In 2014, NYAD was awarded funding by HRSA to conduct a three-year study on the pairing of organ, eye and tissue donation registration with the voter registration process in New York State. The project represents a fully collaborative intervention between the New York Alliance for Donation, the four NYS organ procurement organizations (Center for Donation & Transplant, Finger Lakes Donor Recovery Network, LiveOnNY, and Unyts), two NYS Eye & Tissue Banks (Eye-Bank for Sight Restoration, and Sight Society of Northeastern New York), the University at Buffalo, and the League of Women Voters of New York State (a nonpartisan political organization that encourages informed and active participation in government through voting).
Goals and Objectives:
Project Goal: To significantly increase the number of individuals who consent to deceased donation in New York State.
Project Aim #1a: To increase by 5% the expected average enrollment gain in the state registry.
Project Aim#1b: To increase by 34% the percentage of individuals who enroll in the state registry through voter registration.
Project Aim #2: To gain an understanding of the decision-making process in relation to organ and tissue donor enrollment via the voter registration form.
The opportunity to enroll through the voter registration form in NYS began being phased in during 2009. There are indications this method presents an important advancement in terms of increasing opportunities to enroll and in terms of higher proportions of enrollment (for each form completed) when directly compared to the DMV-sponsored registration process. As evidence, consider that in 2010 approximately 1.6% of all enrollees that year came from voter registrations and this number increased to 4.6% in 2011 and 14.6% in 2012 while total number of new enrollees was held constant. Stated differently, the proportion of new enrollees is increasing through voter registration and decreasing through DMV registrations.
The current intervention represents an extension of a pilot study conducted in New York City in 2013 on the efficacy of promoting organ registry enrollments through drives to increase voter registrations. It is suggested herein that pairing the organ and tissue enrollment process with voluntary voter enrollment will result in a greater proportion of individuals who join the registry. Preliminary data from volunteers and staff members associated with LiveOnNY (formerly the New York Organ Donor Network), the OPO located in New York City, are encouraging and instruct the current extension of those efforts.
The purpose of this project is to expand upon these efforts statewide and to partner with the League of Women Voters of New York State (LWVNY) to conduct voter registration drives. Throughout and prior to these drives, surveys and exit interviews of over 2,000 voter registrants will be fielded to better understand residents' decision-making processes in relation to pairing voter registration with organ and tissue donation enrollment.
Progress to Date:
- February - June 2015: Recruitment and education about organ, eye and tissue donation of 22 local League of Women Voters of NY offices. Participating leagues to date include: LWV of Albany County, LWV of Broome and Tioga Co., LWV of Buffalo/Niagara, LWV of Cazenovia, LWV of East Nassau, LWV of Geneva, LWV of Huntington, LWV of Larchmont/Mamaroneck, LWV of Mid Hudson Region, LWV of New Castle, LWV of New Rochelle, LWV of New York City, LWV of Oneonta, LWV of Rochester Metro, LWV of Saratoga County, LWV of Schenectady County, LWV of Smithtown, LWV of Somers, LWV of Southwest Nassau, LWV of the North Country, LWV of Utica Metro Area, Wayne County MAL Unit.
- May 2015: Education about voter registration provided to all participating donation-based organizations.
- June 2015 - September 2015: Conducted Voter Registration Drives and collected data on drives.
- July 2015: Every Voter Counts, Every Donor Counts campaign collateral finalized. Campaign collateral includes a project specific poster, brochure, facts sheet, table banner, campaign button and pens.