PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
September 25, 2012

Mary E. O'Dowd, M.P.H.
Commissioner

For Further Information Contact:
Office of Communications
(609) 984-7160

Summer Workplace Blood Drive Campaign Generates Increase in Blood Donations

 Nearly 450 More Blood Drives Occur Over Four-Month Period

The results of the 2012 Summer Workplace Blood Drive Campaign are in, and they are encouraging for New Jersey. During the four months from May through August 2012, New Jersey's eight blood centers reported nearly 450 more blood drives than last summer - an increase of 13.8 percent in the number of drives and an 11.2 percent increase in the number of units of blood collected over the same period in 2011.

To engage more New Jersey employers in hosting worksite blood drives during the summer months when people take vacations and blood donations decline, Health Commissioner Mary O'Dowd launched The Need for Blood Doesn't Take a Vacation initiative in May in collaboration with Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation and the New Jersey Workplace Blood Donor Coalition.

"By working together this summer, the Coalition and the blood centers carried out a successful campaign that will serve as the basis for future efforts to increase blood collection in New Jersey," said Commissioner O'Dowd.

"Hospitals need blood every day for patient care, yet often have less than a two-day supply on hand. When supplies are low, hospitals can be forced to cancel elective surgeries. Increasing New Jersey's blood supply ensures that our health care facilities will have access to the blood they need to provide care to New Jersey residents," the Commissioner added.

Coalition members promoted the need for workplace blood drives to thousands of New Jersey business leaders, mayors and other public officials through newsletters, newslines, publications, websites, direct mail, presentations and special events. More than 20 companies in South Jersey received training in how to conduct blood drives. Coalition members held a total of 22 workplace blood drives and raised public awareness of the need for blood through news articles and interviews. Graphics demonstrating the increase in workplace blood drives and units of blood collected are available at http://nj.gov/health/documents/workplace_blooddrive_results.pdf.

Addressing the coalition's fall meeting today, Commissioner O'Dowd joined with Coalition co-chair Kevin Rigby, vice president and head of public affairs and communications for Novartis, to congratulate the members on a successful campaign and encourage them to keep up the momentum.

"What's unique about this campaign is we have tracked our success so participants know they've made a difference. We can use this data as a baseline for future campaigns,"

Commissioner O'Dowd told the participants.  "It is important that we keep up the momentum that you built this summer."

 Members of the Coalition represent Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, the Blood Bank Task Force of NJ, the NJ Department of Health, NJ Chamber of Commerce, Chamber of Commerce of Southern NJ, HealthCare Institute of NJ, the NJ Association of Realtors, NJ Business & Industry Association, NJ Food Council, NJ Hospital Association, NJ Society of Environmental and Economic Development, the NJ State AFL-CIO, NJ State League of Municipalities, Rutgers University and Virtua Health.

 For more information about blood donation in New Jersey, visit www.njsave3lives.com and click on the calendar of events to find upcoming blood drives in your county.