|Abstract or Summary
- More than 30,000 children and adults are diagnosed with life-threatening blood
diseases such as leukemia, anemia and lymphomas in the U.S. every year. A transplant of
stem cells, obtained from the bone marrow of a healthy donor, can be a cure for these
diseases. The National Marrow Donor Program's registry comprises almost five million
potential donors, however, many ethnic minorities are still underrepresented in
comparison to their percentage in the overall U.S. population. Since patients are more
likely to find a matching donor within their own ethnic community, recruitment efforts
have been focusing on minority donors since a number of years.
A number of other studies are currently examining the psychosocial and physical
effects of the donation experience, as well as identifying barriers against and reasons for
donating bone marrow, using questionnaires and health models. However, none has yet
looked at which recruitment settings work well for college campuses, to what extent the
target group should be educated, and how the study results should be incorporated into
the recruitment efforts to improve retention.
Potential donor education was therefore the most important focus of a Bone
Marrow Donor Registration Drive organized by the author on the OSU campus in
January. 150 potential donors registered at the OSU drive, one third of them from ethnic
minorities. This study examines if the drive's extensive education and outreach
component had any impact on the number of newly recruited volunteer donors in
comparison to OSU's peer institutions. Using the Chi square test, a proportion
comparison was performed between the percentage of newly registered volunteer donors
(both in total and broken down by ethnicity) among the eligible OSU student body, and
the total eligible student body at each peer institution.
While the hypothesis that the extensive education and promotion activities
increased the number of recruited donors could not be confirmed, targeting the minorities
on campus was successful, since a significantly higher proportion of minority students
registered at the BMDRD than the proportion of minority students registered at OSU.
Besides data on the impact of the promotional activities and the recruitment
results, which can also be used for further research, the drive also yielded a protocol that
can serve as a guideline for organizing future drives at OSU and other schools with