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Organ Donation Becomes Part of California's Curriculum

SACRAMENTO (KCBS) - Students in the state's public schools are about to get a lesson or two in organ and tissue donation.

Gov. Jerry Brown this week signed legislation requiring the inclusion of such education in California's overall health and science curriculum. AB 1967 was authored by Assemblyman John A. Perez (D-Los Angeles).

"This bill," according to California Legislative Information, "would require the (Instructional Quality Commission) and the (State Board of Education) to ensure that the health and science curriculum frameworks adopted in the course of the next submission cycle, as specified, include the subject of organ procurement and tissue donation, as appropriate."

KCBS' Melissa Culross Reports:

Advocates are applauding the move, which they believe will ultimately help whittle down the number of patients waiting for an organ. Nationwide, more than 115,000 people are on transplant waiting lists.

"In California, the number is 20,867 people," added Charlene Zettel, inaugural chief executive officer, Donate Life California, which oversees California's organ and tissue donor registry. "Statistically, one-third of them will die before an organ is matched."

"We have the largest donor registry in the nation, with over 9.4 million people on the registry today," she explained. "Unfortunately, that is only one out of three eligible adults."

Zettel says it stands to reason that more classroom discussions about the process will lead to improved donor numbers.

"When the facts are presented, everybody wants to be a good citizen, to be able to save lives."

"Educating students, educating audiences about organ and tissue donation," she continued, "is critically important."

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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