Sarah Goodwin

Kathi Ovnic
Holly Korschun
April 17, 1999


WHAT: Georgia Leadership Commission on Organ, Tissue, Blood and Marrow Donation Among African Americans concludes its series of PUBLIC HEARINGS across the state with an event in Atlanta. The commission is using the hearings to address the shortage of organ, tissue, blood and marrow donations among African Americans in Georgia and to seek remedies to the situation. For the past two years, organ donation among African Americans in Georgia has not kept up with demand. According to Lifelink of Georgia, more than half of the nearly 850 Georgians awaiting lifesaving organ transplants are African American. Commissioners have traveled to Macon, Augusta and Savannah by bus and have met with local citizens, elected officials, clergy, health professionals, donor families, transplant recipients and people on waiting lists for lifesaving transplants.To attend the dinner or speak at the hearings, the public may call 1-888-540-1038.

WHEN: April 29, 30

WHERE: Emory Conference Center Hotel, 1615 Clifton Rd., Atlanta.

Thursday, April 29, 5:30 p.m.

A cocktail reception and distinguished lecture are planned the evening before the public hearings begin. Keynote speaker: William Cleveland, M.D., the state's first African-American nephrologist (kidney specialist). Dr. Cleveland will discuss "The Significance of Kidney Failure and Organ Donation in the African American." A graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, he completed his medical residency at Emory University in 1977.

Friday, April 30, 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.

The Fourth in a Series of Statewide Public Hearings in Georgia

9:30 a.m. Introduction of Commissioners and Overview of Procedures for Public Hearings

9:45 a.m. Morning testimony begins. Each witness is allotted 15 minutes for opening remarks to be followed by questions from the Commissioners. Every effort will be made to accommodate as many witnesses as time allows.

12:30 p.m. Lunch Recess for Commissioners, Advisory Council, Staff and Guests

2:15 p.m. Afternoon testimony begins.

5:15 p.m. Adjourn

Testimony delivered throughout the day from donor families, transplant recipients, clergy, health professionals and the general public.

According to Commission Organizer Stephen Thomas, Ph.D., director of the Institute for Minority Health Research at the Rollins School of Public Health of Emory University, "Far too many African Americans refuse to sign donor cards because of concern about how organs are allocated, religious beliefs and lack of trust in the medical research establishment. During the hearings in Macon, Augusta and Savannah we heard testimony from African-American transplant recipients who trusted their doctors and demonstrated how access to transplantation gave them a chance to live a quality life. More people in the black community need to hear these testimonies of hope."

"It is very important that we listen to the voices of people who owe their lives to medical advances in organ and tissue transplantation," Dr. Thomas says.

The Carlos and Marguerite Mason Trust awarded a grant to the Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center of Emory University to create the Commission (see attached feature).

Related websites:

Organ Donor Facts

For more general information on The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center, call Health Sciences Communication's Office at 404-727-5686, or send e-mail to

Copyright ©Emory University, 1999. All Rights Reserved.