The members of ABC are special-we provide a unique service which requires special talents. We have to optimize the safety of donation for donors while ensuring an adequate supply of blood components for patients. We have to balance the need for the highest level of safety of blood to be transfused with the various costs of that safety: testing costs, product loss, donor loss or frustration. We have to do all this within the context of fiscal challenges and price-pressures that are part of the relentless drive to reduce overall medical costs. In short, we are blood operators.
Our pressures and satisfactions, requirements and rewards, are unique. Of course blood as a therapeutic agent resides within the world of medicine, and we are part of the healthcare system. But we have needs, responsibilities, and opportunities that are appreciated only by other blood operators. We look at the science of blood donation and transfusion-transmitted diseases with a slightly different slant. We consider distribution networks extensively. America’s Blood Centers provides an opportunity to work together to improve ourselves through advocacy, exchange of ideas, and education. Although we align and affiliate with other groups in AABB and other national and regional blood organizations, ABC is unique in the emphasis on the blood collection, manufacturing, and distribution processes-in short, blood operations.
This is why we are particularly pleased to welcome Peter Marks, MD, PhD, director of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER) at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), to our Annual Meeting, at the Tuesday morning Advocacy forum. As head of CBER, he plays a key role in assuring the safety of blood products, and hence regulating our enterprise. It is an unusual opportunity to see him in a small group setting where we will hear his perspective on our operational issues. U.S. Representative John Shimkus from Illinois, a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, will also speak; his Committee has jurisdiction over the FDA as well as a broad mandate, including public health and food and drug safety.
Other aspects of the Annual Meeting also speak to us as blood operators: aspects of collection, including recruitment and donor screening for public health; manufacturing, particularly testing for bacteria and Babesia, and the adoption of a risk-based approach; and data that can help us rationalize distribution and all aspects of the operation.
We have a special obligation and responsibility to donors and patients, and we have to keep our enterprises afloat. ABC can help us with the unique aspects of our many jobs, and it has been my great pleasure to be your President. Going forward, structures and lines may change for our blood centers, but we will continue to share knowledge, work toward common goals, and enjoy each other’s company.
Susan Rossmann, MD, PhD; Board President; firstname.lastname@example.org