National Minority Awareness Week
National Minority Donor Awareness Week (NMDAW), celebrated annually during the first week of August, is a nationwide observance to educate minorities about the desperate need for donation and transplantation within the multicultural community and how to designate their decision to Donate Life. Now in its 16th year, this special observance encourages people from all racial and ethnic groups to become donors by registering at RegisterMe.org. It also draws special attention to minorities, who make up 56% of the nearly 120,000 men, women, and children on the national organ transplant waiting list (more than 1,350 of these individuals live in Connecticut).
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “Although organs are not matched according to race/ethnicity, and people of different races frequently match one another, all individuals waiting for an organ transplant will have a better chance of receiving one if there are large numbers of donors from their racial/ethnic background. This is because compatible blood types and tissue markers—critical qualities for donor/recipient matching—are more likely to be found among members of the same ethnicity.”
The goal of NMDAW is to inspire people from all racial and ethnic groups to become donors and to educate them on how to register their decision.
Why is it important for minorities to become donors?
Ethnic minorities are in desperate need of more organ and tissue donors. There are more than 64,000 minority individuals (this number includes African Americans, Asians, Hispanics, American Indians, Pacific Islanders, and people of multiracial descent) registered on the U.S. organ transplant waiting list. Minorities comprise 56 percent of individuals on the national organ transplant waiting list and 33 percent of living and deceased organ donors while making up 36 percent of the U.S. population. Many of the conditions leading to the need for a transplant -- such as diabetes and hypertension -- occur with greater frequency among minority populations.
The Association for Multicultural Affairs in Transplantation (AMAT) supports our partners in the transplant field as they save and heal lives in our diverse communities.
Multicultural communities play a critical role in America’s transplant system. They save and heal lives as donors of organs, eyes and tissue, need life-saving kidney transplants in disproportionately high numbers, and serve patients and families as healthcare professionals.
Donation and transplant professionals face unique challenges when communicating with grieving families, transplant candidates and patients, hospital staff, and the public with African American, Hispanic/Latino, Asian and other multicultural communities.
Through professional development, cultural competency training, and other expertise born of front-line experience, AMAT’s members offer a valuable perspective to help our partners in the transplant field accomplish their life-saving mission in our diverse communities.