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A Letter from the President

The acronym for America's Blood Centers' "core values," IDEA, represents Innovation, Data Integration and Benchmarking, Education and Networking, and Advocacy. Although these values are not unique in themselves, they become powerful tools for America's Blood Centers to serve its members. These tools are where the knowledge and leverage of all outweigh that of one.

In the past year, we have been refocusing our resources on advocacy and education, supporting these values with a renewed energy in the Data Warehouse (DW) efforts. The staff of America's Blood Centers has been working diligently on a new initiative to improve the processes for entering and validating the data coming into the DW. With over 50 percent of member collections already being pushed to the DW, this repository of member blood center data will become a valuable tool in supporting our advocacy and education work.

As America's Blood Centers refocuses and reshapes its core values, we have been asked, "What happened to the "I" in the core values? Have we abandoned innovation?" The answer is an unequivocal no. An organization that does not embrace new ideas or opportunities is not serving its membership well. Innovation is, again, an area in which America's Blood Centers' collective knowledge and leverage outweighs that of any one blood center.

One only has to look at some of the successes of the past to assess the value of innovation to our members - the recent reduction in blood center items covered by the proposed medical device tax; the quality engineering programs that led to IMPAQ (Improving Manufacturing Practices and Quality); Blood Centers Exchange (BCx); the ABC-D program that helped increase donations offsetting the decline experienced in the early 2000s; Appropriate Inventory Management (AIM); and the Foundation for America's Blood Centers (FABC), which funds initiatives that benefit and support our member blood centers.

Yes, there have been some bad "I"s along the way, but success and innovation can only come from a willingness to try new things. Although it is not currently America's Blood Centers' main focus, Innovation has certainly not fallen off our radar, and should opportunity come knocking, we'll be ready to open the door and help members start a conversation.

GreenA laser-like focus will be crucial to our success as an association while we navigate an increasingly complex environment including healthcare reform, increasing competition, changes in our scientific, medical, and technical world, and unprecedented shifts in hospital system relationships. Clearly defining and successfully delivering value to the members will be critical as we help shape the environment to help members thrive, while holding the line on costs. Advocating for member blood center interests, convening member-based groups and outside perspectives to tackle difficult issues, translating data to inform key decision makers, and fostering an environment of trust among members and the staff of America's Blood Centers, all based on appropriate transparency and absolute confidentiality, will produce an exchange of ideas advancing the interests of member blood centers. We offer a wealth of tools for member use and encourage all members of America's Blood Centers to engage together in order to bring those to bear on the challenges at hand.

This has been a year of transition, in which we welcome the addition of Christine S. Zambricki, DNAP, CRNA, FAAN as the new CEO of America's Blood Centers. We are fortunate to have a strong and dedicated board of directors, in addition to both an excellent team of executive leadership and staff at America's Blood Centers that is driven to continue providing quality service to and on behalf of member blood centers. As a member-driven organization, "we" are America's Blood Centers.

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