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2020-2021 Workgroup Dedicated to Elevating The Alliance Mentorship Program to the Next Level

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The Alliance is embarking on its third year of The Alliance Mentorship Program with a strong workgroup of volunteers who elevate the program to the next level. With more than 220 professionals currently involved in mentor-mentee matches, the Mentorship Program has grown significantly since the first 70-person cohort in October 2017.

The 2020-2021 Mentorship Workgroup combines OPO and transplant professionals to develop a program that provides a broad perspective. Their knowledge of their own organization’s learning culture and training & development programs help to inform the quality of the program. Each agrees to serve a one-year minimum commitment, though several have stayed for multiple years to guide the ongoing development and growth of the program.

Workgroup members for 2020-2021 hail from top OPOs and transplant centers and programs across the nation:

  • Robin L Ohkagawa, RN, BA, BSN, CPTC – Sr. Director, Education & Development, Organ Donation Services, New England Donor Services
  • Hope Weed RN, BSN, CPTC – Assistant Manager, Recovery Services, LifeLink of Georgia
  • Lee L. Nolen, RN, BSN, CPTC – Clinical Services Manager, Tennessee Donor Services
  • Jonathan Carrier – Associate Director of Clinical Operations, LifeQuest Organ Recovery Services
  • Erin Wells, RN, BSN, CCTC, CPN – Clinical Care Manager, Abdominal Transplant Program, Northwestern Memorial Hospital (IL)
  • Aimee Hagerty, MSN – Transplant Administrator & Director of Education, Transplant Program, UPMC Hamot (PA)
  • Cecile Aguayo, RN, BSN – Manager, Abdominal Transplant Program, Solid Organ Transplant Programs, University of Utah Hospital and Clinics (UT)

The workgroup is instrumental in helping The Alliance structure the mentor/mentee application process, ensuring effective matches are identified. Each year, two enrollment periods are offered – a Winter/Spring Cohort and a Summer/Fall Cohort. The workgroup is also critical in the development of the training program for mentors as well as a variety of tools and tips for participants to fully prepare them for their year-long commitments.

“Organ donation and transplantation is such a niche field within healthcare, so it’s often difficult for individuals who are new to the field, or to their role, to find the support and guidance needed as they dive into such a complex and high-stakes field. Our mentorship program seeks to connect these professionals with those who are more experienced in an effort to pave the way to career success and longevity,” said Deanna Fenton, the Program Manager overseeing the Mentorship Program.

The concept for The Alliance Mentorship Program originally emerged from The Alliance National Innovation Leadership Council, with the objective of developing a solid network of support for professionals across the donation-transplantation continuum. While the program initially focused on transplant professionals, based on the demand, The Alliance eventually expanded the program to OPO team members.

From a recent survey, one mentee noted, “This program really helps new coordinators develop a relationship with someone who knows what they are going through. It lets the mentee know they always have a resource. A program like this helps coordinators connect and share information to help improve our patient process.”

Lindsay Smith, Transplant Quality Director at Vanderbilt Transplant Center, has been a mentor for two years and recently shared that, “Transplant is a unique niche in healthcare with a steep learning curve. The Alliance Mentorship Program provides new transplant members with an instant connection to the transplant community. It is a fantastic program and I would recommend it for all new transplant leaders.”

Next steps for this workgroup will include the evaluation of additional tools for greater user interface and more scalable systems to expand the program further. Feedback from current mentees and mentors will assist in establishing priorities for improvement.

“As we move forward, the program will continue to seek best practices from other healthcare organizations and in other industries for a more effective program,” shared Karri Hobson-Pape, Executive Director of The Alliance. “We thank the ongoing commitment of our outstanding volunteers who constantly provide feedback and seek opportunities to make our programs stronger and more powerful in the future.”

To learn more about The Alliance Mentorship Program, click below:

OPO Professional Focused Mentorship Program: https://organdonationalliance.org/opomentorship/

Transplant Professional Focused Mentorship Program: https://organdonationalliance.org/transplantmentorship/

The Organ Donation and Transplantation Alliance (“The Alliance”) delivers relevant, targeted and scalable learning solutions for the organ donation and transplantation community of practice – including organ procurement organizations, transplant centers and programs, and hospitals where donations occur. By convening members across the community of practice, it is a platform to identify emerging concepts and innovative practices, giving way to resources and educational programs of transformational quality and value. The Alliance is not a membership organization, but partners with leading organizations across the continuum to advance a shared mission to save and heal lives through organ donation and transplantation. 

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About the Author:

Corey Bryant serves as Director of Communications for The Alliance.
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