Washington Regional Transplant Community (WRTC), the non-profit organ procurement organization (OPO) in the metro D.C. area was honored to receive the first ever Tony Sagayadoro Award from the National Minority Organ Tissue Transplant Education Program (MOTTEP). The award was presented to Lori Brigham, WRTC President and Chief Executive Officer from Dr. Clive O. Callender, National MOTTEP Founder and President at a virtual gala celebrating the 30th anniversary of MOTTEP.
Tony Sagayadoro, a passionate community health advocate, served as MOTTEP’s first Asian American Coordinator. Tony was determined to educate the Filipino community about organ, eye and tissue donation, transplantation, and disease prevention. His work was historic, groundbreaking and awe inspiring.
“Since MOTTEP’s inception, WRTC’s support and commitment to our cause has been enduring and nonpareil,” said Clive O. Callender, M.D. “Like Tony, WRTC is tireless in its concerted efforts to ensure the donation message reaches ethnically diverse and underserved communities.”
Founded in 1991 by renowned transplant surgeon, Dr. Callender, National MOTTEP’s mission is to reduce the rate and number of ethnic minority Americans needing organ and tissue transplants through disease prevention and education.
“It has been our honor to partner with MOTTEP as together we look for innovative ways to heal our communities through health education and organ and tissue donation and transplantation,” said Lori Brigham. “WRTC is committed to saving lives through donation and ensuring the message about the critical need for organ donors reaches all communities.”
For more than a decade, WRTC has dedicated significant resources to reach the African American and Black communities through large scale public awareness campaigns and grassroots initiatives. However, recent data and donation trends indicate WRTC needs to be even more strategic and laser-focused in these efforts. This summer, the African American Outreach Task Force (AAOTF) was formed and is comprised of more than a dozen African American community leaders, donation advocates, physicians, living donors, transplant recipients and donor family members.
“It is critical that the pool of registered organ, eye and tissue donors reflects the diversity of the population so that all patients who need an organ transplant can receive their lifesaving gift,” said Flavia Walton, Living Kidney Donor and African American Outreach Task Force Chairwoman. “It is our hope that we can develop new ways to reach the African American and Black communities and change perceptions about donation.”
WRTC works in partnership with six transplant centers and 45 hospitals to decrease the number of patients waiting for a lifesaving organ. It also educates the public about donation with the goal of increasing the number of registered donors and ultimately saving more lives. To learn more, and register to be a donor, visit BeADonor.org.