Lack Of Awareness, Religious, Spiritual Beliefs Prevent Minorities From Becoming Organ Donors

Armen Hareyan's picture
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Experts maintain that lack of awareness, religious and spiritualbeliefs, and an overall distrust of the medical system are among thereasons for low minority organ donation.

Blacks and Hispanics constitute the largest percentage of individualsin need of an organ transplant, but the groups are the least likely tobe donors and wait almost twice as long as others to receive organtransplants, the St. Petersburg Times reports. According to the Times, health professionals call the situation a "deadly disparity."

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Organtransplant patients are more likely to find a genetically compatiblematch from an individual in their own ethnic group. In 2007, blacksmade up 15% of organ donors and Hispanics made up 14%. Even fewerAmerican Indians are organ donors, according to the Times.

Community outreachefforts, such as those that provide bilingual donor awarenessinformation, have proven to be successful in raising donation ratessomewhat among minorities, according to the Times. Donor rates among minorities were 11% for blacks and 9% for Hispanics more than 10 years ago.

Aisha Huertas, public outreach and marketing coordinator for Donate Life America,said, "When you factor in the number of minorities that are waiting andcompare that to the number who are giving, there is a huge difference,and it points to a huge problem." The situation "is dire," she added(Hutcheson, St. Petersburg Times, 8/26).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view theentire Kaiser WeeklyHealth Disparities Report,search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Weekly Health Disparities Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, afree service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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