Congratulations to the 2016 Spero Award Winners



3rd Annual Spero Awards held at Old Capitol Inn, Jackson

The Mississippi Organ Recovery Agency (MORA) served as host for the 3rd Annual Spero Awards on Thursday, July 21st, 2016 at the Old Capitol Inn in downtown Jackson. The awards ceremony recognized hospital partners, medical professionals, corporate partners and donor ambassadors who work tirelessly in conjunction with MORA to promote organ, eye and tissue donation to ultimately save and heal lives.

A total of 15 Spero Awards were presented to individuals and organizations from areas throughout the state as well as one Special Recognition Spero Award. The word Spero (Sp?-r?) is Latin for “hope”. The title was chosen to reflect the hope that organ and tissue donation brings to those in need of a lifesaving organ or a life improving tissue transplant.

Additionally, seven medical facilities in the state received Hospital Excellence Awards in recognition of their achievement of national organ donation performance standards by attaining one or more of three set goals.

2016 Spero Award recipients

Ancillary or Healthcare Staff of the Year- Hospitals for Hope Committee, North Mississippi Medical Center

Nurse Champion- Amber Overstreet, Greenwood Leflore Hospital

Advanced Practice Nurse of the Year- Megan Butts, University of Mississippi Medical Center

Physician Champion- Dr. Carrie Morgan Henderson, University of Mississippi Medical Center

Most Supportive Hospital Leadership- Susan Russell, Singing River Health Systems

Best Medical Management- Forrest General Hospital, Hattiesburg

Most Supportive Tissue Hospital- Hardy Wilson Memorial Hospital, Hazlehurst

Most Supportive Organ & Tissue Hospital- Forrest General Hospital, Hattiesburg

Most Supportive Mortuary Services- Bradford O’Keefe Funeral Home, Biloxi

Most Supportive Coroner- Butch Benedict, Forrest County

Community Faith Leader or Chaplain of the Year- Chaplain Brian Williamson, Forrest General Hospital

Volunteer of the Year- Julie Dickerson, donor mom, Nettleton

Donation Advocate- Rachel Payne, transplant recipient, Vancleave

Red Heart Award-Brookhaven Department of Public Safety Station

Corporate Partner of the Year-Brown Bottling Group, Brandon                         

Special Recognition-Jimmy Roberts, Retired Rankin County Coroner

Mississippi Lions Eye Bank (MLEB) also presented the Gift of Sight Award to North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo for their work in helping to facilitate sight saving corneal transplants. MLEB also awarded the inaugural Partner’s in Vision Award to Anderson Regional Medical Center in Meridian. This award recognizes the hospital partner that has helped to facilitate eye donations that resulted in the greatest percentage of corneas being transplanted, with a minimum of ten corneas being recovered during the year.

Hospital Excellence Awards were awarded to seven hospitals that have achieved national organ donation performance standards set by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Hospitals receiving those awards were:

Anderson Regional Medical Center, Meridian

Merit Health Central, Jackson

North Mississippi Medical Center, Tupelo

Ocean Springs Hospital, Ocean Springs

St. Dominic Hospital, Jackson

Singing River Hospital, Pascagoula

University of Mississippi Medical Center-Jackson

Also recognized during the ceremony were 36 hospitals from across the state that have enrolled in the Mississippi Hospitals for Hope campaign, which was developed to raise awareness for the need of organ, eye and tissue donation and increase registrations. The Hospitals recognized for their participation in the state Hospitals for Hope campaign were:

Anderson Regional Medical Center

Anderson Regional Medical Center-South

Covington County Hospital

Delta Regional Medical Center

Field Memorial Community Hospital

Forrest General Hospital

H.C. Watkins Memorial Hospital

Highland Community Hospital

Jasper General Hospital

John C. Stennis Memorial Hospital

King’s Daughters Medical Center

Laird Hospital

Memorial Hospital at Gulfport

Merit Health Biloxi

Merit Health Central Mississippi

Merit Health River Region

Mississippi Baptist Medical Center

Neshoba County Hospital

North Mississippi Medical Center

North Mississippi Medical Center-Iuka

North Mississippi Medical Center-Pontotoc

North Mississippi Medical Center-West Point

North Sunflower County Medical Center

Ocean Springs Hospital

OCH Regional Medical Center

Regency Hospital of Meridian

Rush Foundation Hospital

St. Dominic Jackson Memorial Hospital

Scott Regional Hospital

Simpson General Hospital

Singing River Hospital

South Central Regional Medical Center

Southwest Mississippi Regional Medical Center

The Specialty Hospital of Meridian

University of Mississippi Medical Center

University of Mississippi Medical Center-Grenada

For pictures from the event, please visit:


Donate Life ECHO



The Association for Multicultural Affairs in Transplantation (AMAT) Partners with Donate Life America (DLA) for 2016 Donate Life ECHO (Every Community Has Opportunity)   


#DonateLifeECHO Aims to Empower the Voice of Multicultural Communities
Around the Need and Importance of Organ, Eye, and Tissue Donation 


The Association for Multicultural Affairs in Transplantation (AMAT) and Donate Life America (DLA) joined forces in 2015 to develop Donate Life ECHO, which stands for Every Community Has Opportunity. It will be celebrated July 10 – 23, 2016, as a nationwide observance designed to reach multicultural communities. The observance has two objectives: one is to focus on the power of sharing one’s personal decision to register as an organ, eye and tissue donor with members of one’s community; the second is to encourage registered donors to ask members of their personal networks and extended communities to talk about organ, eye and tissue donation and register as donors. Through the ECHO concept of reiteration and repetition—with people sharing the life-affirming message of donation within their community—more lives will be saved and healed.

Multicultural communities play a vital role in donation and transplantation. Indeed, statistics gathered by the United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS) confirm that the percentage of multicultural donors who save and heal lives account for 34% of all deceased organ donors.  Yet, the need for enhanced advocacy and engagement persists. This is especially compounded by the fact that ethnically diverse communities are disproportionately in need of lifesaving organ transplants—especially kidneys.

Currently, nearly 58 percent of the U.S. transplant waiting list is comprised of ethnically diverse patients. Research shared by UNOS further confirms that, “successful transplantation is often enhanced by the matching of organs between members of the same ethnic and racial group.” As such, increasing educational efforts and outreach through innovative campaigns is a critical step toward increasing the number of registered donors in multicultural communities. Accordingly, Donate Life ECHO offers a simple yet powerful conduit for sparking dialogue and action.
“This strategic initiative is about empowering individuals to echo the message of donation in diverse communities, and in so doing, increase donor registrations,” said Remonia Chapman, president of AMAT. “Donate Life ECHO also creates an opportunity for multicultural professionals, working in healthcare, to join together to promote lifesaving transplantation. Indeed, we hope to inspire future generations of clinicians, nurses, social workers, community educators and healthcare advocates to consider becoming part of this wonderful calling to save and heal lives through the gift of organ and tissue donation.”
Together, AMAT and DLA will offer a Donate Life ECHO digital toolkit that will include: social media banners, graphics, talking points, statistics and other resources that can be customized for specific audiences. To learn more, please visit:

To register your decision to be an organ, eye and tissue donor in the Donate Life Mississippi Registry, please go to

About the Association of Multicultural Affairs in Transplantation (AMAT)
AMAT was established in 1992 to address the increasing need for organ and tissue donors in the multicultural communities while simultaneously offering support, shared expertise and professional development opportunities for its members as they save and heal lives.  AMAT is a self-sustaining, self-governed organization operating solely on voluntary contributions from individuals, corporations, and other affiliated organizations. For more information, visit:

About Donate Life America (DLA)
Donate Life America is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit alliance of national organizations and Donate Life State Teams across the United States committed to saving and healing lives through increased organ, eye and tissue donation. Donate Life America, with the help of its corporate partners, is dedicated to spreading the word about the importance of being a registered donor so that others may live. For more information, visit: