A new bill will require education about organ donation in Michigan public schools

Two teenage girls wearing disposable glasses that mimic the need for a cornea transplant.

A new bill introduced Tuesday in the Michigan House would require education about organ, eye and tissue donation for 9th graders in public schools statewide.

Vertical Michigan driver's license for people under 21 years old, with red heart donor symbol emphasizedTwenty-four states, including neighboring Ohio, Illinois, and Indiana, require it. Michigan does not. As a result, double the percentage of young people register as organ donors in those states when they get their first driver’s license.

“We know that after young people learn about donation and hear why all the myths just aren’t true, so many of them want to get that heart on their new driver’s license,” said Dorrie Dils, president and CEO at Gift of Life Michigan, the state’s organ and tissue donation program. “But critical education is lacking here and – as a result – young drivers in Michigan are half as likely to register than in other states.”

Rep. Felicia Brabec of Pittsfield Twp. introduced the legislation. She said the bill would require Michigan public schools to offer one hour of donation-related education and information about the Michigan Organ Donor Registry.

“This important legislation will provide students with the knowledge and understanding needed to make a choice that will inevitably become theirs when they receive their driver’s permit,” Brabec said. “It gives kids the time to self-reflect, learn, and investigate to make the choice that is right for them. We are simply giving them the platform to become informed.”

Six women wearing "All of Us" branded jacketsGift of Life Michigan employs full-time educators who offer free presentations about organ, eye and tissue donation at schools across the state. But the program only reaches about 200 of Michigan’s 1,800 public high schools.

About 2,400 Michiganders are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant and 16,000 people are lingering on dialysis. Many would benefit from a life-saving kidney transplant.

“The Michigan Organ Donor Registry isn’t growing fast enough to meet the urgent need for transplants,” Dils said. “The best way to address it is to make education about donation available in our public schools, as many other states do,” Dils said. “Michigan is far behind other states. It can and will do better with this important legislation.

Read More Posts
2023: A RECORD YEAR; 500 organ donors

Gift of Life Michigan breaks record for organ donors in a year

Unprecedented 500 donors save lives so far in 2023 Michigan’s organ and tissue donation program…

Read More
a green stethoscope surrounding two pink paper kidneys on a gray background

Gift of Life Michigan CEO praises protections for living organ donors

Gift of Life Michigan celebrates the passage of a law that prevents health insurers from…

Read More
A group of Gift of Life staff, transplant recipients and legislators gathers around Governor Whitmer, who is seated at her desk and holding up the signed Check Your Heart Act

New law lets residents sign up through tax forms

Michigan residents who haven’t yet added their names to the Michigan Organ Donor Registry will…

Read More
Artelia Griggs, donor mother, receiving an award from Christine Peiter, Gift of Life employee and tissue graft recipient

Gift of Life’s gala generates thousands for critical programs

Popular signature event will grow in 2024 The annual Champions Gala honoring people and organizations…

Read More
Guests enjoyed free Dippin' Dots ice cream at Donate Life Night at the Zoo

Donate Life Night at the Zoo celebrates organ donors, transplant recipients and renewed life

Gift of Life’s largest West Michigan outreach event returned this week to the popular John…

Read More
Terra DeFoe, donor mother, stands in front of a church stained glass window

National Minority Donor Awareness Month is crucial to saving more lives

August is National Minority Donor Awareness Month, designated to heighten awareness about organ and tissue…

Read More
Scroll to Top