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Posted May 2, 2006


Joana Ramos, MAVIN Foundation


(Seattle, WA) MAVIN Foundation will now offer education and support services to clients of its MatchMaker Bone Marrow Project and to healthcare providers who work with them through the Multiethnic Health Access through Education Initiative (MHAEI). MHAEI is a one-year project made possible by a generous grant from the Group Health Community Foundation.

MHAEI is an outgrowth of MatchMaker’s successful work over the past 5 years in recruiting unrelated bone marrow donors for mixed heritage patients. MatchMaker learned that beyond identification of a donor, patients and their families also need in-depth education about the logistical side of blood & marrow transplantation (BMT), as well as psychosocial support before and after BMT. Additionally, MatchMaker identified the need for accurate and current information about the mixed-heritage patients and families by providers in their practices.

MHAEI will meet the needs of both groups by offering a series of training programs on topics including: understanding blood & marrow transplantation, healthcare systems navigation, demographics, and holistic health concerns of the growing mixed-heritage population. Individualized family support and advocacy will be another component of MHAEI’s services. In addition, the project will generate topical resources, to be made available via web and print formats.

MHAEI staff are Joana Ramos, MSW, Project Manager, and Nalisha Rangel, MA, Project Coordinator. Ramos is an oncology social worker specializing in improving access to cancer treatment for underserved populations, and related health policy issues, in the US and internationally. A BMT survivor herself, she is a nationally-recognized advocacy expert in this field.

According to Ramos, “When a loved one needs a BMT, families are overwhelmed with complex logistics and financial burdens, at the same time that they confront the life-threatening illness of the patient. MHAEI provides an opportunity to bring much-needed help to Washington families, support that can contribute to improved survival from this drastic medical procedure.”

Rangel’s personal and academic experience with multi-heritage social issues will enhance MHAEI's focus on the health and well-being of patients and families.

About MAVIN Foundation
MAVIN Foundation is the nation's leading organization serving mixed heritage people and families. MatchMaker was created in 2001 as the only national program dedicated to mixed race marrow donor recruitment and education. Each year at least 140,000 people* in the US will be diagnosed with diseases that are potentially treatable or curable with a marrow or blood stem cell transplant. Because the factors that determine a match are inherited, and only some 30% of patients find a match within their genetic family, the rest must rely on registries of unrelated volunteer donors. Usually patients will find a match with someone of a similar ethnic origin.

MatchMaker was established to help meet this urgent need, because multiracial people have great difficulty finding matching donors: only 2% of the 7 million potential donors currently registered are identified as mixed race and only some 25% are minorities. To date, MatchMaker has registered over 10,000 people and found potentially life-saving matches for dozens of waiting patients. For more information, visit

* Source: 2005 data from: American Cancer Society, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Aplastic Anemia MDS International Foundation; derived from National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Research (SEER) program.

About the Group Health Community Foundation
Group Health Community Foundation, the charitable arm of Group Health Cooperative, invests in new ways to improve health by funding innovative programs. The statewide foundation assists donors making gifts to Group Health, and has two focus areas to improve the health of children and teens and promote diversity in health care. In 2005, the Foundation will award $590,000 in health improvement grants. It also fundraises, conducts school outreach, and evaluates community health programs.


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Looking back at eight remarkable years!

Matt Kelley founded MAVIN magazine as a 19-year-old freshman at Wesleyan Univ.

MAVIN's premier issue hit newsstands on Jan. 29, 1999.

In 2000, MAVIN magazine became the nonprofit MAVIN Foundation.

Recently, Kelley focused his efforts on advocating on behalf of policy issues.

In 2005, MAVIN sent five 20-somethings on a 10,000-mile trek to raise awareness of multiracial issues.