Ohio DMV video increases organ donation

african kings

An iPod video addressing concerns about organ donation increased the number of African-Americans who registered as donors, according to a new study.

The video was shown at local branches of the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles to patrons applying for new driver’s licenses, learner’s permits or state identification cards. It contained an unscripted cast of 20 people of various ages and ethnic groups, all with a connection to organ donation or organ transplants.

Researchers designed the video to touch on issues that keep ethnic minority groups from donating, including general lack of knowledge, wanting to be buried with all of their organs, and other personal conflicts.

theGrio: A daughter gives the gift of a lifetime

“The video addresses concerns that African-Americans and others have held for generations,” says Dr. J. Daryl Thornton, lead author on the study and associate professor of pulmonary and critical care medicine at Case Western Reserve University. “The good news is that the video-iPod intervention was able to reduce beliefs in several of those barriers suggesting that they are not set in stone.”

The video effectively increased the number of donors among both black and white participants more than those receiving the standard written information about donation.

Thornton’s team focused on these efforts due to the large amount of people who need an organ transplants, and how few donors there are. The numbers are even more discouraging in the African-American community.

In 2011, only 15 percent of African-Americans waiting for a transplant ultimately received a donated organ, whereas almost a third of white Americans waiting received a transplanted organ. Similarly, in Pennsylvania, African-Americans make up 11 percent of the population, but they make up 32 percent of those waiting for organ or tissue transplants.

Thornton says the study is a jumping off point, and due to its simplicity, could be incorporated into motor vehicle branches throughout the country with little effort and expense — thus increasing the number of donors in states other than Ohio.

Follow Dr. Ty on Twitter at @doctorty