Project Name


Funding Agency

United States Department of Defense

Funding Period

September 2018 – September 2022


Initiating PI: Dr. Heather M. Gardiner
Partnering PI: Dr. Laura A. Siminoff

Research Partners

Gift of Life Donor Program- Philadelphia, PA

Main question this project tries to answer

The main objective of this study is to understand the barriers to discussing VCA donation among OPO request staff as well as issues impeding family authorization of VCA donation and develop and test a combined educational and behavioral communication intervention to assist OPO staff when requesting VCA donation.


VCA is a surgical specialty with growing acceptance, and one that offers a new treatment option for veterans as well as the general population; however, to make this therapeutic option a reality, VCA donation must become a routine part of requests made for deceased organ donation.

Methods used

Semi-structured interviews, focus groups, qualitative analysis, pre-/post-surveys,

Actions taken from the results

Developed and tested a training/intervention specifically for VCA requests to teach users essential skills that have proven to enhance communication with donor-eligible families, mitigate the stressful consent environment, and improve authorization outcomes.

Resulting papers

Vascularized composite allotransplantation: Knowledge and attitudes of a national sample of organ procurement organization professionals: https://doi.org/10.1111/ctr.14071

Contact person and email

Ellen Davis: ellen.davis@temple.edu
Hayley McGregor: hayley.mcgregor@temple.edu