With February being National Black History Month, we thought we’d highlight a few people who have made a BIG impact for organ donation, and the need for an increased number of organ donors in the African American community.
Making an Impact for Organ Donation
Dr. Velma Scantlebury - America’s first black female transplant surgeon - has helped perform more than 1,000 kidney transplants since beginning her career in 1989. Extremely passionate about her work in the organ donation community, she works to educate minorities about organ donation in hopes of encouraging them to become organ donors. She has vowed that she will not be satisfied until “the number of African Americans donating equals the number that needs to be transplanted.”
Image: Dr Velma Scantlebury (AMAT)
Dr. Clive O. Callender - a senior African American transplant surgeon - has focused his career on organ transplant medicine, founding the Howard University Transplant Center and the National Minority Organ Tissue Transplant Education Program. As a professor at Howard University, he has helped shape the dialogue among some of the nation’s most promising medical students and professionals.
Image: Dr. Clive O. Callender (AMAT)
Walter Payton - an American football running back who suffered from the rare autoimmune liver disease known as primary sclerosing cholangitis - was a well recognized advocate for organ donation, making a substantial impact on the Illinois donor database. Read a blog post written by his son Jarrett Payton, The Legacy of a Lifetime - Walter Payton and Organ Donation
Image: Jarrett and Walter Payton (personal photo)
And while Martin Luther King Jr didn’t make an impact for organ donation, he certainly made an impact with his Outlive Yourself spirit.
Did You Know?
- The African American community is disproportionately at risk for end-stage organ failure.
- In America, 30% of those currently waiting on an organ transplant are African American and almost 35 percent of people waiting for a kidney transplant are African American.
- While organs are not matched according to race or ethnicity, all individuals waiting will have a better chance of receiving the gift of life if there are large numbers of donors from all racial and ethnic backgrounds.
“Due to conditions like diabetes, hypertension, and kidney disease there is a greater need than ever for organ donation and transplants among racial and ethnic minorities.” Watch the Video:
Are you a registered organ donor?
Read 8 Helpful Facts About Minorities and Organ Donation and mark your calendar for August 1-7 for National Minority Donor Awareness week