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The New ASBP Director Inspires Everyone to Meet Future Challenges
By Christine June, ASBP Marketing Specialist
Air Force Col. Richard H. McBride is the new Armed Services Blood Program director.
FALLS CHURCH, Va. — Air Force Col. Richard H. McBride is the new Armed Services Blood Program director, and he has been part of delivering quality blood products to service members and their families worldwide for more than 20 years.
His interest in pursuing a career in blood banking began in 1990 – the year he was tested under fire.
For about two years, he had been the chief of laboratory services at the U.S. Air Force Hospital Dover on Dover Air Force Base, Del.
“We had a small contingency blood donor center, and we were tasked with about 10 to 20 units, every quarter,” said McBride, a native of St. Albans, Queens, N.Y. “We didn’t even have to do recruitment, just went down the halls and asked our coworkers to donate blood.”
That all changed when Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm hit.
“It jumped to 100 units a week,” McBride said. “It was a lot of work.”
McBride said that they quickly activated the donor center and started collecting, processing and shipping units every day.
“It was a monumental task, and it was my first exposure to blood processing, collecting, shipping and recruiting during wartime,” McBride said. “We all worked together – everyone at the hospital and on the base – and got the mission done.”
Everyone working together to complete the mission is what McBride has witnessed time and time again throughout his 26 years in the military, and he has no doubt that it will work again to meet the challenges facing the ASBP today.
He listed three of these challenges at the end of the ASBP workshop held at the AABB Annual Meeting and Cellular Therapy and Transfusion Medicine Expo 2012 Oct. 6 to 9 at the Convention and Exhibition Center in Boston.
These challenges – fresh frozen blood breakage, medical evacuation transfusions and inventory management – McBride said were going to be resolved by everyone who is working in the military blood banking world today and those who will be tomorrow.
Another challenge facing the military blood program in the near future is replacing the decade-old Defense Blood Standard System with the Enterprise Blood Management System, which is a state-of-the-art medical tracking device that will manage blood operations at military donor centers and transfusion services.
“That’s going to be a very big step in terms of the information technology solution for tracking blood from the cradle to the grave,” McBride said. “It’s going to take a lot of work and effort on the part of everyone in the military blood program to bring this to fruition, and it’s going to take a tremendous amount of leadership from the services to support this.
“We have a two-year timeline, and my immediate goal is to make sure we stick to that timeline and that we have a working IT solution out to every transfusion service and donor center in the military by the end of calendar year 2014.”
After his team successes at Dover, McBride applied for and was accepted to the Specialist in Blood Banking Fellowship, which he attended from January 1993 to July 1994 at the Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, D.C. His first blood-banking assignment was as the chief of the Blood Donor Center/Transfusion Branch at Wilford Hall U.S. Air Force Medical Center at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. He was the director of the Air Force Blood Program Division from 2001 to 2005.
Prior to coming here, he was the director of the Joint Theater Blood Program for U.S. Central Command for almost five years.
“Knowing our mission, I want us – everyone in the military blood program – to make sure that we can get blood wherever it is needed in the world by our military members and their families,” said McBride on what he hopes will mark his tenure as the ASBP director. “Together, we will resolve our challenges and get the blood there.”
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