OAI Journalism Project


Recent advancements in medical science, particularly in relation to tissue rejection, have increased the accessibility of transplantation and the demand for organs worldwide. The success of this lifesaving procedure has united people and professionals from all walks of life but also brought to light a number of unanticipated social and ethical issues. Beneath the tip of the iceberg lies a heap of challenges faced by donors, recipients, family members, practitioners, researchers, policymakers, and beyond. The aim of the OAI Journalism Project is to share these perspectives with the broader public and to replace common misconceptions about organ transplantation with raw, honest insights into the intricacies of this field. In other words, we want the public to react to the concept of organ donation/transplantation with warmth and compassion rather than skepticism.

Our Approach

In concrete terms, the OAI harnesses the power of simple in-person interviews to uncover expert opinions, untold stories, and unique perspectives relevant to any aspect of transplantation in its biomedical or sociopolitical forms. Upon approval by both the interviewee(s) and our review committee, we then publish verbatim highlights from each interview in an open-access journal maintained by the Organ Advocacy Initiative. Typically accompanying each article is a photograph or short video of the interviewee, along with a written reflection on the material presented, authored by the student journalists. The OAI acknowledges that any individual may withdraw their consent to release of information before, during, or after publication. These publications will primarily be targeted toward students and other young adults at universities across Ontario.

Role of Journalists:

McMaster students will contribute to the Interview Anthology project by (a) identifying people and professionals who share a connection to organ donation / transplantation, (b) designing pointed questions aimed at gathering pertinent information, (c) setting up and conducting a formal interview, and (d) publishing a written synopsis of their findings on the OAI website and our social media platforms.

Role of Interviewees:

At the heart of the OAI Interview Anthology are the individuals who choose to share their unique experiences and insights with us. As an interviewee, we ask that you share a conversation with us, preferably at a location where you work or typically spend your time. An interview usually lasts 30 minutes and involves a small team of 1-2 undergraduate journalists asking you a few open-ended questions about a transplantation-related theme of your choice. Though we require journalists to conduct research and prepare a set of thoughtful questions prior to the interview, our students are trained to adapt to the pace and direction of the conversation in real time. What we hope to obtain from each interview is the following:

  •       An honest account of your experiences with and/or insights into transplantation-related topics
  •       A photograph or short video clip of you at the interview*
  •       An audio recording of the interview as a memory aid/for transcription purposes*

*Pending explicit informed consent from the interviewee and any other individual involved

Clinical Bioethics Case Competition

McMaster OAI will be hosting our first ever Clinical Bioethics Case Competition on Saturday, Jan 19, 2019. Teams will explore the scientific, medical, and ethical dimensions of organ and tissue transplantation through a specific scenario with challenging prompts. At the end, they will present their solutions and with expert judges. For more information and to register, please visit our event page.