The newly appointed ABC Board of Directors held its first day-long meeting in Chicago on October 18th. As part of ABC’s re-alignment, the Board has affirmed building a unified advocacy presence for the membership as the central focus of ABC. This will be supported by scientific, medical, technical, quality, and regulatory strength. In doing so, the Board approved several changes to our internal advocacy structure to help drive member engagement, discussion, and ultimately consensus.
Central to these changes is the sunsetting of the current Government Affairs Committee, whose members have our thanks, and the creation of an ABC Public Policy Council. The Council will focus on vetting and developing recommendations regarding current and future policy issues and directly liaise with the membership and Board. The chair and members of the Council will be representative of the entire membership and appointed by the ABC President. The new Public Policy Council will directly link the membership and the Board to better communicate and align our interests within our membership and better articulate them with others in the industry. I expect the Council to be in place this month, and the work to begin immediately in gaining additional member input on our advocacy priorities.
The creation of the Public Policy Council and narrowing focus of ABC seem timely. I welcome the October 19th “Crisis in the Sustainability of the U.S. Blood System” Sounding Board (Klein, H., et. al) article, but the 175 word limitation to responses at the New England Journalof Medicine is not conducive to meaningful discussion of the issues it raised. The ongoing deliberations of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Advisory Committee on Blood and Tissue Safety and Availability that will result in recommendations to the HHS Assistant Secretary for Health represent a critical venue for our efforts. Major work remains to be done, driven by the membership and facilitated by the Public Policy Council, aiming to reach consensus about any changes needed to assure a safe and sustainable blood supply.
I look forward to active engagement from all ABC members to bring more information, better understanding, and a more aligned voice to these important issues.
More information will follow about other important changes and efforts underway within ABC to better serve our members.
Martin Grable; Board President