August is National Minority Donor Awareness Month. This is a collaborative effort to save and improve the quality of life of diverse communities by creating a positive culture of organ, eye and tissue donation.
More than 103,000 people are on the national transplant waiting list. Members of racial and ethnic minorities make up 60 percent of those waiting. Every day, 17 people die waiting for a transplant.
The need for donation and transplant is more pronounced in minority communities where disproportionately higher rates of diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease contribute to organ failure, especially kidney failure. Black or African Americans are more than 3 times as likely and Hispanics or Latinos are 1.3 times more likely to have kidney failure compared to White Americans.
On average, African American/Black transplant candidates wait longer than non-Black transplant candidates for kidney, heart, and lung transplants. These healthcare disparities underscore the need for National Minority Donor Awareness Month education and outreach to help heal and save lives in our communities.
National Minority Donor Awareness Month encourages everyone to elevate the need for more organ, eye and tissue donors within multicultural communities, provide donation education, encourage donor registration, and promote healthy living and disease prevention to decrease the need for transplantation. People age 16 or older can join the New York State Donate Life Registry through a form at www.kfwny.org/register.
Thanks to the generosity of donors and donor families, and the dedication of donation and transplantation professionals, a record number of 42,000 people — including 21,000 from racial and ethnic minorities — received a lifesaving organ transplant in 2022.
National Minority Donor Awareness Month grew from National Minority Donor Awareness Week, founded in 1996 by the National Minority Organ Tissue Transplant Education Program and Clive Callender, M.D., to bring heightened awareness to health disparities, and organ donation and transplantation’s impact in minority communities.