Students and Educators

New Jersey Hero Act

With the enactment of the Hero Act on July 22, 2008, New Jersey became the first state in the union to advocate that its residents have the fundamental responsibility to choose whether to help save another person's life. The state's public policy toward organ and tissue donation has moved from a position of general support to a position of advocacy that encourages positive donation decisions as imperative to saving more lives. The Hero Act was designed to create a more dynamic and comprehensive public policy regarding organ and tissue donation and includes the following mandated decisional and educational components:

  • NJ residents have the right to register as organ and tissue donors upon licensure and renewal of their driver licenses and issuance of state identification cards.
  • By April 2009, the NJ Motor Vehicle Commission must provide an online portal for residents to register as donors and have their decisions immediately integrated into the current database maintained by the commission, the Donate Life NJ Registry.
  • By July 2009, NJ residents can submit paper donor cards to the NJ Motor Vehicle Commission to have their names added to the Donate Life NJ Registry.
  • Beginning in five years, it will be required as a condition of obtaining or renewing a driver license or state identification card to review basic facts about the donation decision and its impact prior to making the decision of whether to register.
  • The Donate Life NJ Registry and the official website of the NJ Motor Vehicle Commission will provide links through which individuals may make voluntary contributions of $1.00 or more to the Organ and Tissue Donor Awareness Education Fund.
  • Beginning with the 2009-2010 school year, each public high school in NJ is required to ensure that information about organ and tissue donation is included in the Core Curriculum Content Standards for Comprehensive Health and Physical Education for grades 9-12.
  • Beginning with the 2009-2010 school year, each public institution of higher education in the state will be required to provide information to its students, either through student health services or as part of the curriculum.
  • The curriculum in each college of medicine in NJ will include instruction in organ and tissue donation and recovery that will be required as a condition of receiving a diploma. Each college of medicine will also offer such training for continuing education credit. Within three years, physicians licensed prior to the act will be encouraged to complete an online, credit-based course developed by experts in the field.
  • The curriculum in each educational program of professional nursing in the state will include instruction in organ and tissue donation and recovery that will be required as a condition of receiving a degree or diploma. Each program of professional nursing will also offer such training for continuing education credit. Within three years, nurses licensed prior to the act will be required to complete an online, one credit hour course developed by experts in order to be relicensed.

The health and wellness of NJ's residents depends on critically important legislation like the Hero Act that emphasizes the fundamental responsibility of individuals to take appropriate action to help save another person's life if possible. In order to meet the many mandates outlined above, NJ Sharing Network and the NJ Sharing Network Foundation works closely with numerous professional and community partners, including Gift of Life Donor Program, the NJ Department of Education, the NJ Commission of Higher Education, the NJ State Nurses Association, the Medical Society of NJ, and the NJ Motor Vehicle Commission.

NJ Sharing Network and NJ Sharing Network Foundation believe the Hero Act presents a bold and unique opportunity for New Jersey to save even more lives…and ultimately close the gap between those residents needing a transplant and the number of organs available.