Weather Forecast


Essentia Health honored for organ donation efforts

For families looking for meaning when they lose a loved one, organ, tissue and eye donation is an opportunity to share the gift of life. And Essentia Health's promise to be "Here with You" extends to families coping with the loss of a loved one.

On Sept. 27, Essentia Health was honored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Health Resources and Services Administration for promoting enrollment in state organ donor registries.

Essentia conducted awareness and registry campaigns to educate staff, patients, visitors and community members about the critical need for organ, eye and tissue donors, and by doing so, increased the number of potential donors on the state's donor registry. Hospitals earned points for activities promoting donation between October 2016 and April 2017.

Of the 1,102 hospitals and transplant centers participating in the campaign, St. Mary's Medical Center received platinum recognition and Essentia Health-Duluth received gold recognition. Essentia Health-Northern Pines in Aurora received silver recognition.

"I have a family member who has received a liver transplant, another who has had a cornea transplant and have had to have this discussion with the death of a loved one so this topic is near and dear to my heart," says Rennae Houle-Burns, who manages the neurotrauma intensive care unit at St. Mary's. "Having an organ donor designation ahead of time makes it so much easier for a family member to make that decision if and when it ever comes down to it."

For more information, go online to or