Michigan Blood Launches Initiative to Diversify the Blood Supply
Thursday, April 18, 2013 at 12:49PM
Laurie Brady - Webmaster

Community Leaders Meet in Saginaw to Address
Need to Recruit African American Donors

Friday, April 19th, Michigan Blood will kick off a critical community health initiative that has the potential to improve the lives of African-Americans. Engaged community leaders representing community services, healthcare, public/private/nonprofit organizations and businesses, faith-based groups, education, and the media will convene from 7:30 a.m. - 9 a.m. at Saginaw Valley State University in the Regional Education Center, Room 202, to address the mounting need to diversify the community blood supply.

Dr. Tammon Nash, the Associate Medical Director at Michigan Blood, will serve at the keynote speaker. As part of her post-doctoral fellowship with the University of Michigan’s Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar Research Project, Dr. Nash analyzed factors that influence African-Americans and their willingness to donate blood. She will discuss her findings and the importance of increasing blood donations from African-Americans. Together with our panelists from the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America - Michigan Chapter and a patient who relies on frequent blood transfusions, she will discuss how to engage communities in doing so.

As the blood products provider to more than 40 hospitals in our state, Michigan Blood is committed to diversifying the blood supply because it ensures the best care for patients in need of life-saving blood transfusions. While blood donations from all ethnic groups are critical, Michigan Blood is committed to raising awareness about the need for African-American donors in particular. It’s critical because less than two percent of African-Americans are blood donors, yet only African-American donors have unique blood traits that can help other African-Americans with life-threatening illnesses. For patients in need of regular transfusions, often the best blood match comes from donors within their ethnic group.

Community leaders will be encouraged to join a planning committee to engage the African American community to support diversifying the blood supply.  A fall 2013 community awareness expo and blood drive is being planned.   

For additional details and to get involved in this initiative, contact: Tamar Chipp at 989-497-1053 or tchipp@miblood.org.

Article originally appeared on Michigan Blood (http://www.miblood.org/).
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