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14-11-2013 | Internal medicine | Article

Hispanic–American organ donation campaign boosts intent

Abstract

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medwireNews: Outreach programs designed to increase awareness of and support for organ donation among Hispanic Americans have been successful, research suggests.

Telephone surveys conducted with residents from four Hispanic–American communities in southern California indicate that participants were 1.55 times more likely to express an interest in becoming an organ donor after than before a campaign targeting schools, churches, and local media, including participation in a city parade.

Specifically, 17.7% of participants stated they intended to become organ donors 2 years after the interventions, compared with just 12.1% of participants interviewed 2 years beforehand.

“These findings validate the positive effects of the outreach efforts in the long term and may translate into increased donor registration rates in the near future,” say Ali Salim (Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA) and co-authors.

Overall, 402 residents were interviewed before the campaign and 654 residents were interviewed 2 years later.

Post-intervention participants were also significantly more likely to have seen, heard, or read information on organ donation in the past year than those interviewed beforehand (97.2 vs 91.8%, adjusted odds ratio [AOR]=2.91), and significantly more likely to believe organ donation can give the recipients additional years of life (90.9 vs 84.7%, AOR=1.99).

In addition, the campaign appeared to help correct misinformation on organ donation, with an increase in the proportion of respondents who correctly stated that organ removal for donation does not cause disfiguration or have an impact on funeral arrangements (59.6 vs 52.0%, AOR=1.38).

“A large presence on the waiting list matched with a historic lack of intent to donate makes the Hispanic American community a prime population on whom to focus resources and educational efforts to increase the number of registered donors,” Salim et al comment in JAMA Surgery.

While acknowledging they were unable to determine which interventions were responsible for the improvements in awareness and intention to donate, the researchers nevertheless conclude that “these programs should continue to be evaluated and implemented to influence donor registration.“

medwireNews (www.medwirenews.com) is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2013

By Lynda Williams, Senior medwireNews Reporter