Office of Health Equity Recognizes National Minority Donor Awareness Month

Michelle Allender, Director, Office of Health Equity, Health Resources and Services Administration, Rockville, MD 20857; Letter published July 15, 2021

Dear National Organ, Eye, and Tissue Donation Multicultural Action Group Colleagues:

On behalf of the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Office of Health Equity and HRSA’s Division of Transplantation, I would like to thank you for your continuing efforts and dedication 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 (NMDAM), observed during August of each year, provides a great opportunity to bring heightened awareness to health disparities, and organ donation and transplantation’s impact in minority communities.

Since its inception by National Minority Organ Tissue Transplant Education Program in 1996 as a week-long observance, NMDAM has continued to amplify the importance of donation and transplantation in multicultural communities – focusing primarily on African American, Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Islander, and Native American communities. Now in its 2nd year as a month-long observance and 25th anniversary year overall. NMDAM continues to educate multicultural communities about organ, eye, and tissue donation and transplantation, to encourage donor registration and family conversations about donation, and to promote healthy living and disease prevention to decrease the need for transplantation. You play a pivotal role in our nation’s extraordinary record of growth in organ donation and transplantation among minority communities.

HRSA appreciates the ongoing collaboration with the member organizations that comprise the National Organ, Eye and Tissue Donation Multicultural Action Group in addressing disparities in access to life-saving and life-enhancing transplants. Addressing health equities and disparities is a core mission of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and HRSA. Thus, we are proud to support this collective effort to ensure all Americans, especially racial and ethnic minorities, are made aware of their potential to save and improve the lives of the thousands of men, women, and children waiting for a transplant by registering as organ, eye, and tissue donors.

HHS serves the needs of approximately 108,000 men, women, and children who are waiting for life-saving or life-enhancing organ transplants, 60% of whom represent racial and ethnic minorities. We consider you individually and collectively as vital partners in our efforts to close the gap between the demand for organ transplants and the supply of donated organs. Thank you for the work you do each day to create one voice and one vision to save and heal lives.

Sincerely,

Michelle Allender, MS, BSN, RN
Director
Health Resources and Services Administration