Reduced effectiveness of standard recruitment for deceased organ donor registration: The need for population-specific recruitment materials

Patricia Zheng, Rachel Kornfield, Cathy Olmo, Jennifer Guy, John Inadomi, Scott W. Biggins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: The low rate of deceased donor organ donation limits the availability of life-saving transplants. Transplant candidate caregivers are an under-utilized but potentially devoted pool of advocates who themselves may be recruited to register for deceased organ donation. Aims: To compare the effectiveness of recruitment materials in Transplant Candidate Caregivers (TCC) and San Francisco Bay Area Health Fair Attendees (HFA). Methods: Each subject was given a California Transplant Donor Network educational pamphlet and cohort-coded registration materials. The primary outcome was the number of new registrations per recruitment packet distributed. Results: A total of 232 recruitment packets were distributed; 116 to each of the two cohorts. The TCC group was more likely to be older (49 vs. 45, p = 0.05), female (71 vs. 63%, p = 0.2), Hispanic (21 vs. 5%, 0.001), married (75 vs. 33%, p < 0.0001), and less educated (p = 0.007). Despite demographic differences, the two groups had similar prior donor registration rates (40% TCC vs. 50% HFA, p = 0.11). However, with a minimum 2-week follow-up, the number of new registrations was only nine in the TCC cohort as compared to 38 in the HFA cohort (0.33 vs. 0.80 new registrations/packet, p < 0.0001). Conclusions: The effectiveness of standard deceased donor registration recruitment materials is reduced in Transplant Candidate Caregivers as compared to Health Fair Attendees. This reduced efficacy may be due to dissimilar demographics, psychosocial status at time of recruitment, and beliefs about organ donation. Development of audience specific recruitment materials may improve efforts to register Transplant Candidate Caregivers for deceased organ donation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1535-1541
Number of pages7
JournalDigestive diseases and sciences
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Organ donor
  • Organ transplantation
  • Recruitment
  • Registration
  • Tissue and organ procurement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Gastroenterology

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