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CORE Names Eye Bank Director, Continue Focus on Innovation and Ecxcellence

PITTSBURGH – Jan. 22, 2021 – The Center for Organ Recovery & Education (CORE), the organ procurement organization (OPO) serving western Pennsylvania and West Virginia, has named Anita Gordon, CTBS, as Director of Eye Bank Operations.

In this role, Gordon will lead CORE’s Eye Bank Association of America (EBAA)-accredited onsite eye bank at their Pittsburgh headquarters in its important work restoring sight by providing donor eye tissue for vision-saving corneal transplants, medical education and research. In 2020, CORE coordinated 742 corneal transplants in western Pennsylvania.

“CORE is structured as a complete organ procurement organization, including an onsite eye bank,” said Susan Stuart, president and CEO of CORE. “That makes the cornea transplantation process more efficient and, ultimately, more successful. Gordon will only continue this tradition of success because of her more than 20 years of clinical experience, as well as expertise in process improvement, performance management, regulatory compliance, relationship building and customer satisfaction.”

Gordon had been promoted from her current position of Tissue Recovery Manager, where she oversaw CORE’s day-to-day tissue recovery operations. Gordon is replacing Heather Werner, who had been the Eye Bank director since 2017. During Werner’s tenure, CORE was awarded the 2019 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award and implemented the latest innovations in DMEK and DSAEK processing.

“I am focused on continued innovation,” Gordon said. “In fact, CORE’s Eye Bank is poised to expand our technological offerings for transplant surgeons and corneal transplant patients. I not only look forward to helping more people receive the gift of sight, but I also hope to give more donor families the peace and comfort that donation offers, and which I’ve witnessed first-hand.”

Specifically, the CORE Eye Bank is responsible for recovering ocular tissue from donors, tissue evaluation to determine suitability for surgical use, donor eligibility determination to establish acceptability of tissue for transplant, processing the corneas for the specific needs of each corneal surgeon and their patients, and final distribution of the corneal tissue to the location where the transplant will take place.

“CORE’s ability to offer donor families the opportunity for their loved one to become a cornea donor requires CORE to build and maintain strong partnerships with corneal transplant surgeons, who have an expectation of high-quality corneas for transplant,” said Dr. Hall McGee IV, medical director of CORE’s Eye Division. “Year after year, CORE meets those expectations with the highest performance standards for cornea recovery, processing and availability. I’m confident CORE will continue to do so under Gordon’s leadership.”

Since its founding in 1997, CORE’s Eye Bank has restored sight to nearly 20,000 men, women and children through corneal transplants. With a success rate greater than 95%, the one-hour procedure restores the patient’s sight and his or her quality of life. In fact, it is one of the most common and least invasive transplant procedures.

Gordon holds a bachelor’s degree in Organizational Leadership, has earned her Six Sigma Yellow Belt certification, and spent more than a decade in the OR working in ophthalmic surgery before joining CORE in 2011. Gordon lives north of downtown Pittsburgh with her husband, Rich, and their three teenage sons. Her daughter is currently serving in the military away from home. When Gordon has free time, it is occupied by her husband and traveling to their sons’ baseball tournaments.

One person can save the lives of eight by donating organs and heal the lives of 75 through tissue donation. Anyone can sign up to be a donor, regardless of age or medical history. Register as an organ, tissue and cornea donor today at registerme.org/core.

 

About CORE:

The Center for Organ Recovery & Education (CORE) is one of 57 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 www.core.org or call 1-800-DONORS-7. 

 

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