Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation 
June 2021 - Newsletter Digest
This monthly digest is an opportunity to reflect on and acknowledge our collective efforts to improve the OTDT system. Please share with your colleagues and invite them to subscribe. You may unsubscribe at anytime. Send contributions, comments and suggestions to

Thank you for your support and participation during a very busy June!

In addition to being an important month for recognition and reflection, June 2021 was host to a number of key OTDT meetings and forums. We thank you for your participation ensuring successful events and initiatives, important knowledge sharing and critical collaboration.
  • June 9 - The Organ Donation and Transplantation Expert Advisory Committee (ODTEAC) re-convened. Each of the CBS advisory committee chairs shared updates on key activities and ongoing work underway. This was the first time ODTEAC has had the opportunity to meet since December 2019. The next meeting of ODTEAC is planned for September 2021. 
  • June 11 & 14 - A forum focused on Quality Improvement in Deceased Donation Data - a critical piece of the Identification and Referral / Missed Donation Opportunities project.
  • June 16 - The Public Education & Awareness Committee (PEAC) held its third Community Forum bringing together an expanded membership including representatives from national advocacy organizations, patient and donor family partners, in addition to core representatives from organ donation organizations.
  • June 21 & 23 - An Organ and Tissue Donation after Medical Assistance in Dying: Guidance for Policy Updates Forum was held. Given the recent legislative changes to MAID in Canada, an opportunity to review and assess implications to organ donation and update existing guidance
  • June 25 - Diversity Equity and Inclusion Initiatives in Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation: A Knowledge Exchange Event - Investigators both involved in and interested in initiatives specific to diversity, equity, and inclusion in organ and tissue donation and transplantation came together for a opportunity to connect. The event was a great success thanks to the many inspiring presenters who participated and shared their work. We look forward to organizing future knowledge exchange events and opportunities for continued networking and collaboration in this space.

Special thanks...

A special thank you to Mary Beaucage for presenting at both the PEAC Community Forum and the DEI Knowledge Exchange. Mary is part of an Indigenous-led council at the Canadian kidney research network Canadians Seeking Solutions and Innovations to Overcome Chronic Kidney Disease (Can-SOLVE CKD). At both meetings, Mary shared Wabishki Bizhiko Skaanj: a learning pathway to foster better Indigenous cultural competence in Canadian health research, which was recently published in the Canadian Journal of Public Health

National Indigenous History Month

This National Indigenous History Month, as we learned about the lived experiences of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples and reflected on their contributions to society, we are mindful that actions are necessary to remove barriers, develop equitable opportunities and foster inclusive spaces. This is needed not only during the month of June, but year-round. 

We reflect on our country’s actions, the impact of colonization policies on the state of Indigenous health and the role we all must play in reconciliation with Indigenous peoples in Canada. 

National Indigenous Peoples Day on June 21 was an opportunity to reflect on the history and lived realities of Indigenous peoples, including the devastating impact of residential "schools". To contribute to our learning, Canadian Blood Services invited Indigenous people connected to Canada’s Lifeline to share how their backgrounds shape their lives and their work, and why this National Indigenous Peoples Day is especially important to mark. Read more here and here

Pride Month

June is Pride Month in Canada and in many countries around the world. Supporting and empowering LGBTQ+ and other under-represented groups is central to Canadian Blood Services’ commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion

Laying the groundwork for a more inclusive blood system: 
In recent years, the policy for blood donation by gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men, and some trans, Two-Spirit, and gender-diverse individuals, has moved from a permanent deferral to a three-month waiting period since their most recent sexual contact with a man.

Canadian Blood Services goal is to remove the current waiting period for men who have sex with men and use sexual behaviour-based screening for all blood donors instead. On Friday, June 18, CEO Dr. Graham Sher announced the organization’s intent to make a submission recommending this change to Health Canada by the end of 2021.  

Congratulations to Dr. Deepali Kumar!

The American Society of Transplantation announced its recently elected 2020-2021
board members, including
its new President-elect,
Dr. Deepali Kumar. 
Learn more

Responding to COVID-19

Organ Donation and Transplantation 2030: Meeting the Need

The NHS in the U.K. has set out a ten-year vision for organ donation and transplantation in the U.K. The recently published strategy document outlines key areas that need to be addressed as the U.K. continues to save and improve more lives through organ donation and transplantation after 2020. It also sets out the actions to support and maximize the potential for living donation, as well as focusing on areas for research and innovation. 
Read the full strategy document

OTDT in the news...

Third-dose COVID-19 vaccine studies give organ transplant recipients hope

Segev’s study is the first to report outcomes after a third dose of vaccine, and it’s part of a broader discussion about whether and when to offer extra doses to vulnerable individuals.
Via AAAS | Science, Via Toronto Star

Canada's largest transplant centre slowly marches toward normal

Pandemic led to heightened anxiety, stress for those already dealing with the wait for life-saving surgery
Via CBC News

Nurse goes the extra mile to save a life – by donating one of her own kidneys

Kirby Pickard came across a kidney donor outreach pamphlet while on shift one day at VGH back in 2015. The quick second glance that caught her eye, ended up saving the life of Monika Colmorgen.
Read the full story via BC Transplant

Fewer than 3% of Nova Scotians have opted out of being organ donors

Dr. Stephen Beed, medical director of Nova Scotia's organ and tissue donation program, Legacy of Life reports on the deemed consent program progress since its launch in January.
Read the article on CBC News.

Upcoming events

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Canadian Blood Services
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