Five things to know: Volunteering for the board or a committee

Five things to know: Volunteering for the board or a committee

Nominations sought through Sept. 30 for 2021 OPTN vacancies

View vacancies for the 2021 term

Have you ever considered sharing your expertise and perspective to shape the future of the nation’s transplant system?

If so, now is the time to act. If not, here is your chance to learn more and see if you would be interested in volunteering.

The OPTN seeks nominations through September 30, 2020, for people to apply for consideration for open positions on the board and committees for terms beginning July 1, 2021.

More detailed information is available on the OPTN website about the specific needs for each committee and the board, as well as details about the application and selection process. But here are the basics you need to know.

We need your expertise and input.

Nearly 400 people volunteer each year on an OPTN committee or the board of directors. Each person brings unique experiences and views to develop national transplant policy and membership standards, as well as resources and guidance to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the transplant system.

The OPTN particularly seeks volunteers who are not donation or transplant professionals but who have personal experience as a transplant candidate, recipient or patient family member; a living donor; or a donor family member.

The OPTN is also seeking professionals representing the many disciplines involved in donation and transplantation. These include (but are not limited to):

  • Information technology: Technology strategy, EHR/EMR integration, web APIs or FHIR, mobile computing, cloud computing, Software as a Service (SaaS) information analytics and visualization
  • Law: Corporate governance and/or regulatory compliance legal experience
  • Previous fiduciary board experience; corporate and/or nonprofit governance
  • Finance, particularly in the healthcare setting

We seek diversity.

The OPTN serves the entire nation, and its governance should reflect the experiences and perspectives of all people it represents. Through the nomination and appointment process, the OPTN seeks to include people of diverse backgrounds, heritage and viewpoints who are interested in serving the community as a whole.

Volunteer service requires your time and attention.

Most volunteers serve a two- to three-year term. They are expected to attend in-person meetings (generally held twice a year) and participate in additional conference calls. Many committees have additional subcommittees or task groups that advise the work of the full committee. Some work will involve additional study or discussion outside of scheduled meetings and calls.

That said, most volunteers find great satisfaction in playing a significant role to improve the national transplant system. Many clinicians also gain additional perspective they can bring back to their own institution to help improve care for those they serve. (Listen to Lisa Matthias and Pete Lalli describe their service on OPTN committees.)

We’ve recently made the application process easier.

Anyone interested in potentially serving on a committee or the board needs to complete a Volunteer Interest Form, previously known as the Biography Form. This allows the OPTN to consider your interest and expertise in light of the roles needed for the coming year.

UNOS recently upgraded the Volunteer Interest Form to be more customized to your particular experience or profession, dynamically supplying questions that are most relevant to your background or area of interest. If you have completed and submitted a Volunteer Interest Form since October 2019, you don’t need to complete a new one, but you may update it at any time.

To submit a new form or update a previous submission, you will need to register as a “new member” and create a new profile. However, If you are updating a previously submitted form and are still using the same e-mail address as before, the system will then synchronize with your member record to auto- populate your biographical information from previous applications.

The Get Involved page on the OPTN website provides more detail about the nomination and selection process for both the board and committees.

We’re looking right now for potential volunteers.

The OPTN will consider any form submitted by September 30 for terms beginning in July 2021. The specific list of open positions for the board and for each committee is available on the OPTN website.

The OPTN Nominating Committee will develop an election slate in November for open positions on the 2021 Board of Directors. The slate will then be published for an election beginning in January 2021. Applicants who are appointed to committee positions will be notified in March 2021.

For more information about the volunteer process or how to apply, visit the Get Involved page on the OPTN website or send an e-mail to volunteer@unos.org.

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