African Americans make up nearly 30 percent of the national waiting list for lifesaving organ transplants, but account for less than 15 percent of actual donors, according to data from the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN). The disparity comes from cultural and social misconceptions, along with a distrust of the health care system. This results in African Americans being underrepresented on state registries. It’s time to know the truth.
Southwest Transplant Alliance, the nonprofit organ procurement organization (OPO) based in Dallas, has launched KNOW THE TRUTH, a public information campaign aimed at providing education, resources and awareness about the need for organ donation in the African American community.
KNOW THE TRUTH highlights real-life stories of African Americans who have undergone transplants and busts the myths that permeate communities. One of those stories is that of Andre Tucker, a kidney recipient, seen here.
While ethnicity, social status, income, or culture are never factors in determining who receives organ transplants, similar ethnic backgrounds between organ donors and recipients do make matches more likely.
Registering to be an organ donor helps every community represented by the 114,000 on the national waiting list. In Texas alone, more than 10,000 people are awaiting a lifesaving transplant.