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Board Q & A

What does the Board do?

The Board of Directors is the governing body that oversees and participates in developing policies for operating the OPTN that provide equitable organ allocation to patients registered on the national waiting list, ensure quality standards for membership, and establish data submission requirements. Currently, the same board that serves the OPTN also serves the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), the organization that holds the contract to operate the OPTN.

Who's on the Board?

The Board of Directors is a group of 41 elected members, consisting of:

  • 11 UNOS regional councilors
  • transplant surgeons
  • transplant physicians
  • histocompatibility experts
  • transplant coordinators
  • independent organ procurement organizations (OPOs)
  • voluntary health organizations
  • medical/scientific membership organizations
  • members of the general public, including:
    - transplant candidates and recipients
    - living donors
    - donor family members
    - recipient & patient family members

How are Board members elected?

  1. In August, prior to the Nominating Committee Meetings, open Board of Directors positions for the coming elections are posted on the UNOS and OPTN Web sites. Regional councilors also notify members at regional meetings. The Committee solicits input and candidate nominations from the entire UNOS membership.
  2. The Nominating Committee meets in October and November, prior to the November Board of Directors meeting, to recommend to the Board a slate of nominees for election as directors and officers. Prior to the annual meeting of members which is usually held in March, the form of proxy and ballot for this meeting are mailed to the representative of each UNOS member institution. Candidates are elected by a majority vote of a quorum of the entire voting membership.

How do committees assist the Board?

Committees provide the Board with briefs outlining policy proposals prior to each Board meeting. These briefs summarize important issues and highlight the philosophical, ethical, medical, and scientific questions that form the basis of the committee's recommendation. They also include the historical, legal, and operational considerations. This process allows the Board to focus its time and resources on creating and refining policy to improve the effectiveness of the current system for organ procurement and transplantation.

How often does the Board of Directors meet?

The Board meets two times a year. If time-sensitive issues arise between meetings that need the Board's attention, they will be handled by the Executive Committee, which meets prior to Board meetings, as well as on an as-needed basis.