As an African-American that has had one brother die waiting for a kidney and another brother died from complications after his transplant. My family and I have had a rude awakening about organ donation and how African-Americans are affected. We were not prepared for what we had to face and learned first hand about the process. It's not just about getting an organ but learning how to take care of your-self to stay healthy.
Due to high rates of diabetes and high blood pressure, African-Americans and other minorities require organ transplants at higher rates than that of other ethnic groups. For African-Americans and other minorities, kidneys are the most needed organs in the United States. African-Americans and other minorities need to participate in organ donor programs. In order to do this, minorities must first become educated about the organ donor process. MODEP offers speakers that can provide this needed services.
The Minority Organ Donation Education Program, Inc. (MODEP) was developed in response to the lack of information available to the minority populations and others concerning organ donation. There are agencies that have failed and continue to fail in educating the minority communities concerning this important issue. The overall goal of MODEP is to serve all communities concerning organ donation and other health issues that affect their quality of life. Understanding cultural barriers and practices is very important when conveying this and other information. To become an organ donor is a very important decision that requires all the facts that everyone needs to know in order to make informed decision. MODEP is working in collaboration with area churches, educational institutions and community organizations to address this and health issues that affect our communities. MODEP welcomes the opportunity to work with other health agencies that are committed to educating the minority and other communities.
William J. Minniefield is Founder and Executive Director/CEO of the Minority Organ Donation Education Program, Inc.
Kidney disease affects more than 20 million Americans. African Americans are disproportionately affected by the disease. They are four times more likely than Caucasians to develop kidney failure, a result of undetected or untreated kidney disease, and account for 30 percent of people with kidney failure. African American men ages 22 to 44 are 20 times more likely to develop kidney failure from hypertension compared to their Caucasian counterparts. Diabetes is the number one cause of kidney failure. That's why the You Have The Power To Prevent Kidney Disease campaign, an outreach effort of the National Kidney Disease Education Program (NKDEP), is focusing on increasing awareness of the seriousness of kidney disease among African Americans. Many people do not know that diabetes and high blood pressure are the two leading causes of kidney disease, responsible for more than 70 percent of new cases. According to a recent NKDEP survey of African Americans, only 17 percent knew that diabetes could lead to kidney disease, and only eight percent knew that hypertension could. Many African Americans know they have diabetes or hypertension, but are unaware of their risk for kidney disease. Those with a family history of kidney failure also are at risk.
The mission of the Minority Organ Donation Education Program (MODEP), is to bring about
awareness of the need for minority and others participation in the organ donation process.