August is National Minority Donor Awareness Month, designated to heighten awareness about organ and tissue donation in multicultural communities.
Originally observed in a single week in 1996, this awareness month is a collaborative effort by the National Multicultural Action Group to save and improve lives by focusing on the African American, Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Islander and Native American communities.
These communities are at higher risk for conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity that, left untreated, often lead to organ failure. Yet these populations are less likely to sign up as organ and tissue donors due to many factors, including mistrust of the healthcare system.
National Minority Donor Awareness Month is another opportunity for organ procurement organizations, including Gift of Life Michigan, to correct misconceptions, educate the public about organ and tissue donation and urge everyone to Check Your Heart to determine if they’re signed up on the Michigan Organ Donor Registry, and do so if they are not.
About 104,000 people are waiting for a lifesaving transplant in the U.S. Roughly 60% of them are either Black, Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Islander or another minority class. About 65% of patients waiting for a kidney transplant in the U.S. are minorities, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing.
In Michigan, about 2,400 patients were waiting for transplants as of August 1, 2023. Of those, 718 are African American, 95 are Hispanic, and 66 were of Middle Eastern descent.
It’s a reminder that one person can be a source of life or life-improved for so many others.
Click on the infographics below to see them larger.