Number of Black Organ Donors Increases in Michigan, Many Blacks Still Reluctant To Donate Organs
Although the number of blacks who are registered as organ donors in Michigan has increased in the last 15 years, many are still reluctant to be organ donors, the Detroit News reports. According to Remonia Chapman, director of Gift of Life Michigan's minority organ tissue transplant education program, many blacks are hesitant to participate with the organ donor registry because they have inadequate access to health care.
Chapman said that increased awareness and education about organ donation and the diseases that lead to the need for donated organs, as well as partnerships with minority donors, black ministers and community groups, have encouraged more blacks to be organ donors. In the last 15 years, the percentage of black Michigan residents who are registered organ donors has increased from 10.8% to 21%, with overall minority registration at 24%. Chapman noted that about 41.3% of people on Michigan's transplant waiting list and about 46% of people in need of a kidney are minorities.
According to the News, minority donors are the best matches for minority organ recipients because the genetic profiles of the donor and recipient will have more similarities. Chapman added that the best matches for kidney recipients are donors from the recipient's family or from the recipient's ethnic group if a family donor is not available (Stolarz, Detroit News, 5/19).