Organs Initiative

The Organs Initiative focuses on data-driven solutions to the organ shortage that cost 33 Americans their lives every day. Critical to saving patients’ lives is accountability for the nation’s network of monopoly contractors responsible for organ donation – both organ procurement organizations (OPOs, responsible for coordinating organ recovery) and the organ procurement transplantation network (OPTN, responsible for system oversight and technology, currently operated by the United Network for Organ Sharing, UNOS).

Many of the problems and inefficiencies of the organ waiting list are solvable, but the federal government has never – not once in the almost 40 years of the modern organ donation system – pulled a contract from one of its contractors due to failure to perform, despite government reports showing as few as one in five potential organ donors are recovered. These failures also fall disproportionately on patients of color, and the need for organ transplants is expected to spike as a consequence of COVID-19, which attacks organs.

The Initiative is directed by Jennifer Erickson. The Initiative works closely with the FAS Organ Procurement Organization Innovation Cohort, which consists of seven organ procurement organizations that cover one-sixth of the country, and are committed to transparency, accountability, and equity. The Organs Initiative is currently supported by Schmidt Futures.

Jennifer Erickson

Senior Fellow & Director
Organs Initiative

Colin Medwick

Research Assistant
Organs Initiative