Delaware has become the latest state to mandate that students study organ donation as part of health education classes.

The move is intended to dispel myths surrounding organ donation and potentially decrease the number of Delaware residents on organ waiting lists, which include some 300 people waiting for livers and kidneys.

The national nonprofit Gift of Life Donor Program helped Delaware launch the initiative. Todd Franzen, community relations coordinator with the agency, said the goal of initiatives like Delaware's is to provide students the knowledge they need to make informed decisions when obtaining a driver's license. Historically, about 51 percent of Delaware drivers choose to become registered as organ donors.

Gift of Life provided education for the teachers who will be implementing the topic into health classes this fall.

"There are so many moving parts that have to fall into place for someone to become an organ donor," Franzen said. "We have to continuously promote the need for people to be aware of organ donation."

Reaching students is important in the effort to generate more organ donors since parents have a say in what happens to their children's organs. Some states allow teens to declare their desire to become a organ donor at age 16 when they traditionally get their driver's licenses. Other states — like New York don't let anyone younger than 18 decide. That's why it's important for teens to inform their parents of their wishes before it's too late, Franzen said.

"I think there's a lot of opportunities to inspire people and motivate them," he said.

Delaware is not alone in mandating the education initiative. Many states have passed legislation requiring organ donation education in either health classes or driver's education. In 2011, only 13 states required donation education to be taught in high schools. By 2015, Delaware, Pennsylvania and California had passed legislation requiring it, and Ohio is currently considering a measure that would require donor education be taught in high school health classes.

Some, like Joe Roth, CEO of New Jersey Organ and Tissue Sharing Network, say it's difficult to determine if mandating such curricula increases the number of organ donations. New York and New Jersey both require donor education in public schools, but people sometimes wait up to six years for a kidney.

However, a meta analysis conducted by researchers at The State University of New York at Buffalo found that public education efforts were successful in increasing donation rates. Public education campaigns that promote donation resulted in a 5 percent increase in donation rates when compared to a control group. Factors including changed attitudes toward donation, state registry signing rates and increased family notification about a donor's wishes were used to test outcomes.

"Future research efforts that allow more sophisticated analysis of campaign exposure in relation to campaign outcomes would go far in advancing the potential of public education campaigns in their goal to increase the national consent rates for solid organs," the study researchers wrote.