ASBP: ASBP Blood Donor Recruiters Help Ensure Military Blood Supply
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Follow Navy Captain Fahie, program director, as he visits critical military blood program locations.

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ASBP Blood Donor Recruiters Help Ensure Military Blood Supply

09/04/2017
By Dave Conrad, ASBP Blood Donor Recruiter, Fort Hood, Texas
Carl Norman, blood donor recruiter at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, provides journalism instruction to Armed Services Blood Program donor recruiters during a training session at the Southbridge Conference Center in Southbridge, Massachusetts.
Carl Norman, blood donor recruiter at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, provides journalism instruction to Armed Services Blood Program donor recruiters during a training session at the Southbridge Conference Center in Southbridge, Massachusetts.
In June, Armed Services Blood Program professionals from across the Department of Defense discussed challenges to collection efforts during a conference in Southbridge, Massachusetts.

Over three days of intense training and discussion, attendees learned about changes to Food and Drug Administration regulations and guidelines, advances in information technology systems used in blood banking, and shared techniques and approaches which helped them encourage blood donors at their own installations.

"Without each and every one of you bringing donors in the door, we wouldn't have a job," Navy Capt. Roland Fahie, ASBP director, said in a session addressing the program's blood donor recruiters. “You guys are there, face-to-face with the donors, and you know what works and what doesn’t work.”

A tri-service organization, the ASBP is the official blood collection, manufacturing and transfusion program for the U.S. military. The mission of the ASBP is to provide quality blood products and services for all worldwide customers in both peace and war.

Blood donor recruiters have supported the ASBP mission since 2001, when changes to donor screening requirements caused a severe drop in military blood donations.

"Mad Cow Disease" creates challenges for military blood collection
For more than 60 years, the ASBP has been collecting, processing, transporting and transfusing blood products for the military community whenever and wherever it's needed.

In 1996, researchers established strong evidence of a connection between a variant of Creutzefeld Jacobs Disease and Bovine Spongiform Encephalopy, more commonly known as “Mad Cow Disease,” according to the Centers for Disease Control. In response, the FDA advised blood donor centers to stop accepting blood product donations from volunteers who spent time in Europe, the United Kingdom and other areas where exposure to vCJD was a possibility.

The Army Blood Program began screening donors for vCJD in October 2001, causing 18 percent of the active duty force and greater percentage of retirees to become permanently deferred from donating. With the potential donor pool severely restricted, the ASBP began assigning a blood donor recruiter to each donor center.

Marty Ricker, donor recruitment director for the ASBP, has been with the donor recruitment program from its inception, and was the lead instructor for the seminars.

“The idea is to get you guys talking,” Ricker said to the recruiters. “We’re going to come up with some good ideas that you can use in the field.”

Although Ricker was the lead instructor, most of the other recruiters shared their experiences and lead some portions of the instruction, discussing recruitment challenges, public speaking and journalistic writing techniques.

Recruiters left the conference better prepared to serve the needs of their communities and the ASBP as a whole.

“I understood what I was doing in my specific donor center, but now I have a better idea of the bigger picture,” Deylon Douglass, the donor recruiter at Ft. Sill, said. “I understand why my mission is important, why our quotas are set the way they are, and what the other components and centers are doing.”

About the Armed Services Blood Program
Since 1962, the Armed Services Blood Program has served as the sole provider of blood for the United States military. As a tri-service organization, the ASBP collects, processes, stores and distributes blood and blood products to Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and their families worldwide. As one of four national blood collection organizations trusted to ensure the nation has a safe, potent blood supply, the ASBP works closely with our civilian counterparts by sharing donors on military installations where there are no military blood collection centers and by sharing blood products in times of need to maximize availability of this national treasure. To find out more about the ASBP or to schedule an appointment to donate, please visit www.militaryblood.dod.mil. To interact directly with ASBP staff members, see more photos or get the latest news, follow @militaryblood on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube and Pinterest. Find the drop. Donate.

The Armed Services Blood Program is a proud recipient of the Army Maj. Gen. Keith L. Ware Public Affairs award for journalism.