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St. Luke's Joins Initiative for National Donate Life Month
April 17, 2017

News Conference Scheduled for April 18 at Noon in the St. Luke’s Education Center

Bethlehem, PA (April 17, 2017)St. Luke’s University Health Network has joined with the Hospital & Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania (HAP) and the Gift of Life Donor Program to inspire hope, advocacy and passion for organ and tissue donation during National Donate Life Month and beyond. Gift of Life will be holding a news conference about the goals for this partnership on April 18 at 12 noon in the St. Luke’s Education Center at the Bethlehem Campus.

“As a health system, we are uniquely positioned to not only tend to the health of our patients, but to inspire our community to be mindful of wellness in all aspects of life,” says Rebecca Wilde-Onia, MSN, RN, CCRN, TCRN, Trauma Program Manager. “The more people we can inspire to become organ donors, the better we can serve our mission to be leading advocates for the well-being of our entire community.”

During the news conference, staff, donor families and recipients of the gift of life will share their experiences with organ donation and the life-changing impact it has had. Also, Howard Nathan, President and CEO of Gift of Life, will present the St. Luke’s University Health Network with the 2016 Pennsylvania Donate Life Hospital Challenge Platinum Award, the highest level possible.

The Pennsylvania Donate Life Hospital Challenge encourages Pennsylvania hospitals to increase organ donation awareness and designations within their hospital and community. The awareness and designation activities are captured on a scorecard for participating hospitals to achieve platinum-, gold-, silver-, and bronze-level point totals.

This year’s competition—the 2017 Pennsylvania Donate Life Hospital Challenge—began April 1, 2017, as part of National Donate Life Month, and runs through August 30, 2017. HAP has partnered with the Center for Organ Recovery & Education and Gift of Life Donor Program—the two organ procurement organizations serving Pennsylvania—and the Pennsylvania Department of Health to support the challenge.

“The goal is increase organ donation awareness and designations within the community, in turn decreasing the number of individuals waiting for their life saving transplant,” Wilde-Onia says. “Gift of Life Donor Program and St. Luke’s University Hospital are jointly committed to ensuring families are provided with an informed decision-making process regarding organ and tissue donation in a caring and sensitive manner.”

Individuals are encouraged to talk with family members and friends about registering as a donor. Each organ, tissue and cornea donor can help up to 75 people. To sign up, visit www.donors1.org.

Following are some important facts about organ, tissue and cornea donation:

•  Each day, 22 people in the United States die while waiting for a life-saving organ transplant.

•  Anyone can be a potential donor, regardless of age, race or medical history.

•  More than 5,480 patients in the region await life-saving organ transplants. Thousands of others could benefit from life-enhancing tissue transplants.

•  Only 46% of registered drivers in Pennsylvania have designated themselves as organ and tissue donors.

•  With nearly 100,000 people across the nation awaiting a kidney, they are the organ in greatest demand, followed by liver, heart and lungs.

•  Because conditions such as diabetes and hypertension are often more prevalent in the multicultural community, these individuals make up more than 50 percent of those on the national organ transplant list.

About St. Luke’s
Founded in 1872, St. Luke’s University Health Network (SLUHN) is a non-profit, regional, fully integrated and nationally recognized network providing services at seven hospitals and more than 270 outpatient sites. The network’s service area includes Lehigh, Northampton, Carbon, Schuylkill, Bucks, Montgomery, Berks and Monroe counties in Pennsylvania and in Warren County in New Jersey. Dedicated to advancing health education, St. Luke’s operates the nation’s oldest School of Nursing and 22 graduate medical educational programs and is considered a major teaching hospital, the only one in the region. In partnership with Temple University, St. Luke’s created the region’s first Medical School. Repeatedly, including 2017, St. Luke’s has earned Truven’s 100 Top Major Teaching Hospital designation as well as 50 Top Cardiovascular program in addition to other honors for clinical excellence. St. Luke’s is a multi-year recipient of the Most Wired award recognizing the breadth of St. Luke’s information technology applications such as electronic medical records, telehealth, online scheduling and pricing information. St. Luke’s is also recognized as one of the state’s lowest cost providers in comparison to major teaching hospitals and other health systems.

About Gift of Life Donor Program
Since 1974, Gift of Life has coordinated more than 42,000 life-saving organ transplants and an estimated 600,000 tissue transplants. Gift of Life serves as the link between donors and patients awaiting life-saving organ and life-enhancing tissue transplants. Gift of Life’s coordination of over 49 donors-per-million-population ranks among the highest in the world. For more information about donation and to register, visit www.donors1.org.

Media Contact:
Rebecca Wilde-Onia, MSN, RN, CCRN, TCRN
Trauma Program Manager
St. Luke’s Adult Level I Trauma Center
St. Luke's University Health Network
Phone (484) 526-3488

For more information about St. Luke’s services or to find a physician, call St. Luke’s InfoLink toll-free at 1-866-STLUKES (785-8537) Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm or email us anytime at Info.Link@sluhn.org.