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Assuaging African-American Fears Through Clergy-Based Education

I propose instituting a church or other faith-based partnership with local hospitals and donation centers that would task the clergymen to raise awareness, educate, and sign up African-American members (and other ethnicities) to donate.

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Written by DeletedUser

Unbeknown to many, the Tuskegee syphilis experiment instituted a culture of fear into many African-Americans and other minority groups for the devastation onducted in the name of medical science. The "experiment" was an infamous clinical study conducted from 1932-1972 in Tuskegee, Alabama by the U.S. Public Health Service to study the progression of untreated syphilis in poor, rural black men who thought they were receiving free health care from the U.S. government. This culture of fear has resulted in many minorities to be wary of research settings and hospitals, and therefore, bone marrow donations among African-Americans are of dire levels. In 2008, out of the millions of donors registered with the National Marrow Donor Program, only 8% were black. Furthermore, because bone marrow compatibility is connected to race, it causes the ripple effect that today, many African-Americans have a much smaller pool of potential donors to choose from.


There is much work to be done in order to engender trust and increase bone marrow donations in this population. I propose instituting a church or other faith-based partnership with local hospitals and donation centers that would task the clergymen to raise awareness, educate, and sign up African-American members (and other ethnicities) to donate. Increasing education through seminars, fairs, dinners, and other events, will teach African-Americans who are fearful of donating, that times have changed, and donating bone marrow is a safe and inspiring thing to do. Photos and videos of those searching for matches will be prominently displayed and/or distributed to those religious organizations, so potential donors can put faces to those waiting for donors. Furthermore, as an incentive, the groups that get the most amount of people to donate bone marrow will receive a wish to be granted for their community, just as the people who are receiving the donations are getting their wishes granted.


Which barrier(s) does your concept address?

  • Fear
  • Cultural beliefs

Which step(s) of the journey does your concept apply to?

  • Awareness
  • Registration

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DeletedUser

You hit the nail right on the head with this one. My father grew up in the Deep South and was so wary of medical professionals and institutions that it was 30 years before he finally saw a doctor, and it was not by choice. The church has been one the few sites of trust for the black community and I think it is great that you are thinking about how to leverage such a cornerstone. An additional potential obstacle is the possible belief within the black community that they are not prone to blood cancers or other illnesses requiring bone marrow. Too often the faces of these diseases are overwhelmingly white. If one does not see members of their community represented, one might assume that the issue, location, concern, etc. does not apply to their community. I suggest that congregations should be introduced to black patients and donors who can share their experiences and make it known that these diseases know no cultural bounds.