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For Release:
October 22, 2009

Heather Howard
Commissioner

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Office of Communications
(609) 984-7160


 
DHSS and the New Jersey Workplace Blood Donor Coalition Launch a New Initiative to Increase Blood Donation in New Jersey


 

Leaders of New Jersey trade and business associations and unions have joined the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) and other members of the New Jersey Workplace Blood Donor Coalition (NJWBDC) in a new initiative to increase blood donations in New Jersey.

 

Collectively the unions and associations represent thousands of businesses and hundreds of thousands of workers in the state.  By taking the program to their members, they can disseminate information, promote blood donation, and encourage employers to have more frequent workplace blood drives and work together to hold joint blood drives.

 

“Eliminating New Jersey’s blood shortage is an important public health goal,” said Gov. Corzine.  “Engaging partners to increase the number of successful blood drives will move New Jersey toward self-sufficiency in blood collection and reduce our dependence on imported blood from other states.” 

 

At a meeting today hosted by the New Jersey Hospital Association in Princeton, the Coalition unveiled its strategic plan and presented a variety of new resources for New Jersey businesses including an e-mail newsletter, an events calendar, a Facebook page, twitter feed, blog and video site.  These tools will be rolled out over the coming year to inform businesses and employees about the importance of blood donation, organizing blood drives and where to go to donate.

 

In her remarks, Health and Senior Services Commissioner Heather Howard emphasized the need for the business community’s participation in blood donation to overcome the persistent shortages and return the state to earlier higher levels of blood donation.

 

“We can increase our levels of blood donation in New Jersey,” said Commissioner Howard.  “There are positive signs that New Jersey is making progress in educating the public about the need for blood donations, and that the goal of collecting an adequate supply of blood to meet the state’s needs is attainable.”

 

To support this effort, Gov. Corzine signed legislation in May 2009 authorizing 16-year-olds to donate with parental consent.  The new law will help to foster a commitment to blood donation and increase the number of eligible donors.

 

The blood collection data is encouraging.  Overall, New Jersey’s blood collection rate has increased for the past three years.  The increases in 2006 and 2007 were modest, but in 2008 donations increased by 9.3 percent over the previous year.  This represents the highest one year increase in blood collection since at least 1981, the earliest year for which collection data is readily available.  Over 344,000 units of blood were collected.

 

Commissioner Howard emphasized that despite the increase the deficit persists.  New Jersey blood centers reported a statewide deficit of 35,000 units in 2008. 

 

“It will take all of us working together to eliminate the persistent blood shortage,” said Commissioner Howard.  “We have to ensure that our hospitals have the lifesaving blood supplies they need to treat patients with injuries and injuries and for surgeries.  

 

The NJWBDC, co-sponsored by the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services and Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, is a public-private partnership of government, private employers and associations that joined forces in 2008 to increase workplace blood donation in the state.    

 

The Coalition works closely with the Blood Bank Task Force of New Jersey and the state’s eight blood centers to achieve the common goal of increasing New Jersey’s blood supply.

 

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