As More Multicultural Communities Say “Yes” to Organ and Tissue Donation, AMAT’S Diversity Working Groups Spearhead Innovative Approaches to Continue the Momentum
OAKLAND, Calif., August 1, 2011—The Association for Multicultural Affairs in Transplantation (AMAT) proudly celebrates August 1st as the 15th anniversary of National Minority Donor Awareness Day—a day that honors the generosity of multicultural donors and their families, while also underscoring the critical need for diverse communities to register as potential organ and tissue donors.
Data from the United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS) confirms that African Americans, Hispanic/Latinos, Native Americans, and Asian/Pacific Islanders comprise more than 54 percent of the 110,000 U.S. residents who are currently on the national waiting list for life-saving organ and tissue transplants. This issue is compounded by the fact that multicultural communities are disproportionately at-risk for co-morbidities such as diabetes, hypertension, and hepatitis--all conditions that can lead to possibly needing a transplant. Sobered by this statistic, yet encouraged by the fact that the number of minority donors has more than doubled since National Minority Donor Awareness Day was launched in 1996, AMAT remains ever-stalwart in its effort to provide members with culturally competent resources, best practices, and innovative approaches for fostering cultures of donation within multicultural communities.
“Organ and tissue donation organizations have made great strides, reaching almost 100 million Americans who have registered to be donors,” said Sandy Andrada, president of AMAT. “However, our multicultural communities still need to be moved towards action. AMAT is dedicated to supporting our members as they increase support of donation in these communities.”
AMAT’s three diversity working groups are extremely focused on increasing the number of multicultural families who say “yes” to donation. Together, the African American, Asian/Pacific Islander and Latino/Hispanic working groups often collaborate to explore and implement cross-cultural strategies aimed at eradicating barriers to donation that tend to be especially prevalent in multicultural communities, including in-depth education around myths surrounding organ and tissue donation and exploring the intersection of spirituality and giving the gift of life. Individually, each AMAT diversity working group continues to implement and explore innovative strategies to engage their core audiences:
AFRICAN AMERICAN WORKING GROUP
“Our committee members are mobilizing our message throughout the community by sponsoring events such as concerts, walks, runs, health fairs, comedy shows and luncheons to engage our community in the mission of organ and tissue donation,” said Remonia Chapman, Chair of the African American Working Group. “Churches, community organizations, media personalities, politicians, sororities and fraternities have joined together to increase donor designations and save and enhance lives by being community ambassadors with our donor families and recipients.”
ASIAN PACIFIC ISLANDER WORKING GROUP
“Between 2000 and 2010, the Asian population in the U.S. grew by 43.3%--more than any other ethnic group,” said Sabrina Ho, Chair of Asian Pacific Islander Working Group. “This has impacted both the amount of time and the number of Asians on the national organ transplant waiting list. However, the number of deceased Asian donors nearly doubled during this same timeframe. As a result of this marked increase, nearly 1,400 Asians have received life-saving organ transplants. Our committee members have worked hard to collect the inspirational stories of Asian/Pacific Islander donors, recipients and transplant professionals to educate the community on organ, eye and tissue donation.”
HISPANIC/LATINO WORKING GROUP
“In the last decade, more than 10,000 Hispanic donors have saved more than 33,000 lives in the U.S.” said Elena de la Cruz, Chair of AMAT’s Latino Working Group. “We thank them for their great generosity, and remind them that the need is still great. Our focus is to increase donor designation in this community by, among other things, working with partners like Mexican Consulates across the nation, and creating culturally and linguistically sensitive donation materials to dispel myths and fears about the process.”
“As we recognize the 15th anniversary of National Minority Donor Awareness Day, we applaud AMAT’s diversity workgroups and the creative strategies they employ to save more lives,” noted Dr. Silas P. Norman, Chair of the UNOS Minority Affairs Committee. “AMAT members are on the front lines of engendering a culture of donation among all communities, and their unique strategies—from forging faith-based collaborations to media storytelling—are instrumental in galvanizing more multicultural communities to support organ and tissue donation.”
AMAT (Formerly ASMHT) was established in 1992 to address the increasing need for organ and tissue donors in the multicultural communities while simultaneously offering support, shared expertise and professional development opportunities for its members as they save and heal lives. AMAT is a self-sustaining, self-governed organization operating solely on voluntary contributions from individuals, corporations, and other affiliated organizations. For more information, visit: www.AMAT1.org .
CONTACT: Carla Hawkins, Public Relations Chair, AMAT, (229) 291-7457, email@example.com
Ayanna N.S. Anderson, Public Relations Co-Chair, AMAT (510) 251-7003, firstname.lastname@example.org