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April 28, 2016
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JP O'Hare

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State Education Department to Develop Resources to Educate on Need for, Encourage Organ and Tissue Donation

April is National “Donate Life” Month

The New York State Education Department announced today in conjunction with Senate Majority Leader John J. Flanagan and Assembly Assistant Speaker Felix W. Ortiz that it will work with organizations that promote organ and tissue donation to develop model curriculum, exemplar lesson plans and best practice instructional resources on the importance and value of organ and tissue donation.  These materials will be made available free for every school district in the state starting in September at the start of the school year.

“Thousands of New Yorkers are waiting for organ and tissue donations right now,” Board of Regents Chancellor Betty Rosa said.  “These tools will help school districts teach students that people of all ages and medical history can donate organs and tissue and help save lives.  It’s a valuable lesson in good citizenship; helping others in need.  NYSED will issue guidance to every district statewide to inform them that these materials are available for use in the classroom.”

“The State Education Department is committed to making sure this lifesaving information gets to as many students as possible,” State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia said.  “These materials can be used in a number of ways, such as part of drivers education courses.  As young people get their drivers’ licenses, they will also get information on the need for organ and tissue donation.  That little heart printed on their drivers’ license will be a sign of their compassion and caring.  I want to thank Senator Flanagan and Assistant Speaker Ortiz for their leadership and for working with the Department on a sensible approach to this important issue.”

“Education is key to increasing the number of New Yorkers enrolled to be organ donors and increasing the number of lives that are saved with organ transplants across the state each year,” Regent James Cottrell said.  “By giving districts tools like model curriculum and lesson plans, we are ensuring that students have the information they need to make what could be a lifesaving decision.”

“This is a great day for the thousands of New Yorkers in need of life-saving transplants,” Senate Majority Leader John J. Flanagan said.  “I applaud the State Education Department and Commissioner Elia for collaborating with organizations that promote donation on our recently passed legislation so that young people can become better educated about the many benefits of organ, tissue, bone marrow, and blood donation. High school students will be able to make informed decisions about whether to become donors and, by getting the word out on the importance of registering when they become eligible, we can increase participation in donor programs that give more people a chance at living longer, healthier lives.”

“The State Education Department's new effort to create instructional materials on the importance and value of organ, tissue and blood donations for high school students will improve donation consent rates among the next generation of New Yorkers,” Assistant Speaker Felix W. Ortiz said.  “As the sponsor of Lauren’s Law that created the Donate Life Registry through DMV applications, I am pleased to announce this next step to help educate young New Yorkers about the importance of organ donations. I look forward to seeing our state’s consent rates rise as a result of it.”

“The New York State School Boards Association applauds the state’s efforts to educate students on organ donation without imposing another curriculum mandate,” said New York State School Boards Association Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer.  “We thank Chancellor Rosa, Commissioner Elia, Majority Leader Flanagan and Assistant Speaker Ortiz for their leadership in providing this information.”

In addition to producing guidance materials, NYSED will remind districts about the materials each year in April as part of Organ Donation Awareness Month.