Health Equity in Organ Donation and Transplantation
LifeNet Health is committed promoting health equity and addressing health disparities – especially when it comes to expanding access across ethnicities – in organ donation and transplantation. There is a critical shortage of organs in Virginia and nationwide. One donor can save up to nine lives – making a difference for the 100,000-plus Americans who are on the national transplant waiting list.
While shared ethnicity is not a requirement for matching an organ, it has been shown to increase the likelihood of a genetic match between donor and recipient. Also, people with rare immune system markers are more likely to match someone from a similar ethnic background. This can increase the chances for long-term survival.
Altogether, 60% of those on the national transplant waiting list are ethnically diverse, according to data from the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network:
- 28% are Black
- 22% are Hispanic
- 8% are Asian
- 1% are American Indian/Alaskan Native
- 1% are Pacific Islander
- 1% are of multiethnic descent
One Hero: A Program to Address Disparities
LifeNet Health launched the One Hero program in 2021 to address disparities in donation and transplantation within the Black community. The campaign has reached thousands of Black Virginians through digital messages and in-person community events. As a result, an estimated 2,027 people have registered as organ and tissue donors.
In 2022, LifeNet Health will continue to expand the One Hero campaign through social media, public promotion, and in-person events. The goal is to help close health disparities by addressing common misconceptions and spreading the word about all the good that comes from donation.