USM wins 2014 organ donor contest

In partnership with Mississippi Organ Recovery Agency (MORA), the College of Health ambassadors led USM to its second victory in the organ donor registration challenge.

The challenge lasted a month and USM was in competition with The University of Mississippi and Mississippi State University. COH adviser Dianne Coleman said the “competition added a level of fun to the drive. The students understood the seriousness of the matter but it helped to have a little added incentive for people to get involved.”

“(The campaign) crosses across all health lines,” Coleman said. “It covers everyone, all ages, as benefactors. It just matches up perfectly with health related careers.”

The students were able to embrace the challenge regardless of their focus in health sciences. The ambassadors put in many hours both before the drive started as well as throughout the month that it lasted. They had a training event before the challenge event actually began.

The staff from MORA in Jackson trained the ambassadors on how to answer questions about the organ recovery process. This was an educational opportunity for the ambassadors. During the actual drive they spent many hours tabling.

Tiffany Howard, a junior health science major, said she tabled for 30 hours over the duration of the drive, not counting the behind-the-scenes hours that she spent getting ready for the events or in training beforehand.

“All of the ambassadors really took this seriously and committed a lot of hours to help us win,” Howard said.

MORA plans to reward the ambassador’s efforts with a $500 donation.

The ambassadors personally registered 278 new donors and recorded 448 existing donors. More than 1,400 Mississippians are in need of a lifesaving organ transplant. With one organ donor able to save eight lives and enhance the lives of 50 more people there is a real impact when people register. This is in addition to the fact that over 18 Americans die everyday because of a transplant need that was never fulfilled.

“The University of Southern Mississippi may have won the challenge, but we all win when we add a new person to the ‘gift of life’ campaign,” said Rebecca Ehret from the College of Health Ambassadors MORA Campaign Committee.

As the ambassadors look toward next year’s challenge Tiffany said she is excited to see how if they can increase their numbers. For more information visit