Washoe County Chief Medical Examiner and Coroner Receives National Award
Dr. Laura Knight Honored for Creation of Tissue Donation Program

Media Release
For Immediate Release

Contact: Amy Ventetuolo


Reno, Nev. May 4, 2018. Washoe County Chief Medical Examiner and Coroner, Dr. Laura D. Knight, received the April 2018 Forensic Leader of the Month award from the Association of Organ Procurement Organizations (AOPO).  AOPO is a national non-profit organization that represents the fifty-eight federally-designated organ procurement organizations in the United States.

“I am honored and humbled to receive national recognition for our local program,” says Dr. Knight, “but the real heroes are individuals who register to be donors, and the families who choose to consent for donation on what may be the most difficult day of their lives, losing a loved one.” 

Dr. Knight earned the award for her exhaustive work creating a tissue and cornea donation program at the Washoe County Regional Medical Examiner’s Office (WCRMEO) which grants more Nevadans the opportunity to make these life-saving and life-improving donations. Dr. Knight was appointed Chief Medical Examiner and Coroner in January 2017 and has worked at the WCRMEO for nearly three years.

Staff of the Nevada Donor Network nominated Dr. Knight for the award, citing the success of the program, which has resulted in more than 100 eye and tissue donors since it began last fall, and the WCRMEO’s awareness campaign for donor registration. 

“On behalf of the Nevada Donor Network team, we would like to extend our most sincere gratitude to Dr. Knight and the WCRMEO for their partnership.  It is with heartfelt pride we recognize Dr. Knight on a national scale as a token of our appreciation for her team's support and passion for the cause,” says Nevada Donor Network President and CEO Joe Ferreira.  “Together, our organizations are giving more heroic Nevadans and their courageous families the opportunity to save and heal lives through donation than ever before.  We continue to be inspired by Dr. Knight's leadership and anticipate many future opportunities to highlight their office's incredible work.”

In addition to the critical need for lifesaving organ transplants, 1 million tissue transplants are completed each year in the United States.  Donated tissues such as skin, bone and heart valves can heal and save lives for patients facing life-threatening burns, torn ligaments, and musculoskeletal injuries.  Nearly 50,000 people annually will receive the gift of sight through cornea donation.

The Washoe County Regional Medical Examiner’s Office serves 19 counties in Nevada and California and handles more than 4,600 reported deaths each year.

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