Vitalant’s mission to ensure a safe, ample blood supply for our nation began 78 years ago as Salt River Blood Bank in Phoenix, Arizona and has grown to now encompass nearly 120 donation centers from coast-to-coast. A mentor and friend recruited me to work in the blood services industry following a nine-year career in the U.S. Army, and I have never looked back. Throughout my more than 30 years, it has been my mission to inspire others to save lives by giving of themselves.
Blood and other biologics (tissue, organ, etc.) donations are critical to patient care. I often think of donors and organizations like ours that steward their donations to hospitals as the backbone of the healthcare system. And, there are worrisome signs that the rate of blood transfusions is growing as donations decline for the first time in the recent past. Every day Vitalant must collect about 5,300 blood, platelet and plasma donations for patients at more than 900 hospitals we serve. I thank you for your partnership in helping us achieve these goals – whether as a donor, a blood drive host or donation advocate.
While most people are eligible to give blood, we know that not everyone can donate. Whether it be for travel to a malaria-endemic region, a personal health reason or a policy restriction from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that regulates all blood centers. There are some temporary or permanent deferrals that prevent some people who want to from directly participating in securing the nation’s blood supply.
Vitalant is always working to open access to as many people as possible while maintaining safety, especially through our research. For example, we are the lead investigator in the FDA-funded ADVANCE study to evaluate alternatives to the FDA’s men who have sex with men (MSM) eligibility policy. Vitalant Research Institute leads a variety of transfusion medicine research programs, from epidemiology to cellular therapy to virus discovery. Our unparalleled research will continue to inform healthcare policy and patient care for generations to come.
What does the next 78 years look like for Vitalant? While it is virtually impossible to look that far out, one thing is for sure, we are steadfastly committed to fostering a diverse, equitable and inclusive organization that donors, volunteers, partners and employees will choose. I’m inspired every day by the hundreds of thousands of people that choose to support Vitalant with their blood, their time and their financial gifts.
Again, thank you for partnering with us.
By David R. Green, president & CEO, Vitalant