Recognizing National Excellence in Supporting Blood Donation and Strengthening the Blood Supply

ABC is proud to recognize the following leaders from across the country for excellence in supporting the nation’s blood supply over the last year as part of our annual Awards of Excellence. These award recipients were honored in Washington, DC as part of our Annual Meeting, which brought together blood center executives and national leaders to discuss advocacy and regulatory updates; the latest in science, medicine, and technical affairs; and key topics facing the industry.


Assistant Under Secretary for Health for Clinical Services at the Veterans Health Administration, Dr. Erica Scavella

National Partner of the Year

Department of Veterans Affairs

This award recognizes an ABC partner for their commitment to saving lives, helping communities, and supporting the blood supply. Working with ABC and other blood collection agencies, the Department launched the Roll Up Your Sleeves campaign during the height of COVID-19 to address the pandemic’s resulting strain on the blood supply. The Department hosted blood drives nationwide, fulfilling their “fourth mission” to support America’s health care system in times of disaster. ABC members brought in nearly 4,000 donors, including nearly 1,000 new donors, as part of this partnership, and the Roll Up Your Sleeves Campaign has now been extended indefinitely.

The Blood Community Advocate of the Year

The ADVANCE Study Team

This award honors individuals who demonstrate leadership, commitment, or extraordinary service in advocating on behalf of ABC member blood centers and the blood community. This group of honorees includes stakeholders from blood centers, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and the LGBTQ+ community, who came together to collaborate on the groundbreaking Assessing Donor Variability and New Concepts in Eligibility (ADVANCE) Study. Its data contributed to the Food and Drug Administration’s recent draft guidance that would establish blood donor screening based on individual behavior, not sexual orientation.


Barbee Whitaker, Lead General Health Scientist, CBER at FDA, and Brian Custer, Director of Vitalant Research Institute, the Vice President of Research and Scientific Programs, and the Director of Epidemiology and Policy Science at Vitalant Research Institute (VRI) San Francisco and Vitalant


Admiral Rachel Levine, Assistant Secretary for Health at the Department of Health and Human Services

William M. Coenen President’s Award

The Department of Health and Human Services

This award was established in 2015 to honor Bill Coenen, former Chief Financial Officer of America’s Blood Centers, for his long service and commitment to ABC members. In 2022, HHS launched a national public awareness campaign to encourage more individuals to donate blood. This award was accepted by Admiral Rachel L. Levine, MD, the Assistant Secretary for Health at the Department of Health and Human Services, who has played a critical role in championing the need for blood and convened stakeholders across the federal government to promote a safe and available blood supply.

ABC Corporation of the Year Award

Glad Manufacturing in Rogers, Arkansas

This award is given to a corporation that demonstrates an exceptional commitment to the volunteer blood community. Glad Manufacturing, which hosted their first corporate blood drive in 2007, has been a long-time advocate for local blood donation, consistently increasing the number of new donors and blood donations each year. In 2022, Glad hosted a two-day, multi-shift blood drive on five occasions, resulting in 614 blood donations collected - a 43 percent increase from blood donations collected in 2021.


Brenda Smith (center), Human Resource Business Partner at the Clorox Company, accepts on behalf of Glad Manufacturing


Simone Glynn, MD, MPH

William M. Coenen President’s Award

Simone Glynn, MD, MPH

Dr. Glynn most recently served as Branch Chief at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute at the National Institutes of Health where her nationally recognized blood research programs and initiatives made dramatic enhancements to the safety of the nation’s blood supply. She also served as Project Officer for the Recipient Epidemiology and Donor Evaluation Study and was instrumental in providing the proof, through four studies, that the blood donor deferral policy for gay and bisexual could be changed and still ensure the safety of the blood supply, among many other notable accomplishments.

William M. Coenen President’s Award

Theresa Pina, Vice President of Operations at Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center

Ms. Pina has served as a volunteer expert with ABC’s marketing, communication, and advocacy work and has served as president of ADRP, the international division of ABC, for two years. Under her leadership, ADRP has continued to grow in the U.S. and internationally, while helping the blood community navigate the challenges of the COVID pandemic.


Theresa Pina, Vice President of Operations at Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center


Nancy Benitez, MHS, (ASCP) SBB, Vice President Reference Laboratories, OneBlood

ITxM Award for Excellence in Technical Operations

Nancy Benitez, MHS, (ASCP) SBB, Lab Director, OneBlood

This award is presented to an individual who demonstrates exceptional commitment to the field of technical and laboratory operations in the blood banking field. For more than 25 years, Ms. Benitez has dedicated her time, talent and expertise to the blood banking community in ensuring rare blood is available. In 2001, she launched one of the first Blood Bank Technology schools as part of the reference lab at Community Blood Centers of South Florida, now OneBlood. The school continues more than 20 years later.

ABC Outstanding Blood Drive of the Year Award

“Donate for Mothers,” nominated by Vitalant

This award is given to one blood drive that has demonstrated excellence in promoting blood donation through recruitment and collection efforts and establishing blood donation as a priority within an organization. Co-founded three years ago by Dr. Vy Rossi, the Amniotic Fluid Embolism Foundation, Colorado Accreta Survivors, and National Accreta Foundation, Donate for Mothers is a month-long special awareness campaign and blood drive program hosted annually that honors and supports women who have experienced pregnancy-related complications.


Vy Rossi, MD (center) accepts on behalf of the Donate for Mothers campaign


Lori Arguello, Marketing and Community Relations Manager at ImpactLife, accepts on behalf of the campaign

ABC Outstanding Public Relations Campaign

ImpactLife’s “Blood is Medicine” Campaign

This award is presented to a member blood center for an outstanding public relations campaign that used print, radio, television media, and/or social media to promote blood donation awareness through original content and creativity. The Blood is Medicine campaign reached close to 4.5 million people and generated more than 5,300 units of lifesaving blood, resulting in 324 earned media placements.

Larry Frederick Award

Harriet Huggins, AVID District Director, Clovis West High School

This award is named after former Oakland police officer Larry Frederick, who was struck in a hit and run accident in 1982 while performing a routine traffic stop and received over 110 units of blood. It recognizes individuals for community leadership in raising awareness about blood donation. Huggins is a longtime advocate of blood donation, promoting school-based drives that bring together students, teachers, staff, community members, and more.


Chris Staub (left), CEO of Central California Blood Bank, and Larry Frederick accept on behalf of Harriet Huggins


Susan Rossmann, MD, PhD

Thomas F. Zuck Lifetime Achievement Award

Susan Rossmann, MD, PhD

This award honors an individual for career achievement in the application of clinical, medical, and scientific research to improve methods of blood collection and safety and efficacy of blood products provided to patients. Dr. Rossmann has held senior leadership positions in organizations that have influenced every aspect of transfusion medicine, including the National Advisory Council of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences; America’s Blood Centers, where she served as president from 2015-2017; the Association for the Advancement of Blood & Biotherapies, the Texas Medical Association, and the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research.