You may already be aware, either by attending or hearing about it, that America’s Blood Centers just completed a very successful Summer Meeting (formerly the Interim Meeting). The meeting provided a great opportunity to reconnect with old friends while also making new ones. The BloodCenter of Wisconsin was the perfect host, even providing fantastic weather.
Once again, the meeting showcased the collective knowledge and expertise of the ABC membership and the power of bringing that knowledge and expertise together in one place. The enthusiasm displayed by the attendees was invigorating for ABC staff.
I came away from the meeting with three important takeaways. First – despite the competition, ABC members are still communicating and willing to share their experiences with each other. This willingness to share can only improve transfusion services for the patients we touch. Second – if we (blood banks) think we have major challenges facing us in the current healthcare environment, they pale in comparison to the challenges that our hospitals are facing. However, we learned that those challenges, as we heard from one presenter Tiffany Zitzewitz, can offer us opportunities to expand our services and partnerships with hospitals as they navigate through these changes. Third – I gained valuable insight into the ABC membership’s priorities during the session presented by Mark Fagan, when attendees shared what they feel ABC, as an association, should be focusing on going forward. The attendees’ comments were reassuring, because when you pare them down, the issues fell neatly into ABC’s core values (advocacy, education and networking, data integration, and innovation).
Lastly, the outcomes and insights gained from this meeting will be of tremendous value this fall as the ABC board of directors, new CEO, and staff begin the process of developing a new three-year strategic plan that will guide ABC’s future activities, ensuring that ABC focuses its efforts on those initiatives that are most valuable to its member blood centers.
William Coenen, Interim CEO; firstname.lastname@example.org