in California.
  • More than 29,000 people in the U.S. begin new lives each year thanks to organ transplants (about 81 transplants every day).
  • 22 people die each day because the life-saving organ they needed did not become available in time.

About Donate Life California:

Donate Life California is the nonprofit, state-authorized organ, eye and tissue donor registry. Individuals can add their name to the registry by checking “YES!” every time they renew/apply for their driver license or ID card at the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). This ensures their desire to donate life will be carried out. A pink “DONOR” dot is added to their driver license or ID as a symbol of their decision. Individuals can also sign up online at or As a public service, the registry ensures all personal information is kept confidential and stored in a secure database, accessible only to authorized organ and tissue recovery personnel at the time of an actual donation opportunity. The registry is administered by Donate Life California and California’s four nonprofit, federally designated organ procurement organizations (OPOs): Donor Network West, Lifesharing, OneLegacy and Sierra Donor Services.

Media Contact: Brianne Mundy Page, 858-220-8351,

CEO Blog: Thank You and a Fond Farewell

Happy New Year!

2016 looks to be our best year yet – we are closing in on 13 million registered organ, eye and tissue donors in California – people who said “YES!” to Donate Life! When I started as CEO of Donate Life California in October 2011, we had just 8 million registered donors. What a tremendous and impressive four years it’s been, and it’s all because of the dedication and teamwork of the Donate Life California community and partners I have been so fortunate to work with.

As announced in November, I am retiring on January 15. As I enter my final days here, I am confident that the growth of the registry will continue on an upward trajectory under the leadership of a new CEO, the incredibly supportive Donate Life California Board of Directors and the talented, newly-formed Board of Advisors.

In just over four years, our partnership with the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has become stronger than ever. I can’t thank DMV Director Jean Shiomoto and her entire DMV team enough for embracing the Donate Life mission amidst their many responsibilities to keep Californians safe behind the wheel.

Meanwhile, newer partnerships with the California Highway Patrol, the California Peace Officers’ Memorial Foundation, California firefighters, the California Hospital Association, the Medical Board of California and more will continue to grow and provide new avenues for outreach and education.

Two pieces of legislation passed in 2012 and 2014 that focus on educating high school students about organ, eye and tissue donation and secure mobile, electronic registration will also ensure continued growth of the registry.

I have been humbled and inspired by the entire Donate Life community – from the volunteer Donate Life Ambassadors who share their stories as transplant recipients, donor family members and living donors, to the staff at California’s four organ procurement organizations (OPOs), Donor Network West, Lifesharing, OneLegacy and Sierra Donor Services, who we collaborate with to deliver the message that organ, eye and tissue donation saves and heals lives.

It has been such a joy to come to work each day to lead our talented and committed Donate Life California team in a mission we all embrace and love.

While I look forward to spending more time with my family and embarking on new adventures, I will continue to be involved in and supportive of the Donate Life mission as a member of the University of California Board of Regents and through my involvement with California Women Lead and San Diego Rotary Club 33.

Thanks, most of all, to each and every one of you for saying “YES!” to organ, eye and tissue donation. Together, we can and we will inspire all Californians to DONATE LIFE.

With thanks and appreciation,

Charlene electronic signature



Charlene Zettel
CEO, Donate Life California


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