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Collaboration announced to increase donation among minorities

San Antonio, TX -- Former NBA star and ESPN/ABC commentator, Sean Elliott today announced a national education campaign to promote organ donation among U.S. minority communities at the American Society of Minority Health Transplant Professionals (ASMHTP) 11th Annual Meeting.

Elliott, the recipient of a live donor kidney, has agreed to serve as the national spokesman for this Closing the Gap™ public education campaign. Led by ASMHTP, the campaign is being designed as a joint venture among many of the nation's professional transplant and minority medical organizations.

In the year-long nationwide initiative, participating organizations and professional societies will enlist their members in the dissemination of educational materials and information to minority communities at a local level.

"The collaboration of so many professional organizations has enormous potential to reach minority communities. We've formed a network of professionals who routinely communicate directly with the target audiences in a one-on-one setting," said incoming ASMHTP president, Clifton McClenney. As a regional administrator for the United Network for Organ Sharing, McClenney works closely with transplant professionals from around the country. "In addition to mass media dissemination, we'll employ good old-fashioned face-to-face communication to spread the word."

The campaign will emphasize the awareness messages devised specifically for minority audiences by the Coalition on Donation; the Division of Transplantation (DoT), a component of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; and the National Minority Organ Tissue Transplant Education Program (National MOTTEP):

  1. The need: unique health issues of minorities, transplant demand among minorities and the limited pool of organs for transplantation.
  2. Only you have the power to save lives. Talk to your family about Donating Life. A conversation with your family will take place before donation can happen, so they need to know your wishes.
  3. Protect your health and prevent the need for a future transplant.

The campaign will involve the following components.

  • Distribution of existing educational and awareness materials produced by the Coalition on Donation, DoT and MOTTEP for minority audiences through members of the National Medical Association (NMA). The NMA distribution will make the materials available in the waiting rooms of family practice physicians in minority communities, health clinics and hospitals that have transplant programs, as well as churches and houses of worship.
  • Creation of a Closing the Gap information page on the ASMHTP Web site with more in-depth information that reflects the materials of the Coalition on Donation, DoT and MOTTEP.
  • Placement of inspiring and informative minority donation stories in print, television and entertainment media sources.
  • Publication of abstracts and studies, clinical presentations that highlight clinical issues surrounding organ donation in minority communities.

Closing the Gap is an unprecedented collaboration of professional health organizations to address the particular needs of minority communities as they relate to organ health and the need for organ donation. To date, the following organizations have agreed to support the ASMHTP initiative: the United Network for Organ Sharing and the UNOS Foundation, the Coalition on Donation, the National Minority Organ Tissue Transplant Education Program, the Department of Transplantation, the National Medical Association, The Links, Incorporated and its Linkage to Life Initiative, Association of Organ Procurement Organization and the North American Transplant Coordinators Organization.

This initiative is made possible through support from the United Network for Organ Sharing and the UNOS Foundation.