Medical Center representatives A number of UC Davis Health System employees attended a recent ceremony where the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services honored hospitals that have achieved and maintained an organ donation rate of at least 75 percent of eligible donors.

UC Davis Medical Center is among nearly 400 of the nation's largest hospitals recently awarded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for their success in increasing organ donation rates at their facilities.

Hospital executives, together with their partners in 57 federally designated organ procurement organizations, received the department's Medal of Honor for Organ Donation for achieving and sustaining a donation rate of 75 percent or more of eligible donors. They were recognized during the Third National Learning Congress on Organ Donation and Transplantation held in Nashville, Tenn. last month.

"We are pleased and proud to see the incredible progress of our nation's hospitals in increasing donation rates," said Elizabeth M. Duke, administrator of HHS' Health Resources and Services Administration, which houses the federal government's organ-donation activities. "In just four years, the number of hospitals that have achieved the 75-percent rate has soared from 55 to 392, a remarkable accomplishment."

The record gains follow the administration's 2003 launch of the Organ Donation Breakthrough Collaborative. The collaborative brings together donation professionals and hospital leaders to identify and share best practices to integrate organ donation into the hospital's end-of-life continuum of care. Staff from the administration and organ procurement organizations help participating hospitals identify, adapt, test and implement practices essential to an effective and family-centered donation program.

The 392 winning hospitals come from a pool of 716 hospitals that met eligibility criteria. This represented hospitals with eight or more potential organ donors during the 26-month award period ending in June 2007 who sustained a donation rate of 75 percent or more from among eligible donors for at least a year.

The success of the Breakthrough Collaboratives has made it possible to transplant 4,146 more organs in 2006 than in 2003. In 2006, 31,184 organs were transplanted during 28,923 organ transplant operations. Of the total number of transplanted organs, 24,461 came from deceased donors (78.4 percent), and 6,723 were from living donors (21.6 percent).

To help hospitals successfully transplant more organs, a new collaborative – the Transplant Growth and Management Collaborative – met for the first time at the Nashville Learning Congress with the goal of transplanting 35,000 deceased donor organs in a single year, 43 percent more than in 2006. A Health Resources and Services Administration report that describes best practices for helping hospitals transplant more organs while maintaining successful outcomes was presented at the meeting.

The report will be posted at Additional information on donation initiatives is available at that Web site.