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OneLegacy’s February 14 “Virtual Town Hall” to Focus on Health Equity in Organ Donation


LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–As part of its ongoing commitment to bring heightened awareness to the disproportionate need for organ donation and transplantation in communities of color, OneLegacy will be hosting a virtual town hall on February 14. On it, a distinguished panel of community leaders will discuss how Americans can work together to address this health inequity through awareness, education and donor registration.

The webinar is the latest episode in the ongoing “Connecting the Dots” virtual series, produced and sponsored by the OneLegacy Foundation. The event will take place at 1pm Pacific time and those wanting to join the conversation may register at

Held on National Donor Day and in conjunction with Black History Month, the webinar will touch on myths, misconceptions and mistrusts that have led to lower authorization rates for donation among communities of color and what can be done to positively address these issues. Currently, nearly 60% of the 107,000 Americans waiting for a transplant are from racial and ethnic minorities, including 29% African American and 21% Hispanic.

Speakers on the February 14 webinar will include Rhonda M. Smith, executive director of the California Black Health Network; Pastor William D. Smart Jr., president and CEO of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Southern California; Dr. Cedric “Jamie” Rutland, pulmonary/critical care physician at West Coast Lung Rutland Medical Group; and E’Tiffany Jones, manager of communications and community outreach at OneLegacy.

“The need for donation and transplantation is more pronounced in minority communities where disproportionately higher rates of diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease contribute to organ failure,” said Jones. “African Americans are almost four times more likely than white Americans to have kidney failure, and Hispanics are 1.3 times more likely than non-Hispanics to have kidney failure. It is important to educate our communities about the importance of screenings, resources, and making their health a priority. It is equally important to raise awareness about registering as an organ, eye and tissue donor and knowing about living donor options that exist.”

The “Connecting the Dots” series, launched by OneLegacy in 2020, is part of a broader effort by the nonprofit organization to help bridge the gap between the demand for organ transplants and the supply of donated organs among communities of color. As part of this effort, OneLegacy leverages social media to share facts and figures about health disparities among diverse communities, sponsors public service announcements highlighting health resources available for African Americans, Hispanics and Asians in Southern California, and hosts personal storytelling from local donor families and transplant recipients focused on the power of donation. OneLegacy’s outreach efforts also include working directly with a number of multicultural advocacy organizations to help tell this story and help register people of color to be organ and tissue donors.

“The issue of health disparities among communities of color is personal to us given that Los Angeles is home to the most diverse region in the nation boasting 185 distinct languages and cultures,” says Jones. “The opportunity to donate and to receive a lifesaving transplant knows no national, racial, ethnic or religious boundaries, nor sexual orientation. One organ donor can save up to eight lives, one cornea donor can restore sight of two people and one tissue donor can help as many as 75 others heal. You can save the life of a neighbor, parent or friend, or someone you don’t even know, by registering to be a donor at your local DMV or by visiting”

About OneLegacy

OneLegacy is the nonprofit organization dedicated to saving lives through organ, eye and tissue donation in seven counties in Southern California: Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, Santa Barbara and Kern. It serves more than 200 hospitals, 10 transplant centers, a diverse population of 20 million donors and families across the region and waiting recipients across the country. Becoming an eye, organ or tissue donor is easy and can be done by registering online at or by “checking YES” at your local DMV. For more information, visit


Ross Goldberg

818-597-8453, x-1


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