Outreach Programs Increase Organ Donations by Hispanics

Outreach programs may increase organ donations from Hispanics, according to a study by Ali Salim, M.D., of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, and colleagues.

The growing demand for organs continues to outpace supply. Hispanic Americans are less likely to donate compared with other minorities for reasons that are poorly understood, according to the study background.

Between 2008 and 2010, researchers conducted a study of Hispanics (ages 18 and older) in four southern California neighborhoods. Media campaigns were conducted through television and radio commercials about organ donation along with education programs at high schools and Catholic churches. Awareness, perceptions and beliefs and intent regarding organ donation were compared through telephone surveys before (402 participants, wave 1) and two years after the media campaigns (654 participants, wave 3).

Results in wave 3 indicated an increase in population awareness and knowledge about organ donation and in the intent to donate (17.7 percent vs. 12.1 percent). In wave 3, nearly 97 percent had read, seen or heard information about organ donation in the past year.

“Although the donor registration rate of our study population was lower than the national average registration rate (22.1 percent in wave 3 and 21.3 percent in wave 1 vs. 37 percent), the intent to donate increased by 55 percent in the two years after implementation of our community outreach efforts. These findings validate the positive effects of the outreach efforts in the long term and may translate into increased donor registration rates in the near future,” the study concludes.

JAMA Surgery. Published online November 13, 2013. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2013.3967.