BACKGROUND - Low blood donor rates among African American persons are recognized; however, few strategies exist to increase these numbers.
STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS - A 1-year, prospective, ecologic study performed before and after an educational intervention designed to test the hypothesis that increased education about the importance of blood donation for children with sickle cell disease (SCD) would result in an increase in total blood donors among African American persons.
RESULTS - Approximately 5000 videos were mailed to 50 percent of the households in a zip code where 98 percent of the residents are African American. In the first 6-month interval after mailing the video packet, there was a 75 percent (217 vs. 124; p = 0.05) increase in the total number of presenting donors and a 64 percent (126 vs. 77; p = 0.02) increase in the total number of first-time donors from the same 6-month period in the previous year. During the second 6-month interval, the total number of first-time donors declined. No significant increase in donor activity was noted during the two 6-month periods after the intervention in the surrounding zip codes.
CONCLUSION - A mass mailing directed toward educating African American persons about the importance of blood donation for children with SCD may increase the number of total African American donors.