Johnson presents Shining Star Award to MHA

Secretary of State Ruth Johnson today presented the Michigan Health & Hospital Association (MHA) with a Shining Star Award, the highest honor the Secretary of State gives to individuals and organizations for outstanding efforts in support of the cause of organ donation.

“Through its many endeavors, the Michigan Health & Hospital Association has raised its already strong support of organ, tissue and eye donation to an even higher level,” Johnson said. “Thousands of our fellow residents waiting for transplants need champions who will work to save their lives by increasing the number of registered donors. The MHA and its members are dedicated to making this difference.”

Johnson presented the crystal award to the group at its annual membership meeting on Mackinac Island. She also recognized 21 Michigan hospitals and Gift of Life Michigan for earning Organ Donation Medals of Honor from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. The medals were awarded for success in increasing the number of organs available for transplantation. Gift of Life Michigan was one of only eight organ procurement organizations in the nation to receive a gold medal.

The MHA is the 29th Shining Star Award recipient since the program was created in 2005 to honor exceptional dedication, outstanding support, partnerships and/or extraordinary efforts in the area of organ and tissue donor awareness. Anyone can submit a nomination to the Secretary of State for a deserving individual or organization.

“This award acknowledges Michigan hospitals’ commitment to reducing the number of residents who are waiting for lifesaving organ or tissue transplants,” said MHA President Spencer Johnson. “As a result of these efforts, thousands of patients have an opportunity to improve their quality of life.”

Last year, the MHA made Donor Drive 2010 an integral part of its goals. The organization bought a Donate Life flag for every hospital in the state, which prompted many of them to hold special flag raising ceremonies to draw attention to the great need for organ and tissue donors.

Recognizing that action as well as awareness is needed, the MHA enlisted hospitals and medical centers to vigorously join the campaign to grow the Michigan Organ Donor Registry, which now has nearly 2.2 million names. The MHA devoted a page of its website to materials that hospitals could download and use in their efforts. Additionally, the MHA’s Keystone Center for Patient Safety and Quality held two webinars to explain how the campaign works and why it is important.

The results of the MHA’s efforts were impressive. In 2010, some 11,800 people joined the donor registry and specifically cited a hospital as where they heard about organ, tissue and eye donation. That was more than three times the 3,800 who had cited a hospital when joining the registry the year before.

The MHA,, was named one of America’s Best Places to Work in Healthcare by Modern Healthcare magazine in 2010.

Johnson thanked the MHA, member hospitals represented, Gift of Life Michigan and the Michigan Eye-Bank for working together to improve the number of registered organ donors in the state. She reported that the number of people joining the registry was up more than 27 percent in June from the same month a year ago.

Since taking office in January, Johnson has implemented several changes in the Secretary of State’s Office designed to increase organ donation. Most notable has been her directive to branch office employees to follow a new policy of asking customers, when time permits, whether or not they would like to join the state’s organ donor registry.

For more information on organ donation and other programs and initiatives of the Secretary of State’s Office, visit