In recent years, the United States has experienced a tremendous increase in the demand for organ and tissue donations. While the need for organ and tissue donations has grown astronomically, the number of donors has not. The shortage of donations has reached unprecedented levels. According to UNOS (United Network for Organ Sharing), more than 90,000 people nationally are currently waiting for an organ or tissue transplant; every 14 minutes a new name will be added to the list; and every day 12 people die in the United States because they failed to receive a transplant in time.

One donor can help the lives of 100 people through organ and tissue donations, i.e.; heart, kidney, lung, pancreas, middle ear, cornea, small intestines, tendons, cartilage, eyes, bones and bone marrow. Some of these donations can be made by the living, while others can obviously only be made by someone who has passed away.

Now, more than ever, it is imperative that we as Nevadans and as a society recognize the importance of organ and tissue donation. The Task Force seeks to encourage all Nevadans to pledge the gift of life by becoming an organ and tissue donor.

During the 2001 Legislative session, the Attorney General, Frankie Sue Del Papa,  testified in support of Assembly Bill 497, which was sponsored by Assemblywoman Dawn Gibbons and Senator Ray Rawson and several of their colleagues. Assembly Bill 497 requires the Department of Motor Vehicles to work in conjunction with the Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection to create and maintain an accurate list of individuals who have pledged to be organ donors. This will allow candidates to receive their transplants in a shorter amount of time, ease the burden of family members, and provide support to transplant services. 

During the 2005 Legislative Session, Co-Chairs Frankie Sue Del Papa and Dawn Gibbons worked for the support and passage of Assembly Bill 234, which was sponsored by Assemblywoman Heidi Gansert.  Assembly Bill 234 transferred the duties pertaining to the Anatomical Gift Account and anatomical gifts from the Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection to the University of Nevada School of Medicine.

The Task Force hopes to continue accomplishing the following goals:

  • To continue with an aggressive, proactive campaign to educate and inform the public about the need for organ and tissue donation
  • To work with a contracted organization and the Nevada DMV Offices to maintain the state organ donor registry
  • To implement a donor education program for Nevada schools, especially in driver’s education classes · 
  • To partner with the Nevada DMV Offices throughout the state to display reader boards, posters and other methods to promote organ donor awareness
  • To promote the Nevada organ donor license plates
  • To increase the awareness of health care professionals about the critical role they play in the organ donation process
  • To promote collaboration and communication among local organizations, thereby creating a solid foundation of grass-roots support for organ donation
  • To work with federal, state and local government agencies and other interested parties to form and implement policy initiatives that will assist in meeting these goals

       To continue accomplishing these goals, we must continue our efforts to better educate the public about the tremendous need for organ and tissue donation. The Task Force will work in conjunction with various media outlets to help accomplish this goal. Public Service Announcements have been and continue to be an invaluable tool in this process, as well as brochures, media presentations and news releases. 

The Task Force will also focus on better educating health care professionals about the critical role they play in organ and tissue donation. It is essential that health professionals who provide support or primary care to critically injured individuals and others become an important player in the process of providing information to family members about the benefits of organ and tissue donation.

The Task Force must also work to strengthen grass roots efforts through partnerships with the Nevada League of Cities, Nevada Association of Counties and additional organizations that can assist in educating the public at the local level, as well as with helping to distribute information to Nevada’s rural communities.

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