TRANSPLANTATION: Organ Recipient Encourages Latinos to Donate
Liver transplant patient Alicia Rodriguez is on a mission: to increase Latino organ donations. Armed with $100, Rodriguez founded the not-for-profit Angels in Heaven and Earth, and since has worked to promote organ donation among Latinos and services for Latino transplant patients. The Los Angeles Times reports that minorities comprise 40% of patients waiting for an organ, but constitute less than 25% of those donating. In seven southern California counties, Latinos received 533 organs, but gave only 54 in the 18-month period ending last June. According to Gloria Bohrer, public relations director for the Southern California Organ Procurement Agency, the "obstacle is a lack of information and understanding, and that is tied to the language, and how few members of the Hispanic community are English-speaking." In response to the problem, Rodriguez has convinced the UCLA Medical Center to launch its first support group for Spanish-speaking liver transplant patients. She explained that many hospitals "offer support groups for English-speaking organ recipients, but generally not for Spanish-speakers." Rodriguez hopes that Angels in Heaven and Earth eventually will conduct educational programs to "teach Latinos about organ donation and to help [them] through the transplant process" (MacGregor, 3/26).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.