Organ Donation Education Policy Driven by Local Student Passes the House

SALEM – The Oregon House of Representatives passed HB 3234, which creates standards for organ donation education in Oregon high schools. Representative Dan Rayfield (D – Corvallis), the chief sponsor of the legislation, worked with a local student over several legislative sessions to create the policy concept.

“I was approached by Nisha in 2015 about this concept and I was immediately compelled because of the potential this policy has to impact Oregonians for generations.” said Rayfield. “Some of the legislature’s best ideas start with community members.”

To demonstrate the efficacy of the organ donation curriculum, a pilot project was implemented in a local high school health class. Students who participated in the donor education had a more accurate understanding of organ donation as well as more positive attitudes towards becoming a donor.

“When I first started this process back in my high school health class, I found that my classmates were more open to becoming organ donors once they learned about the process,” said Nisha. “I hope that more Oregonians will be able to receive organ transplants now because of this education.”

In Oregon, there are over 800 people waiting for an organ transplant, but in 2019 there were only 128 donations made. Every year there are tens of thousands of newly licensed Oregonians who can decide on whether to become an organ donor. Students will learn about organ donation in their health class during their first two years of high school, which coincides with the time period when they are receiving their learner’s permit and driver’s license.

Rayfield’s office also worked with advocates from both the teachers and school board association to ensure that this policy gives school districts and teachers the flexibility they need to implement this curriculum effectively.

HB 3234 passed the House floor with 46 aye votes and now moves to the Senate for consideration.