Unyts is committed to increasing awareness regarding organ, eye, tissue and community blood donation. We strive to provide services and educational programming for all those interested in Western New York. Through our programs in colleges, high schools, middle and elementary schools, churches, community groups and businesses, we reach out to various communities to allow those to do all they can in support of the Gift of Life.
Education and Outreach Opportunities
Reaching out and into the community is a vital and critical element of Unyts’ Education and Outreach efforts. They focus chiefly on enhancing and improving awareness in schools, businesses, and communities. Effective outreach and recruitment is key to our efforts to save and enhance lives through donation. It includes a very broad range of activities and all possible avenues are welcome. Our liaisons participate in local events and consistently work to ensure that our mission is broadcast in the community.
Unyts is always looking for opportunities to educate and share our life-saving mission. We participate in many events, including health fairs, job fairs, sports events, festivals, tournaments, picnics and more.
In addition, we offer presentations at many groups within public and private sectors. If you are interested in having Unyts at your event or having an educational presentation, please contact our Community Engagement Coordinator at 716-512-7955 or submit the form below.
Health Disparities in Organ and Blood Donations
People of all ages, races, and ethnicities can save and enhance lives by donating their organs, eyes and tissues. Organ and tissue transplants are needed by people from every area of our nation.
Members of racial and ethnic minority groups, particularly African Americans, Asians and Pacific Islanders, American Indians and Hispanic Americans, are disproportionately afflicted with chronic conditions that affect the kidney, heart, lung, pancreas and liver. For example, these minority groups are three times more likely than Caucasians to suffer from end-stage renal (kidney) disease, often as the result of high blood pressure and other conditions that can damage the kidneys.
In most cases, the best treatment is transplantation because it improves patients' quality of life and survival rates. However, the number of organs and tissues donated by members of these groups and other underserved populations is low; therefore, the likelihood of a good match between donor and recipient and, ultimately, survival of the transplanted organ is reduced. Although organs are not matched according to race/ethnicity, and people of different races frequently match one another, individuals waiting for an organ transplant will have a better chance of receiving one if there are large numbers of donors from their racial/ethnic background.
In addition, blood type compatibility contributes to the patient’s outcome. This is because compatible blood types are more likely to be found among members of the same ethnicity. A greater diversity of donors may potentially increase access to transplantation for everyone.
Because matching blood type is necessary for all transplants, the need for minority donor organs and blood is especially high. Nearly 70% of the organs transplanted into African Americans come from Caucasian donors. Research shows that organs transplanted from someone from the same ethnic background have a lesser chance of organ rejection.
- Resulting disparities can be attributed to misconceptions and inaccuracies about donation and transplantation. Persistent mistrust of doctors and hospitals and religious misconceptions may explain why more people, especially minorities, do not become blood and organ donors.
- Shortages of donated blood products and organs pose a great public health challenge, particularly for minorities. Low blood donation rates by African-Americans have resulted in shortages of blood supply for illnesses such as sickle cell disease.
- There are more than 24,000 Hispanics on the organ transplant waiting list. While Hispanics make up 16% of the total U.S. population, over 18% of those awaiting an organ are Hispanic.
- Additionally, lack of private health insurance appears to be a major contributor to health disparities in organ donation and success of transplantation. Those without insurance avoid frequent interactions with the healthcare system and are often reluctant to become donors. Recent studies show that at least 43% of African Americans on dialysis did not know about their kidney failure until one week before dialysis.
Unyts’ Multicultural-Faith based program is in an effort to help reduce health disparities among multicultural communities throughout Western New York.
If you are interested in learning more about our program offerings, please contact Esmeralda Sierra, Community Engagement Coordinator at 716-512-7955 or via e-mail at email@example.com.