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A Joint Letter from the President and CEO

50 Years of Saving Lives

ABC_50th AnniveraryvFAnniversaries are times to tout milestones, history, and longevity. America's Blood Centers has a long list of accomplishments to celebrate on its 50th anniversary, from working to assure an all-volunteer blood supply in the U.S., to helping our members implement more accurate screening tests for HIV and hepatitis C virus, to developing the first automated blood management benchmarking software. Now representing organizations that collect more than 9 million blood donations annually, America's Blood Centers was the first blood program alliance in the world.

Aside from recognizing our accomplishments, this is also a time to celebrate what America's Blood Centers' member blood centers have meant in the lives of millions of blood recipients in the last 50 years. In 1941, Blood Centers of the Pacific, based in San Francisco, became the first blood center established in the U.S. The Community Blood Center (Kansas City, Mo.) responded swiftly to the 1981 Hyatt Regency walkway collapse, the U.S. disaster with the most injuries requiring transfusions in history. Oklahoma Blood Institute was a first responder to the 1995 bombing of Oklahoma City's federal building, and Bonfils Blood Center provided blood for victims of the 1999 Columbine school shooting.

Scientists at New York Blood Center invented the hepatitis B vaccine, as well as "solvent-detergent" treatment to help make blood plasma products safer. This innovative blood center also hosts the largest cord blood bank in the world. Puget Sound Blood Center offers a unique community centralized blood transfusion service. Community Blood Center/Community Tissue Services (Dayton, Ohio) is the world's largest non-profit tissue bank and provider of live skin grafts. The list goes on and continues to grow each year as our centers evolve to meet the needs of patients.

As we have in the past, America's Blood Centers will continue to focus on leadership, service to members, and building more global partnerships. Our latest creation, for example, is a global cell therapy alliance formed with the European Blood Alliance and the National Marrow Donor Program that is committed to assuring patient access to current and developing cell therapies.

As we expand our horizons, we remain committed to our simple yet powerfully effective core values: Innovation, Data Integration, Education, and Advocacy.

Our last fiscal year was perhaps one of our most successful in our 50-year history. America's Blood Centers is spinning off its blood management program, Appropriate Inventory Management (AIM), into a user-driven software company capable of becoming the first national patient outcomes database, not just in transfusion medicine, but in any area where measuring patient outcomes might be useful.

Our members are bigger, stronger, more financially stable, and are expanding their influence into many sectors of healthcare. Three of our member blood centers are now organ procurement organizations and more than one-third of them are involved in cell therapies.

All this started with seven men and women meeting in Scottsdale, Ariz. in early 1962, founding the Community Blood Bank Council, which later became America's Blood Centers. Many of the Community Blood Bank Council's early leaders went on to make impressive achievements in blood banking. The organization's first president, Quinn Jordan, was the visionary who founded Blood Systems, Inc. The first vice president, Bill Kyler from Aurora, Ill., became America's Blood Centers' first executive director.

CeopresThe founding leaders' vision has been proven time and again. We are proud of their legacy and proud to be part of the current generation of its leadership. Our organization will remain essential to healthcare as long as patient lives rely on the cells that we extract from healthy volunteer donors. In these days of enormous changes in healthcare, we will encounter challenges, but also opportunities. As in 1962, the future for blood centers is both limitless and exciting.

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