Through a unique strategy of active learning, the support of organ and tissue recovery organizations, and student creativity, a multi-campus intervention program to impact college-aged individuals in New York State was conducted. The purpose of the project was to increase the number of college students in New York who communicate their intent to donate by enrolling in the New York State Organ and Tissue Donor Registry and notifying their family members of their enrollment decision.
Students in communications/public relations classes design, executed and evaluated a campus public relations campaign about organ and tissue donation (OTD) aimed at the student population. The Alliance coordinated project efforts and provided seed money for the classes through funding from a Health Resources and Services Administration grant (HRSA grant # 1R39OT01205-01-00). The support funded faculty and/or student campaign materials costs. In return, campuses submit a template of the students’ campaign materials and an evaluation of the campaign, including the impact on the intent to donate and family notification.
The University at Albany and the University at Buffalo conducted qualitative and quantitative research related to the goals. Click here to view research reports.
The Health Resources and Services Administration awarded a grant (# 1R39OT01205-01-00) in 2003 to a consortium of the New York Alliance for Donation, State University of New York at Albany and State University of New York at Buffalo to conduct research related to the goals and to replicate the project at other campuses. The project work ended September 1, 2006.
The New York Alliance for Donation, Inc.
State University of New York at Albany
State University of New York at Buffalo
State University of New York at Geneseo
Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT)
City College of New York (CCNY)
State University of New York at Oswego
New York Institute of Technology (NYIT)
In 2002, a pilot project was implemented at the University at Albany (UAlbany) through the Communications Department. In the pilot, a course related to public relations campaigns was expanded to be a Communication Campaign Practicum. The class provided students with the practical experience of acting as a public relations consultant to the Alliance and an organ procurement organization covering the Albany area (The Center for Donation and Transplant).
Sessions on organ and tissue donation by experts in the field such as clinical organ coordinators, transplant surgeons, transplant recipients and donor family members were given to the students; much like a public relations firm would research the clients’ issues, needs and background in order to develop an appropriate campaign. In addition, the class was given information about the New York State Organ and Tissue Donor Registry.
The class then set out to develop a weeklong, on-campus campaign during National Organ and Tissue Donor Awareness Month in April of 2002. Feedback from students and faculty indicated a high degree of support for continuing the class at UAlbany. Students felt that it provided hands-on learning and skills that they would use in public relations, advertising and communications careers. The following year a similar class was held at the University of Buffalo (UBuffalo).
The grant provided the support to add course sites. Through this grant, SUNY Geneseo, the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) and City College of New York , SUNY Oswego and the New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) joined the project.