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Aggressive Outreach can Boost Organ Donation Numbers for Hispanic Americans

Update Date: Aug 06, 2014 04:05 PM EDT

For people who are placed on an organ donation list, waiting can take forever due to the fact that there are not enough organs available. In a new study, researchers headed by Ali Salim, M.D., of Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, set out to see if an outreach campaign could raise awareness and improve organ donation numbers. They discovered that the campaign, which incorporated local media and educational programs, could increase the consent rates for Hispanic Americans residing in Los Angeles, CA.

In this study, Salim and colleagues observed the effectiveness of an aggressive outreach program over the span of five years. The campaign used television and radio programs to inform people about organ donation. It also included educational programs at high schools, churches and community clinics. The campaign lasted from 2007 to 2012. Data collection started in 2005 and ended in 2011.

The researchers found that the campaign reached more than 25,000 people. There were a total of 268 potential donors and 115 total donors that gave consent. Out of this number, 106 of them were Hispanic Americans. The team also found that from 2005 to 2011, the organ donation consent rate among Hispanic Americans increased from 56 percent to 83 percent. The organ donation rate in non-Hispanic Americans only increased from 67 percent in 2005 to 79 percent in 2011.

"We provide strong evidence that an aggressive, targeted outreach effort increases consent rates for organ donation. During the study period, a significant increase in consent rate was observed among the targeted Hispanic American population and was not evident in the population that was not Hispanic. Continued, similar efforts addressing the ongoing organ shortage crisis are warranted," the authors concluded according to the press release.

The study was published in JAMA Surgery.

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