Donor Alliance Wins American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB) Groundbreaker Award

September 18, 2015

Donor Alliance, the federally designated, nonprofit that facilitates organ and tissue donation in Colorado and most of Wyoming, announced today that it was recognized with The Groundbreaker Award in the 2015 American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB) Awards for its Transplantation Science program to educate youth on organ, eye and tissue donation.

Transplantation Science is a free program offered by Donor Alliance to 7th through 12th grade classes as a service to the Colorado and Wyoming communities, educating young people about the science behind organ, eye and tissue donation and transplantation before or around the time they apply for their first driver’s licenses.

The program was originally developed through collaboration with the Denver Museum of Nature of Science Hall of Life Health and Education Center in the late 1990s. Donor Alliance and the Donor Awareness Council each managed the program at times over the next 10 years until Donor Alliance took over sole administration in 2010. The curriculum was overhauled in 2011 to include an updated look-and-feel, providing students with a “hands-on” look at the organ and tissue transplantation and donation process through the use of a workbook, real and simulated models, and educators in the classroom, which has received positive reinforcement from participating science teachers.

Today, the program now reaches more than 10,000 students per year, aiming to advance a culture of trust in organ, eye and tissue donation and to increase donor designation rate (DDR), or percentage of individuals joining the state donor registries, among youth. In 2014, the total youth DDR was 41.71 percent, up from 32.21 percent in 2005. This youth DDR helps contribute to the strong total DDR in Colorado, which was 67.7 percent in 2014. The number of students reached by the program in Wyoming has increased ten-fold from 2011-2012 to the 2014-2015 school year.

“Transplantation Science has been a long-standing program for Donor Alliance and continues to meet and exceed its goals,” said Sue Dunn, president and CEO of Donor Alliance. “The program is important to the community and has been measurably successful in increasing students’ knowledge of the organ and tissue donation and the transplantation process.”

The AATB’s Groundbreaker Award recognizes unique, creative, new and innovative advances in tissue banking communications. Judges looked for projects that address a new issue or audience, ideas and angles that have never been seen before or an unexpected spin on a traditional idea. The award recognizes those who try new things first, lead the way for other tissue banking organizations and create tools that will be used across the profession as a whole.

For more information about Donor Alliance’s programs and to find out more about organ, eye and tissue donation, please visit To register to be an organ and tissue donor, please visit, or call 303-329-4747 for more information.

About Donor Alliance

Donor Alliance is a nonprofit dedicated to saving lives through organ and tissue donation and transplantation. As the organ procurement organization and accredited tissue bank for Colorado and most of Wyoming, Donor Alliance serves more than 5.8 million residents and more than 100 hospitals. The organization adheres to medical, regulatory and ethical standards: respectfully working with the families of organ and tissue donors, maintaining partnerships with hospitals, educating residents on the life-saving benefits of donation and inspiring them to sign up on the state’s donor registry. Colorado and Wyoming boast some of the highest rates of donor registration in the country, which directly translates to more lives saved through organ and tissue transplantation.

Donor Alliance is one of 58 federally designated organizations of its kind in the United States, and is also an American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB)-accredited tissue bank. For more information, please visit or the Donate Life Colorado or Donate Life Wyoming Facebook pages.