Innovative approach nets MFDA chief Champion Award From Gift of Life Michigan

gala_phil_douma_cropped

‘It’s really part of our mission, too,’ says executive director

Seven years ago, funeral directors across the state got together with representatives from Gift of Life Michigan to discuss challenges and improve their working relationship. Phil Douma, executive director of the Michigan Funeral Home Directors Association

It was evident from that discussion with the Michigan Funeral Directors Association that there was a lot of frustration and misunderstanding, but there was some common ground, too.

“Our organization is about serving the needs of grieving families across the state,” said Phil Douma, executive director of the MFDA. “When those needs entail organ and tissue donation, that’s really part of our mission, too.”

Since then, through his leadership of the MFDA, he has worked to bring Organ Procurement Organizations like Gift of Life Michigan and the funeral services community together to overcome obstacles, better serve families, and offer the hope and legacy of organ and tissue donation to more people.

The lynch pin of that effort was a Donation Work Group established by the MFDA that allowed Gift of Life and the funeral service community to better collaborate on their problems and improve their services, overall.

“It’s been very successful in solving common problems, creating better standards and better serving both the funeral service and donation communities,” Douma said. “When we work together, both sides succeed.”

Douma was honored by Gift of Life Michigan recently with the 2020 Donation Champion Innovation Award for his efforts to support organ and tissue donation and to encourage more people to sign up on the Michigan Organ Donor Registry. He is one of 15 individuals and three hospitals to be honored as Donation Champions. Other winners include:

  • Volunteer: Lydia and Ward Kimball, West Branch
  • Community partner: Wayne State University, Detroit
  • Donation storyteller: WLNS, Ch. 6 TV, Lansing
  • Hospital executive leader: Dr. Harry Anderson, St. Joseph Hospital – Ann Arbor
  • Hospital Educator: Wendy Lavin, Sinai Grace Hospital, Detroit
  • Secretary of State employee: Kelly Davis, Shepherd, MI
  • Medical Examiner: Dr. Joyce deJong, Medical Examiner
  • Honoring Life Through Donation Award: Chad Milton, Grand Rapids
  • Nurse: Elise Pavlick, Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit
  • Physician: Dr. Robert Beck, Bronson Methodist Hospital, Kalamazoo
  • Donation Liaison: Kathi St. Pierre, Northern Michigan Hospital, Petoskey
  • Funeral Professional: Rita Jordan, O.H. Pye, Detroit
  • Transplant center professional: Jennifer Fogarty, Beaumont Royal Oak
  • Multicultural Difference Maker: Terra DeFoe
  • Hospital Spiritual Care: Cindi Veldheer DeYoung, Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital, Grand Rapids
  • Donor hospital of the year: Hurley Medical Center, Flint
  • Legacy Award: Dr. Theresa Jacobs, Michigan Medicine, Ann Arbor
Read More Posts
Donor Mother Teena Smith (left) and heart recipient Sharon Culbreath.

“It’s like I have a new family now”

Michigan woman meets son’s heart recipient Two years after her son died, Teena Smith heard…

Read More
Senator Kevin Daly stands at a podium in front of a Check Your Heart banner on the Michigan Capitol steps

Gift of Life Michigan calls for action as Michigan Organ Donor Registry grows at the slowest pace since its founding

About 2,400 patients are waiting in Michigan this month for a life-saving organ transplant. The…

Read More
Michigan Department of Natural Resources logo

Gift of Life Michigan, DNR team up to save lives

New partnership will ask hunters, anglers to ‘Check Your Heart’ Hunters and anglers in Michigan…

Read More
Graphic celebrating 1 million organ transplants, with Gift of Life Michigan and United Network for Organ Sharing logos

U.S. reaches historic milestone of 1 million organ transplants

Gift of Life Michigan joins national ‘Living it Forward’ initiative to advance next million Ann…

Read More

Foundation grant honors heart recipient who inspired many

  On Saturday, Aug. 27, a $10,000 grant was presented to the Gift of Life…

Read More
Artelia Griggs and Donnie Parker wave as they finish the 5K walk

LIFE Walk returns to historic Belle Isle for 25th year

Thousands attend event celebrating life, organ and tissue donation The annual LIFE Walk/Run drew nearly…

Read More
Scroll to Top