New program aimed at increasing blood donations among federal government employees

In commemoration of World Blood Donor Day, HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson launched “Donation Nation,” a new program aimed at increasing blood donations among federal government employees to reduce chronic blood shortages in communities across the country. This program is being launched in cooperation with the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB), America's Blood Centers (ABC) and the American Red Cross (ARC).

“Every two seconds a blood transfusion is needed in the United States and at times there is simply not enough blood to fully meet that need,” Secretary Thompson said. “As we enter the summer season, when blood is traditionally in short supply, HHS and the blood centers want to build a momentum through ‘Donation Nation’ that encourages federal employees to give blood. Through ‘Donation Nation,’ we can help ensure blood is ready, available and on the shelves when a personal medical crisis occurs or a disaster strikes during any season.”

“Donation Nation” will serve as an on-going workplace blood program for federal employees and encourages all eligible federal workers to become blood donors and commit to donating blood a minimum of twice each year. Participating blood centers will organize competitions between departments and recognize the best performers.

The first phase of “Donation Nation” launches today in the Washington, D.C./Baltimore metropolitan area and the state of California. Government agencies are encouraged to organize blood drives and raise awareness to boost collections.

AABB, ABC and ARC, will provide the necessary support tools to help departments plan and execute stronger blood drives. Phase two of “Donation Nation” will be launched in December of 2004, when the program will expand to include federal agencies across the nation.

AABB is an international association of blood banks, including hospital and community blood centers, transfusion and transplantation services and individuals involved in activities related to transfusion and transplantation medicine. ABC is North America’s largest network of non-profit, community blood centers. ARC provides nearly half of the nation's blood supply (collecting more than 6 million units a year from volunteer donors) to patients in 3,000 hospitals across the country through its national network.

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