Background: Increasing the diversity of the organ donor pool might improve
the opportunities for people of color on organ transplant waiting lists to
receive donated organs. We report on the results of a pilot classroom healt
h education program to improve knowledge about organ donation and transplan
tation among a diverse student body at an urban high school.
Methods: The effectiveness of the educational program was evaluated with ba
seline and follow-up questionnaires which examined: 1) whether the program
increased knowledge about organ donation; 2) whether the students' opinions
about organ donation changed; and 3) whether the program was related to an
y changes in opinion.
Results: On the follow-up questionnaire, correct answers on 15 factual ques
tions increased by 18% for the treatment group, compared to 5% for the cont
rol group (p = 0.00). Regarding opinions, at baseline 92% of white students
had positive opinions about donation, compared to 48% of the students of c
olor (p = 0.00). In the follow-up survey, the increase in positive opinions
among the students of color was significantly greater than among white stu
dents (p = 0.04). In this pilot study, however, changes in opinions occurre
d with equal frequency among students in the treatment and control groups.
In regression analysis, both knowledge of the subject and discussing donati
on with one's family were significantly associated with positive opinions a
Conclusions: Overall, this pilot study provided encouraging evidence that t
he classroom health education program affected knowledge about organ donati
on, and that opinions about organ donation are responsive to increases in k