More multiethnic donors increases the available organ pool helping save and heal more lives
Donor Network West, the federally designated organ procurement organization for northern Nevada and northern California, coordinated 228 multiethnic organ donors in 2021, the highest number of multiethnic organ donors in the history of the organization. This is also the second highest number of multiethnic organ donors in the country across 57 organ procurement organizations.
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.
Of the 228 multiethnic donors in 2021, Donor Network West recorded its highest number of Hispanic organ donors, coordinating 122 and its highest number of African American organ donors, coordinating 36. These numbers represent an increase of 47 percent in Hispanic organ donors since 2018 and a 57 percent increase in African American organ donors since 2018. Among the African American community, this has resulted in an 83 percent increase in authorization for donation. Since 2018, Donor Network West has also been able to increase its Asian American donors by 68 percent.
“With minorities representing more than 60 percent of the national organ transplant waiting list, there is a critical need to reach multiethnic communities with preventative health information and organ donation education. By reducing the number of minorities on the waiting list and registering more minorities to become organ donors, everyone has a better chance of receiving an organ transplant and ultimately more lives can be saved,” said Janice F. Whaley, President and CEO of Donor Network West.
“I am incredibly proud of the work that our team has made in reaching more minorities about organ, eye and tissue donation. Through our team’s continued efforts, in partnership with our dedicated healthcare partners, we are seeing multiethnic communities say “yes” to donation at record numbers. I remain committed to ensuring that all communities have access to information about organ donation and transplantation, so that we may one day be able to eliminate the organ transplant waiting list.”
Over the course of 2021, Donor Network West coordinated 390 organ donors, resulting in 1,156 organs transplanted; recovered tissue from 2,302 donors and provided 4,766 samples for research.
There are more than 100,000 people waiting for an organ transplant in the United States. One donor can save up to eight lives through organ donation and heal as many as 75 people through tissue donation. To learn more about organ and tissue donation and to register as a donor, visit your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or go to DonorNetworkWest.org.
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