Champion Awards recognize organ, tissue donation supporters and innovators
Dr. Carl Schmidt, chief medical examiner for Wayne County, is one of 13 individuals and three organizations honored recently by Gift of Life Michigan with a 2021 Donation Champion Award. The awards recognize people and organizations that make extraordinary efforts to help fulfill the wishes of donors and their families and promote the Michigan Organ Donor Registry.
Dr. Schmidt has served as a medical examiner for Wayne County since 1994. He is also the M.E. for Monroe County, the Medical Director of the Wayne County Health Department and a professor of Forensic Pathology at the University of Michigan.
Dr. Schmidt is being honored for a new referral system, in which the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s office is now referring deaths that occur outside of hospitals to Gift of Life Michigan. It was developed under his leadership, and required extensive collaboration between Gift of Life Michigan, the Wayne County team and two software companies – QuincyTech and Transplant Connect.
Since it was implemented 10 months ago, the new system has accounted for more than 5,600 automatic referrals, resulting in nearly 100 tissue donors.
“Each new tissue donor represents hope for healing for as many as 75 patients who need it,” said Dorrie Dils, CEO of Gift of Life Michigan. “Gift of Life Michigan is so fortunate to have so many dedicated partners assist us with our mission of honoring life through donation. Every year there are so many worthy nominees. These champions represent the best of the best, but it is a difficult decision every year.”
Other winners include:
- Secretary of State Employee: Maríaelena Hernandez, Secretary of State Branch Office, SW Detroit
- Volunteer: Scott Campbell, West Michigan
- Community Partner: Key2Finesse, Metro Detroit
- Multicultural Difference Maker: Brandon Corder, Beats X Beers, Flint
- First Responder: Huron Valley Ambulance
- Donation Storyteller: Ingrid Kelley, FOX 2 Detroit
- Certified Physician Assistant: Blair Cotton, Spectrum Health
- Nurse: Tonia Cole, McLaren Flint Hospital, Flint
- Physician: Dr. Jeffrey Wilt, Ascension Michigan Borgess Hospital, Kalamazoo
- Donation Liaison: Valerie Canary, Hurley Medical Center, Flint
- Funeral Professional: Harry J. Will Funeral Homes, Metro Detroit
- Transplant Center Professional: Dr. Damanpreet Bedi, Beaumont Royal Oak
- Hospital Executive Leader: Lisa Friedman, St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor
- Honoring Life Through Donation Award: John Edmond, Lansing
- Donor Hospital of the Year: Spectrum Butterworth, Grand Rapids
- Legacy Award: Cathy Warren, Donate Life Coalition