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This month, the “Take Charge of Your Health Today” page focuses on organ donation and the importance of becoming an organ donor. Vianca Masucci, health advocate at the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh, and Esther L. Bush, president and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh, exchanged ideas on this topic.

VM: Good afternoon, Ms. Bush. Are you as excited as I am to advocate for organ donation?

EB: I am, Vianca. Folks may be surprised to know that there are great racial and ethnic disparities in organ transplantation. Simply put, people of color, which includes African Americans, Asians, Native Americans and Latinos, are more likely to need an organ transplant than their White counterparts. But only a small percentage of organ donors are people of color. This has caused a national shortage of organs for people of color. I’m glad we’re talking about this.

VM: This is, indeed, a problem. I don’t think people realize the consequence of checking “no” next to the organ donor question at the Department of Motor Vehicles. The conversations that folks have in the community about organ donation are shadowed by myths, superstition and even urban legend. We’ve all heard the story about the guy waking up in a tub full of ice with his kidney missing.

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