Celebrating National Multiethnic Donor Awareness Month

August is National Multiethnic Donor Awareness Month. NMDAM is a collaborative effort by the National Organ, Eye and Tissue Donation Multicultural Action Group (NMAG) to save and improve the quality of life of diverse communities by creating a positive culture for organ, eye and tissue donation. National Minority Donor Awareness Month grew from National Minority Donor Awareness Week, founded in 1996 by the National Minority Organ Tissue Transplant Education Program and Clive Callender, M.D., to bring heightened awareness to health disparities, and organ donation and transplantation’s impact in minority communities.

The national transplant waiting list currently stands at more than 100,000 people, 2,400 Virginians are waiting, with 60% of those waiting representing racial and ethnic minorities.17 people die every day waiting for a transplant.

The need for donation and transplant is more pronounced in minority communities where disproportionately higher rates of diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease contribute to organ failure, especially kidney failure. Black or African Americans are more than 3 times as likely, and Hispanics or Latinos are 1.3 times more likely to have kidney failure compared to White Americans.

On average, African American/Black transplant candidates wait longer than non-Black transplant candidates for kidney, heart, and lung transplants. These healthcare disparities underscore the need for National Multiethnic Donor Awareness Month education and outreach to help heal and save lives in our communities. 

During National Multiethnic Donor Awareness Month, everyone is encouraged to elevate the need for more organ, eye and tissue donors within multicultural communities, provide donation education, encourage donor registration, and promote healthy living and disease prevention to decrease the need for transplantation.Thanks to the generosity of donors and donor families, and the dedication of donation and transplantation professionals, a record number of 42,000 people — including 21,000 from racial and ethnic minorities — received a lifesaving organ transplant in 2022.

You can register your decision to be an organ, eye and tissue donor at the Virginia DMV or online here.

NMAG members: American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB), American Kidney Fund (AKF), Association for Multicultural Affairs in Transplantation (AMAT), Association of Organ Procurement Organizations (AOPO), Donate Life America (DLA), Eye Bank Association of America (EBAA), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), National Minority Organ Tissue Transplant Education Program (MOTTEP), National Kidney Foundation (NKF), The Links, Incorporated, Transplant Life Foundation, and United Network for Organ Sharing.