Our Transplant Program has been a “partner in education” with secondary schools throughout Southwestern Ontario for many years. In the past, we offered a comprehensive co-op program for students. We continue to provide some educational sessions in the classroom and at school assemblies. Along with transplant professionals, transplant recipients and donor families also participate in these outreach initiatives.
Two decades ago our transplant staff worked with education specialists to develop a unit of study about donation and transplantation for Grade 11 health students. This educational program – One Life…Many Gifts – was developed because our co-op students and student surveys identified the need for a formal educational experience that answered the many questions of these young adults.
One Life...Many Gifts
With funding from the Kidney Foundation of Canada, the Multi-Organ Transplant Program had the vision to develop a unit of study, One Life...Many Gifts, working with both the Thames Valley District School Board and the London Catholic District School Board.
This education program about donation and transplantation was first developed in 1999-2000, in response to our co-op students and student surveys. They identified the need for a formal educational experience that answered the many questions of these young adults. The resources included a teacher's guide, video, CD, poster and family discussion brochure. Using real-life case studies, students explored many aspects of donation and transplantation and came to a thorough understanding of the issue. The students invariably discussed donation with their families, thereby reaching a second target audience.
In 2002, the Health Care Public Relations Association of Canada presented the Hygeia Award to the Transplant Program in recognition of outstanding communications in health care. The curriculum resource also received the Ted Freedman Award, which recognizes those who inspire, advocate, and enable education in health care.
Working with the Kidney Foundation of Canada and the Trillium Gift of Life Network, a revised version of One Life...Many Gifts was piloted in 2008/09. Funding for this expansion across the province was provided by the provincial Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. This project would not have been possible without their support as well as the generosity of an anonymous Ontario resident whose contribution ensures that secondary school students in Ontario understand the life-saving promise of donation and transplantation. In June 2008, the One Life...Many Gifts video received three international Telly awards, which honour the best in videos, web commercials, and film productions.
Over a three-year period, One Life...Many Gifts was distributed to all school boards in Ontario -- both Catholic and Public, English and French, ensuring it is now available across the province. Find out more about this educational program by visiting the website of One Life...Many Gifts.