(HealthDay News) — A brief, web-based training program for department of motor vehicles (DMV) employees that educates them about organ and tissue donation can increase the likelihood of customers registering as organ donors, according to research published in the American Journal of Transplantation.

Howard Degenholtz, Ph.D., from the University of Pittsburgh, and colleagues assessed a brief, web-based training program for DMV staff that included education about organ and tissue donation and modeled the correct way to interact with customers. Extensive input and active participation from DMV staff were utilized in developing the intervention. Following a small-scale pilot test, all DMV offices in West Virginia were randomly allocated to either receive the training or not.

The researchers found that the likelihood of registering as organ donors was 7.5% higher for customers of trained DMV staff. In conservative estimates, this could result in about 800 additional donor designations per month. Once the training has been deployed it can be used continually without incurring additional cost. The state of West Virginia has implemented the training for all new employees.

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“We demonstrated that a brief, web-based training system for DMV staff can have a lasting impact on donor designation rates,” the authors write. “We used a statewide randomized design to establish the causal connection between training and designation rates.”


  1. Degenholtz, HB, et al. American Journal of Transplantation; doi: 10.1111/ajt.13117.