I did something locally that impacted at least one person.
In my PR campaigns course last semester, I worked with the Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency on a campaign called Xula Myth Busters. The primary goal of the organization is to educate the African American community in New Orleans about organ and tissue donation.
Under the umbrella of KTA Media, a student-founded and student-led strategic communications company, we provided strategic communications along with community outreach and brand management to support the agency. We partnered with our clients to produce the most efficient and effective outcome for their desired plans.
The theme, Xula Myth Busters, was deprived from the 1980s movie Ghost Busters and was developed around the myths that are thriving in the African American community. KTA Media strived to increase the number of African-American occupants on the national registry for organ donation, while also negating certain myths that surround the topic of organ and tissue donation. We brought awareness to the issue of African-Americans occupying the most spaces on the list of people who need a donor but are statistically the least to volunteer to become donors. New donors were able to register at KTA’s Donors on the Yard event partnered with other student organizations. Over eighty percent of Xavier University of Louisiana’s population is African American.
Due to Xavier’s student body mass presence on social media, KTA Media set up accounts on Twitter and Instagram to engage and reach more of our target audience. Each week, KTA Media would reveal a fact or bust a myth about organ and tissue donation, which included our campaign hashtag, #9LivesSaveLives, because one donor can save nine lives. In addition to the statistics and facts that were released, KTA interviewed random Xavier students about their thoughts on organ donation. Many did see the importance of organ donation, but their distrust for doctors and medical professionals made them feel uneasy about donating. This campaign also included interviews from Kirsten Heinz, Director of Communications at LOPA, donor families, and donor recipients. The interviews with donor families and recipients were used to show the direct impact that organ donation has on multiple people.
KTA Media surveyed the myths surrounding organ donation to determine what essential subjects would resonate with the audience at the Donors on the Yard event. The survey was open to people over the age of 18 and included people of all races and genders. We had 83 survey participants, many of whom attended the event. 79% of participants were female, and 21% male. The most common age of participants was 20. 95% were Black, and 73 participants were of various Christian denominations. Most importantly, just 50% of survey participants were not organ donors. Out of half who were not organ donors, 61% said they were not donors because they felt their needs would be neglected if medical workers found out they were donors.
Through this partnership, I realized that sharing critical public health information is key to changing perceptions in the Black community. More efforts need to be put into action for the education of the Black community about the process of organ donation and why the specific community needs to give back. This includes eliminating not only the anxiety over donating an organ but also the myths that have caused the fear of organ donation. After this campaign, we gained 33 new donors to the national registry.