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Original Investigation
Pacific Coast Surgical Association
September 2014

Effect of Community Educational Interventions on Rate of Organ Donation Among Hispanic Americans

Author Affiliations
  • 1Division of Trauma, Burn, and Surgical Critical Care, Department of Surgery, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 2Division of Trauma and Critical Care, Department of Surgery, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, California
  • 3Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles
JAMA Surg. 2014;149(9):899-902. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2014.1014

Importance  The need for suitable organs for transplantation is especially pronounced in minority populations such as Hispanic Americans owing to disproportionately high rates of diabetes mellitus and kidney disease. Considerable barriers exist for Hispanic Americans consent to donation, resulting in significantly lower donation rates compared with white individuals.

Objective  To investigate the effect of an aggressive outreach intervention during a 5-year period aimed at improving organ donation rates among Hispanic Americans.

Design, Setting, and Participants  Prospective longitudinal observation study of organ donors treated at a major metropolitan level I trauma center. The center provides most of the medical care to the 4 Southern California neighborhoods with a high percentage of Hispanic Americans that were included in the study.

Interventions  Television and radio media campaigns and culturally sensitive educational programs implemented at high schools, churches, and medical clinics in the target neighborhoods.

Main Outcome and Measure  Consent rate for organ donation recorded during the study.

Results  Outreach interventions started in 2007 and were completed by 2012. Of 268 potential donors, 155 total donors (106 Hispanic Americans) provided consent during this time. A significant increase in consent rate was noted among Hispanic Americans, from 56% in 2005 to 83% in 2011 (P = .004); this increase was not evident in the population that was not Hispanic (67% in 2005 and 79% in 2011; P = .21).

Conclusions and Relevance  Aggressive outreach programs can reduce the disparity between organ supply and demand by improving the consent rate among the target group.