Firstly, congratulations on this difficult time for your family reaching a happy ending – that must have been an incredible relief. Since then, what do you think has changed for your father in his outlook on life. What about yours?
Since the transplant my father and my whole family have felt extremely relieved and grateful. I have continued to work with non-profit organizations to increase awareness about organ donation, including photo documentaries with The Waiting List. My dad has been able to do things he has not been able to do in years, even things that we take for granted everyday like walking the dog or going out to dinner without worrying about his LVAD triggering. I personally have a deeper gratefulness for life in general and I am devoted to increasing awareness of the need for organ donor registration.
Do you think social media will continue to play an increasing role in matching organ donors with those in need?
Yes. Facebook recently launched a program in which people could post on his/her wall after becoming an Organ Donor which proved to be very successful. When people see that others are doing something beneficial, they want to find out more (and potentially do the same good thing that others are doing) and social media provides an excellent platform for people to easily access this information.
What are your future plans to advance the goals stated in your policy paper about increasing organ donor registration in New York State?
I plan to continue research on organ donation policy in New York State during my Capstone next year. Ultimately, I hope my policy proposals can prove to be useful to our state legislature.
Where else do you believe we can increase organ donor registration awareness aside from DMVs?
The DMV was my recommendation for a starting point of making policy change. I believe donor registration awareness programs should be provided in high schools, colleges, and higher learning education institutions. New York’s organ procurement organizations also offer outreach programs to visit schools and workplaces – I think more of these programs provide for a more intimate learning experience where people can really dispel the myths surrounding organ donation and learn about the benefits of becoming an organ donor.
How has Baruch College's School of Public Affairs prepared you to address these issues?
Baruch has given me the opportunity to research an issue that hits close to home. I would not have been able to dedicate this much time if I had not been given the opportunity to concentrate on this issue the entire semester. Professor Geva-May and many of my professors in the MPA program and the School of Public Affairs have provided me with life-long skills in research, administration, and policy-making.