STEMMING OFF NATIONAL MINORITY DONOR AWARENESS WEEK CREATED IN 1996, THE NATIONAL ORGAN, EYES AND TISSUE DONATION MULTICULTURAL ACTION GROUP (NMAG) HAS DESIGNATED AUGUST IN ITS ENTIRETY TO MINORITY DONOR AWARENESS.
This national observance period is dedicated to honoring multicultural donors and their families, while simultaneously encouraging people of diverse communities to become registered organ donors. August 2021 marks 25 years of recognizing this cause.
It is evident that over half of the individuals waiting on the organ transplant list are minorities, while minorities account for just over 30% of donors. People of different ethnic or racial backgrounds can be a match for organ transplantation, although transplantation between individuals of shared genetic backgrounds increases the chance of long-term survival. The gap between minority donors and minorities in need of a transplant results in increased time on the waiting list for transplantation, and consequently more lives lost. Longer wait times also lead to an increase in dialysis utilization which takes a mental and physical toll on individuals, while also increasing medical costs.
PLAN OF ACTION
National Minority Donor Awareness Month has a mission to advocate the need for minority donors, educate diverse communities, answer questions about becoming a registered donor, and to promote disease prevention to prevent the need for transplantation. Creating awareness is only the start.
MediGO has a mission to improve health outcomes by increasing access to life saving medical assets through efficient resource management. That is why we partner with organizations who prioritize thoughtful conversations with minority communities, and seek innovative solutions to increase donation and transplantation opportunities. Mid-America Transplant is one such organization.
Mid-America Transplant works to support BIPOC communities throughout their designated service area by building relationships with individuals and organizations to help the community through mental and preventative health efforts. Mid-America shows their support through partnerships such as their alliance with Casa de Salud which provides health care to the immigrant and refugee community in St. Louis, Missouri. They also support the Association for Multicultural Affairs in Transplantation (AMAT) whose mission aligns with that of National Minority Donor Awareness Month. These partnerships provide Mid-America Transplant with the ability to conduct direct and transparent conversations with BIPOC communities. This line of communication provides insight to this community’s needs, while also sharing information regarding organ donation and transplantation.
“As healthcare organizations, Organ Procurement Organizations, work to address issues of health equity with BIPOC communities by maximizing donation opportunities. Before we can ask a community to register for organ donation, we must first understand its needs and work to serve those needs. Mid-America Transplant seeks to learn through our partner organizations. In turn, we provide ongoing education on the benefits of organ donation and transplantation through transparent two-way community. It is this same commitment that led Mid-America Transplant to form our partnership with MediGO. Our use of the MediGO platform allows us to engage in transparent two-way communication with transplant centers. It reflects our same commitment to the community,” Kevin Lee, Mid-America Transplant COO. “Mid-America Transplant looks to organizations like AMAT to inform and guide our conversations with the community we serve.”
“Every organ is a precious gift that must be carefully delivered to the recipient. This is especially true for members of Black and Brown communities who experience longer wait times for a life-saving organ transplants,” said Marion Shuck, President of AMAT. “As a donor family and a donation professional, I believe in the power of transparency and equitable access to information on the benefits and process of donation and transplantation. AMAT supports informed efforts to partner with communities to build trust for the healthcare system while increasing participation in the organ donation registry. AMAT also supports innovative partnerships that stewards organs in an efficient manner to maximize donation for communities we serve.”