Category Archives: News

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

 

Donate Life California CEO Charlene Zettel to Retire

Search Underway for Successor

SAN DIEGO, Calif., Nov. 3, 2015 – Donate Life California, the state-authorized organ, eye and tissue donor registry, today announced that Charlene Zettel, Donate Life California’s CEO, will retire on January 15, 2016. The Donate Life California board of directors has begun the search for a successor.

“Charlene has provided tremendous leadership and direction to Donate Life California,” said Cindy Siljestrom, Donate Life California board president. “Her efforts have given hope to the thousands who wait for life-healing transplants. The search for her successor will be extensive and we are committed to finding the right person to fill this very important role.”

“It has indeed been an honor to lead this organization and work side-by-side with so many compassionate individuals who help to grow the registry and who make the miracles of organ donation and transplantation possible,” said Charlene. “My retirement is bittersweet – I look forward to new adventures but my heart will remain devoted to the life-saving mission of Donate Life California, our dedicated board of directors and staff.”

Charlene joined Donate Life California as CEO October 3, 2011. Under her leadership, the registry has grown from 8.5 million registered organ, eye and tissue donors to nearly 13 million. In addition, Charlene led several successful legislative efforts including the passage of two key bills: AB 1967 (J. Pérez, 2012), Organ Donation Education, and AB 2399 (J. Pérez, 2014), eRegistration. AB 1967 ensures that the health and science education frameworks include the subject of organ procurement and tissue donation, as appropriate. The goal is to educate California students about the importance of organ, eye and tissue donation so they are able to make informed decisions about registering as organ, eye and tissue donors when asked this mandatory question on their DMV driver license/ID card application form. AB 2399, or eRegistration, is the first law in the nation to allow a Donate Life organization to securely and electronically read encrypted information from a driver license/ID card via a mobile device for the purpose of registering individuals as organ, eye and tissue donors.

Charlene will continue to serve as a gubernatorial appointee on the Board of Regents of the University of California.

Charlene began her career in public service in 1992 when she was elected to the Poway Unified School District Board of Education. In 1998, she became the first Republican Latina to be elected to the state legislature. In addition to elected state service, Charlene has served as the director of the San Diego Office of the Governor, as a public interest director of the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco, as the director of the California Department of Consumer Affairs, and as an executive board member of the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority.

Individuals interested in the CEO position may learn more at www.donateLIFEcalifornia.org/careers/.

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

Fast Facts from Donate Life California:

  • One in five on the national organ transplant waiting list (122,640) 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 www.donateLIFEcalifornia.org or www.doneVIDAcalifornia.org. 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.

Contact: Brianne Mundy Page, 858-220-8351, brianne@donateLIFEcalifornia.org

Life-saving Organ Donation Surges in California

Donate Life California logo 200SAN DIEGO, Calif., Sept. 1, 2015 – Donate Life California, the nonprofit, state-authorized organ, eye and tissue donor registry, today announced that life-saving organ donation has increased 8 percent in California hospitals in the past 12 months, and the first six months of the year 2015 has seen an impressive 12 percent surge when compared to the past three-year average. All four California organ procurement organizations (OPOs) report increases this year, with OneLegacy (Greater Los Angeles) up 18 percent, Sierra Donor Services (Sacramento) up 14 percent, Lifesharing (San Diego) up 10 percent, and Donor Network West (Northern/Western California) up 6 percent.

“We credit this growth to the collaboration of hospitals, physicians, and their OPOs,” said Tom Mone, CEO of OneLegacy, the organ recovery organization for the seven-county greater Los Angeles area. “We all work together to help families incorporate donation into end-of-life care plans, and the OPOs have stepped up efforts to be on-site to assist hospital staff, doctors and families to Donate Life. The growth of the Donate Life California Organ & Tissue Donor Registry, with nearly 12.5 million registrants, has also been a major factor.”

“These increases are welcome news to the nearly 22,000 people awaiting organ transplants in California,” said Charlene Zettel, CEO of Donate Life California. “We applaud our hospitals and OPOs for their commitment to saving lives. Imagine how many more lives they could save if every Californian signed up to Donate Life.”

2012-2015 Organ Donor Statistics California’s OPOs

Organ donation surge table

Donor 2012-April 2015 Data Source: http://optn.transplant.hrsa.gov/converge/latestData/viewDataReports.asp; accessed 7/20/15; supplemented with May-June 2015 donor data from each OPO.

The state’s 20 certified transplant centers are currently caring for more than 23,000 patients waiting for organ transplants, which is nearly 18 percent of the U.S. transplant waiting list and well beyond the state’s 12 percent of the nation’s population. At the same time, California has one of the nation’s youngest and healthiest populations with a long life span, so organ donor potential is 21 percent lower than the country as a whole. As a result of these demographic factors, average waiting time for transplants in California is the longest in the country; a challenge that has brought the California Hospital Association (CHA) and the OPOs together to improve national organ allocation rules to reduce these long waits and save more lives through organ, eye and tissue donation.

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

Fast Facts from Donate Life California:

  • One in five on the national organ transplant waiting list 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.

Contacts: Brianne Mundy Page, Donate Life California, 858-220-8351, brianne@donateLIFEcalifornia.org; Tom Mone, OneLegacy, 424-298-0229, tdmone@onelegacy.org.

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 www.donateLIFEcalifornia.org or www.doneVIDAcalifornia.org. 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.

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