Local outreach efforts just achieved a big success in raising awareness of organ donation in Native communities. Although most people waiting for organ transplants belong to racial and ethnic minorities, relatively few organ donors are minorities themselves. This mismatch between supply and demand is particularly acute for Native Americans – because the best organ donor for a Native person is often another Native. LifeCenter Northwest, a nonprofit organization dedicated to saving lives through organ and tissue donation, partners with more than 200 hospitals to serve families and communities across Washington, Montana, northern Idaho, and Alaska. Their staff works with families to help them decide whether to choose organ donation. Members of Partnerships for Native Health developed a training for the organization’s family support staff to help them understand Native beliefs and concerns about organ donation and transplantation. This cultural sensitivity training has just been recognized in the organization’s annual report. Thanks to robust outreach efforts by LifeCenter Northwest, the number of Native Americans who donated organs and tissue increased by 32% in 2014! We’re proud of this achievement, and we congratulate Dedra Buchwald, Meghan Jernigan, Abigail Echo-Hawk, Cindy Gamble, and Ka’imi Sinclair for their contribution to addressing Native health disparities.
May 7th 2015,