University to lead ground-breaking student engagement project on organ donation within ethnic minority communities

Fri 23 June, 2023
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A PhD student from the University of Bedfordshire has been granted funding by the NHS to undertake a student engagement project aiming to increase the number of organ donors from ethnic minority communities.

Britzer Paul, who is studying for his PhD with the Institute for Health Research (IHR), has been working in organ donation and transplantation since 2014 and hopes that this new project - created, led and delivered by students -will encourage and normalise conversation around organ donation among the multi-diverse Bedfordshire student population, with the aim that this novel approach will go on to inform conversations around organ donation more widely across the country.

The £10,000 funding for this student-led project is from the Community Grants Programme, managed by NHS Blood and Transplant, and comes as part of the Government’s commitment to continue to tackle health inequalities and promote organ, blood, and stem cell donation among Black and Asian communities.

Speaking about the project and its aims, Britzer said: “A part of my PhD research demonstrates that the younger generation is more open to talking about deceased organ donation if they have all the information they need and know how to begin such conversations that do not happen on a day-to-day basis. Therefore, in this project, we aim to achieve and normalise conversation on deceased organ donation among the multi-diverse student population in our University.

“The multi-ethnic university students will be the ambassadors in building and normalising talks on organ donation. We believe this will bring about a change in their community and peers toward a conversation on deceased organ donation.”

Professor Gurch Randhawa, Director of the IHR at the University of Bedfordshire, added: “It is fantastic to see how our world-leading organ donation and public engagement research is evolving with dynamic PhD students. Britzer, as well undertaking his PhD examining organ donation in India, has led on securing funding from NHS Blood and Transplant to develop a student led project to engage minority ethnic students with conversations about organ donation.”

The Community Grants Programme, previously known as the Community Investment Scheme, helps to fund community, faith, or belief organisations to deliver projects that encourage more Black and Asian people to become donors. Over the years, the scheme has shown that enabling grassroots organisations to champion organ, blood and stem cell donation in a culturally relevant way increases awareness and engagement.

Now that Britzer has completed his PhD studies with the University, a group of Masters students from the IHR are planning to continue his work and legacy by working on the project in the lead-up to Organ Donation Week 2023 (18th – 24th September).


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