Honor From MTF Biologics and AOPO Recognizes Organ Procurement Organization Serving Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia for Its Exemplary Support of Donor Families

Edison, N.J. (March 13, 2020) – MTF Biologics and the Association of Organ Procurement Organizations (AOPO) recently awarded the Katie Coolican-Nicholas Miller Donor Care Award for Excellence in Donor Family Support to the Center for Organ Recovery & Education (CORE). CORE was chosen as the recipient of this honor for its commitment to providing excellent support to donor families during and after the donation process, and its donor family materials that offer a caring message and helpful information to families.  

“The Katie Coolican-Nicholas Miller Donor Care Award celebrates those who have provided excellent donor family support through advocacy and education,” said Kelly Ranum, President of AOPO. “We are pleased to present this award to such a compassionate and dedicated organization.”  

The Katie Coolican-Nicholas Miller Donor Care Award for Excellence in Donor Family Support is named in honor of two children whose lives were cut short but who made a difference in the lives of others through donation. Katie Coolican’s eyes and kidneys were donated after she suffered a fatal aneurysm at the age of 6. For more than 35 years, Katie’s family have been fierce advocates for donor family support. Katie’s mother, Maggie Coolican, was the founder of the National Kidney Foundation’s (NKF) Donor Family Council and creator of NKF’s donor family quilts. She was the driving force behind the Donor Family Bill of Rights which was adopted throughout the donation community. She worked as a Donor Family Services Coordinator at LifeChoice Donor Services and as Coordinator of Donor Family Services at MTF Biologics.

Nicholas Miller, a heart transplant recipient, died just short of his second birthday and became an identified eye donor. Nicholas’ mother, Jayne Miller, had a decades-long career in donation and transplantation including Vice President of Donor Services at MTF Biologics. She was instrumental in the development of MTF Biologics’ donor family centered philosophy, and the inception of MTF’s Nicholas Miller Award and NKF Donor Care Award.  She and her husband, Tom, have been long-time proponents of ensuring all donor family members receive the highest level of care and respect possible. 

CORE, together with its co-nominees, Dr. Jonathan Elmer and Dr. Bradley Molyneaux, have partnered together to create a donor-centered infrastructure that proactively supports the social and emotional needs of donor families. As a result, they have successfully increased the number of families who have found solace in organ donation and the number of individuals who have since received a second chance at life.

“Organizations like CORE are on the front lines of communicating with families about organ and tissue donation, and their ability to support a family with compassion and understanding through a difficult time is critical,” said Martha Anderson, Executive Vice President, Donor Services at MTF Biologics. “CORE’s efforts to honor donors, enhance communication about organ and tissue donation, and provide families with ongoing support in the face of devastating loss are a model for our field. We can’t think of a better organization to honor the legacies of Katie and Nicholas and their families.” 

“CORE is delighted that Doctors Elmer and Molyneaux, because of their visionary leadership and compassion for donor families, were selected to receive this prestigious award,” said Susan Stuart, CORE President and CEO. “Organ donation and transplantation depend on innovators like Doctors Elmer and Molyneaux. As clinical leaders and administrative champions, they have reinforced an already strong culture of donation at UPMC. And as a result, more families have found comfort amidst tragedy through organ donation.”

A single donor can save the lives of up to eight people through organ donation and heal the lives of more than 75 others through tissue donation. To register to become an organ and tissue donor, please visit registerme.org.

About MTF Biologics

MTF Biologics is a global nonprofit organization that saves and heals lives by honoring donated gifts, serving patients and advancing science. It provides exceptional service, resources, and expertise to donors and their loved ones who give the gift of donation; patients who depend on tissue and organ transplants; healthcare providers who care for donors and recipients; and, clinicians and scientists advancing medicine through transplantation science and research. 

About AOPO

AOPO is the non-profit, national organization representing all 58 federally designated organ procurement organizations (OPOs) in the US. The association represents and serves the OPOs through advocacy, support and development of activities that will maximize the availability of organs and tissues and enhance the quality, effectiveness and integrity of the donation process.

About CORE

The Center for Organ Recovery & Education (CORE) is one of 58 federally designated not-for-profit organ procurement organizations (OPOs) in the United States, serving more than five million people in western Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Chemung County, New York. CORE coordinates the recovery and matching of organs, tissues and corneas for transplant within our service region and works tirelessly to create a culture of donation within the hospitals and communities we serve. CORE’s mission is to Save and Heal lives through donation, ultimately ending the deaths of those on the transplant waiting list, while maintaining integrity for the donation process, dignity for the donors, and compassion for their families. CORE is a winner of the 2019 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, a presidential-level award that recognizes non-profits for their innovation and excellence. For more information, visit core.org or call 1-800-DONORS-7.