More than 106,000 people are on the national transplant waiting list. About 20% are Latino.
When it comes to donating organs, Latinos made up 14.6% of all organ donors in 2020.
“There is the perception that Hispanics as well as minorities don’t donate organs, that they have lower donation rate. That is the perception. But the reality is as soon as they understand the issue and as soon as you provide education to this community, they are willing to donate organs and save the life of a loved one or somebody else, but I think the low donation rate in the nation is due to a lack of adequate approach to this community.” says Dr. Juan Caicedo, head of Northwestern Medicine’s Hispanic Transplant Program.
Northwestern’s Hispanic Transplant Program is the first of its kind.
Caicedo says the program has seen a 74% increase of living kidney transplant donors. The program has bilingual health care providers to serve Spanish speaking patients in need of a transplant. They also make efforts to involve a patient’s entire family in decision making, recognizing the importance of family for the Latino community.
“The culture is different, they are very family oriented, which is a huge advantage in this community, but most of the centers across the nation don’t involve the family when they are discussing living donation or any type of donation,” Caicedo said.