August is National Minority Donor Awareness Month
|August is National Minority Donor Awareness Month, which focuses attention on the need for minority blood and organ donors. The focus of the awareness campaign is to increase participation in donor programs in order to save lives. According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, communities of color have much higher rates of high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and heart disease, all of which increase the risk for kidney disease. Black Americans are almost four times more likely, and Latino Americans are 1.3 times more likely, to have kidney failure compared to White Americans. Despite the higher risk, data shows Black and Latino patients on dialysis are less likely to be placed on the transplant waitlist and have a lower likelihood of transplantation.
As of 2021, the organ with the most patients waiting for transplants in the U.S. was kidneys, followed by livers. Over 100 thousand patients were in need of a kidney at that time. Within the African-American, Asian, Hispanic, Native American, and Pacific Islander-American communities, the need for transplants becomes even more dire. Minorities make up 57% of those on the organ waiting list. Due to chronic conditions, minority patients see an increased need for transplants affecting the heart, kidney, pancreas, and liver.
It is important to note that organ donation is not based on race or ethnicity. Anyone can donate because all organs can save a life. And while the race of blood donors and blood recipients typically do not matter as long as their blood types are compatible, individuals who are Black (including African American or other individuals of African descent) can have unique needs.
Sickle Cell Blood Needs
New initiative to make UC Davis Health a leader in organ transplant equity
Call To Action
Living donation does not change life expectancy and does not appear to increase the risk of kidney failure. In general, most people with a single normal kidney have few or no problems. Help us spread the word about the importance of minority blood and organ donation.
If you’re a donor or a recipient, share your success story to encourage others to become donors.