2022 has marked another lifesaving and mission driven year for the ASBP. It’s been a busy year, too, with memorable blood drives, the transition from one ASBP Division Chief to another, and the removal of a major travel blood donor deferral that affected many.
Mid-year, there was a changeover in ASBP leadership, with Navy Capt. Leslie “Les” Riggs becoming Division Chief. Prior to this new role, Riggs was serving as the Head of Blood Services Department at Naval Medical Readiness and Training Command Camp Lejeune located in North Carolina. Riggs complimented previous Division Chief Army Col. Audra L. Taylor and the ASBP community. “[They] did an outstanding job of developing a strategic plan that encompasses the needs of our DoD, DHA, and the ASBP. [Taylor] maneuvered the ASBP through one of its most difficult times with COVID, CCP production, and DHA transition, and she did it all with a tightening budget.”
One of the most impactful events of the year was the FDA removal of a deferral that had affected many donors. Blood donors who were once deferred for geographic risk factors related to Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD), commonly referred to as “Mad Cow” disease, or for receiving a blood transfusion in the U.K., France or Ireland during certain periods of time, may now be eligible to donate, provided they meet all other eligibility requirements. These changes were released by the FDA during the month of May, and they were fully implemented within the ASBP by August. Before this, in 2020, the FDA initially lifted the deferral preventing those who have lived or served in many European countries from donating blood.
“Blood safety is always our top priority,” stated Riggs. “With the newly released FDA guidelines regarding the vCJD deferral, we are excited to welcome back donors who were previously deferred and now have the opportunity to save lives for our warfighters and families in need. It is a welcomed change.”
The most successful blood drive this year took place during Army ROTC Cadet Summer Training in Fort Knox, Ky., from June 26 to August 15. “The blood drives with the ROTC cadets are invaluable to our mission,” shared Public Health Service Capt. Janet Cliatt, ASBP Deputy Division Chief. “They’ve been a great success thanks to the cadets’ willingness to donate as well as the partnership we have with the Army Cadet Command’s leadership. We’re trusting that success will continue this year and thousands of wounded service members and their families can have a second chance at life and recover from illness and injury thanks to everyone’s generosity and teamwork.”
A second memorable drive from this year took place at Fort Wainwright, Alaska where 2022 marked the first time the ASBP held a multi-day drive in the state. The “Arctic Thunder” blood drives took place between August 23 and August 25.
“The overwhelming donor support and commitment over the three-day event will have lasting impacts to Soldiers, civilians, and family members of the ‘Arctic Angels’,” shared Army Maj. Joshua Martinez, Armed Services Blood Bank – Pacific Northwest (ASBBC-PNW) director. “We hope to continue collaborating with Fort Wainwright, Bassett Army Community Hospital, and the 11th Airborne Division to host more blood drives and training opportunities in the future.”
The ASBP not only worked diligently with a mission focus on collections but also in connection with collaborations within the Defense Health Agency, the DoD and private sector organizations within the blood banking community. These collaborations included further work on implementation of MHS Genesis, emergency whole blood programs and military working dog blood program.
Another cherished annual event was the Armed Services Blood Bank Center – National Capital Region (ASBBC-NCR)’s 12th Annual Army vs. Navy blood donor challenge, held from November 3 through December 6.
A major highlight of the year was announcing and presenting the 2022 ASBP Lifetime Achievement Award (LAA) to its honoree, retired Navy Commander Michael “Mike” C. Libby. Riggs complimented Libby on his accomplishments regarding his tenure as Division Chief, sharing that “[Libby] is well-deserving of this lifetime achievement award, and the ASBP was fortunate to have such a dedicated and hardworking leader.”
Each year, the ASBP strives to excel at its mission of providing quality blood products and services for all customers worldwide during both peace and war. With the winter season comes a critical need for donations, as historically there is a nationwide donation shortage during these months while the need for blood products remains steadfast.
The program is thankful for all the donors and supporters who help make its mission possible. 2023 is sure to bring new opportunities and challenges to the program, all of which will be taken on by the team of dedicated donors, supporters, leaders and ASBP staff. To join the team of donors that make the ASBP’s mission possible, visit www.militaryblood.dod.mil and schedule a donation today.
About the Armed Services Blood Program
Since 1962, the Armed Services Blood Program is the official blood program of the United States military. Our mission is to provide quality blood products and support to military health care operations worldwide; from the battlefield to the local hospital, whenever and wherever needed. The ASBP collects, processes, stores, transports, and distributes blood products to service members, their families, retirees and veterans in peace and war. In an ASBP Enterprise view – Military Health Affairs, Defense Health Agency, Service Blood Programs and Combatant Commands – we operate under common goals, metrics, procedures, and work together to shape the future.
The ASBP is one of four organizations tasked with providing a safe blood supply to the nation. Our program also works closely with our civilian counterparts in times of need to maximize the availability of this national treasure.
To find out more about the ASBP or schedule an appointment to donate, please visit www.militaryblood.dod.mil. To interact directly with ASBP staff members or get the latest news, follow us @militaryblood on Facebook and Twitter, and @usmilitaryblood on Instagram.
|Date Posted:||01.25.2023 15:36|