August is Multiethnic Donor Awareness Month!
Donor Network West is proud to support Multiethnic Donor Awareness Month, celebrated every August! As we celebrate 35 years of saving and healing lives through organ and tissue donation, we are proud of our ongoing commitment to ensuring that everyone, no matter of their ethnic background, is armed with accurate information to make an educated decision about organ donation for themselves and their loved ones.
In 1987, when Donor Network West (formerly California Transplant Donor Network) was founded, Phyllis Weber, the first CEO of Donor Network West led a team of 15 employees charged with a passion of ensuring that everyone received quality and compassionate care at every stage of their life. Phyllis also had a fearless commitment to improving health outcomes in minority communities and this has been a part of Donor Network West’s DNA ever since.
So while we join our OPO colleagues and partners in celebrating August as Multiethnic Donor Awareness Month, increasing the number of multiethnic donors is something Donor Network West is committed to on daily basis. Through the work of our more than 300 employees, Donor Network West recorded the highest number of multiethnic organ donors in 2021 and continues to be a leader in this area among the 56 other organ procurement organizations nationwide. We are also proud that our employees are representative of the population we serve.
This is a significant achievement because the need for more multiethnic organ donors continues to be great. Nearly 60 percent of the 100,000 people waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant in the United States are from multiethnic communities. While organs are not matched according to race or ethnicity, compatible blood types and tissue markers, which are critical qualities for donor/recipient matching, are more likely to be found among members of the same ethnicity. Increasing the diversity of organ donors will not only help improve access to organ transplants for people of color, it will also increase the overall number of organs available for transplantation, ultimately helping to save and heal more lives.
As we continue to work to increase the diversity of organ donors, we as a community have the power to make a difference. So, this August and every day, we encourage everyone to:
- Register to become an organ donor today and share your wishes with your friends and family.
- Educate your friends, family and community about the importance of organ donation.
- Talk to your doctor about healthy habits to reduce your risk of diabetes and high blood pressure, two diseases that significantly affect multiethnic communities and are known to put patients at risk for organ failure.
For more information about organ donation and multiethnic communities, visit these helpful resources:
- National Minority Donor Awareness Month
- Association for Multicultural Affairs in Transplantation
- Heath Resources & Services Administration
- National Minority Organ Tissue Transplant Education Program
Donor Network West saves and heals lives by facilitating organ and tissue recovery for transplantation and research. The organization was established in 1987 and is an official Donate Life organization accredited by the Association of Organ Procurement Organizations (AOPO) and the American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB). Federally designated to serve 45 counties in Northern California and Northern Nevada, Donor Network West partners with the Department of Motor Vehicles and the state-authorized donor registries. For information, visit DonorNetworkWest.org and follow us on social media: @mydnwest.