Friday, July 27, 2007

National Minority Organ Donor Awareness Day - August 1, 2007

The Healing Project encourages all members of our community to particpate in organ and tissue donation programs. It is a gift of life.

August 1 is National Minority Organ Donor Awareness Day, and the National Minority Organ and Tissue Transplant Education Program (National MOTTEP®) was established to encourage the minority communities to actively particpate in these programs to save lives.

Why is it so important to have more minority organ donors?

• More than 83,000 persons are currently on the national transplant waiting list.

• 16 people die each day waiting for a life-saving organ transplant.

• More than 50% of people waiting for transplants are racial/ethnic minorities including:

23,558 African Americans;
13,059 Hispanics/Latinos; and
5,158 Asians/Pacific Islanders.

• Patients in need of a transplant are more likely to find a genetically compatible match within their own racial/ethnic group.

• Minority donors account for only about 25% of the available donor pool.

MOTTEP is an education and awareness campaign that delivers a culturally sensitive message through ethnically similar messengers who are known within their communities. In addition to implementing strategies to increase the participation of minorities in organ/tissue donation, including signing organ donor cards, the program also includes a preventive focus that addresses the diseases and behaviors that lead to the need for organ transplants, such as diabetes, hypertension, alcohol/substance abuse and poor nutrition.

MOTTEP, which originated the idea for National Minority Donor Awareness Day in 1996, suggests a number of ways that minority nurses can get involved in this life-saving campaign. For example:

• Organize a health fair that includes prevention and organ donation information.

• Distribute brochures and other information about organ/
tissue donation (available from MOTTEP) to local churches, businesses and community organizations.

• Invite a speaker to give a presentation at your church, school, workplace or community group meeting.

• Hold a family forum where relatives and friends can discuss their questions and concerns about living healthier lifestyles and organ/tissue donation.

• Encourage transplant recipients or donor families that you know to tell their stories.

For more information about how you can participate in National Minority Organ Donor Awareness Day activities in your community, contact the National MOTTEP in Washington, D.C. at (800) 393-2839 or visit MOTTEP also has several local branches in various parts of the country, including Chicago, Detroit, Miami, New York, Honolulu and elsewhere.

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