Minority Organ and Tissue Donation Program
Members of racial and ethnic minority groups, particularly African Americans, American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Hispanic Americans, are disproportionately afflicted with end-stage renal disease (ESRD). The best therapy for ESRD is kidney transplantation because it improves patients' quality of life and survival rates. However, the number of organs and tissues donated by members of these groups and other underserved populations is low; therefore, the likelihood of a good match between donor and recipient and, ultimately, survival of the transplanted organ is reduced.
To address the present health disparities, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), in collaboration with the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NCMHD), established the organ and tissue donation program. With more organs and tissues from minority groups in the donor pool, the survival rates and quality of life of their members are expected to improve.
The Need for Education
Over the past ten years, several programs have been initiated to increase minority organ and tissue donation. The Minority Organ and Tissue Transplant Education Program (MOTTEP) was established by the NCMHD and the NIDDK to provide intensive educational activities in 15 cities across the United States. During the same period, the Organ and Tissue Donation initiative of the Division of Transplantation of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and other agencies of the Department of Health and Human Services also intensified several educational programs.
Perhaps as the result of these combined efforts, organ and tissue donation increased, especially in the minority communities. However, the rate of organ and tissue donation from minorities remains lower than their representation in the population with organ failure, especially ESRD. More efforts are needed to continue improvement in these populations.
Creating a New Environment
The Minority Organ and Tissue Donation Program is expected to create an environment supportive of organ donation in racial and ethnic minority communities by
Project Officer: Lawrence Agodoa, M.D., 301-594-1932.
- Increasing exposure to donation messages and opportunities to express donation commitments. This could be accomplished through the national and local media, community interventions (at schools, churches, etc.), health promotion and disease prevention efforts, and dissemination and replication of best practices that have been identified through research and evaluation
- Evaluating the impact of increased support for living organ donation (e.g., provisions to cover child care, travel, and other expenses for living donors)
- Increasing minority cadaveric and living organ donations
- Increasing donation from non-traditional donors (older donors, living donors, etc.)
Page last updated: April 19, 2011