Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has launched a public service campaign featuring well-known, two time Emmy Award-winning heart surgeon and popular television personality Dr. Mehmet Oz, host of The Dr. Oz Show, as part of efforts to increase the number of people enrolled in the New York State Donate Life Registry. The PSAs are part of the DMV’s “Go the Extra Mile, Become an Organ Donor” campaign and will run statewide on both television and radio during National Donate Life month in April. The PSAs were entirely funded by donations and produced by Dr. Oz who donated his time and the time of his production company.
“Traveling across the state, I know firsthand that New Yorkers are some of most compassionate and selfless people you can meet,” Governor Cuomo said. “As we kick off National Donate Life month, I encourage New Yorkers to join the New York State Donate Life Registry to become an organ donor and help save lives. I also thank Dr. Oz for giving his time to participate in our PSAs to help spread the word across the state.”
Dr. Oz said, “Throughout my years as a surgeon in New York, I’ve performed hundreds of life-saving heart transplants. But I’ve also seen countless lives lost because we couldn’t get the organs needed to perform these miraculous operations.” Dr. Oz asks New Yorkers to “Rally together and help make a difference in saving lives.”
“We were delighted that Dr. Oz was so enthusiastic and gracious when we asked for his help to increase awareness of the need for more people to join the Donate Life Registry,” said DMV Commissioner Barbara J. Fiala. “The need for organ donors is great, and with Dr. Oz’s support through these PSAs, we know that many more lives will be saved.”
The PSAs are being distributed statewide through the New York State Broadcaster’s Association, which was also instrumental in arranging for Dr. Oz’s participation in the PSAs. In addition to being broadcast, the videos are also available on the DMV website at http://www.dmv.ny.gov/mydmv/organ-pop.htm.
One organ donor can save up to eight lives and improve the lives of up to 50 people by donating organs, tissues and corneas. Anyone over age 18 can sign up to be a potential organ donor, regardless of their medical history. Being an organ donor does not interfere with medical care or funeral preparations, and there is no cost to the donor or the donor’s family. New Yorkers can sign up to be organ donors quickly and conveniently online through MyDMV, in person at any DMV office, or by filling out and mailing a donor form to the Department of Health.
Nearly 10,000 New Yorkers are waiting for a life-saving transplant, and every 13 hours another New Yorker dies while waiting for a transplant. Yet, only 20 percent of New Yorkers age 18 and over have enrolled in the NYS Donate Life Registry compared to the nationwide average of 42 percent.
Dr. Mehmet Oz is a graduate of Harvard University and received a joint M.D. /MPA degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and the Wharton School. In addition to hosting The Dr. Oz Show, he serves as vice chair of surgery and professor of cardiac surgery at Columbia University. He is also the director of the Cardiovascular Institute and a founder and director of the Complementary Medicine program at New York Presbyterian Medical Center. Dr. Oz is the author of more than 350 publications, including his award-winning 1999 book “Healing From the Heart.” He also holds several patents.
To sign up for MyDMV and enroll to be an organ and tissue donor, visit the DMV Web site at dmv.ny.gov.