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Creative Partnership of DHSS and New Jersey Employers Launch Summer Campaign to Increase Blood Donation

June- August 2012


Health and business groups this week joined Health and Senior Services Commissioner Mary E. O’Dowd and Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp. Vice President Kevin Rigby in announcing a statewide campaign to call on more employers to host blood drives through Labor Day to help alleviate a blood shortage in the summer months.

"Blood donations always decrease in the summer as people go on vacation. The Department is asking employers to host blood drives to help alleviate the annual summer blood shortage and help save lives by participating in the campaign, called The Need for Blood Doesn’t Take a Vacation," said Commissioner O’Dowd.

"The reasons individuals most often give for not donating are that they are unaware of the need for blood, have never been asked or that it is inconvenient. Employers have a unique opportunity to increase awareness of the need and make it convenient for their employees to donate," Commissioner O’Dowd explained on a conference call with members of the New Jersey Workplace Blood Donor Coalition.

Businesses interested in helping to build the blood supply during the critical summer months can schedule their lifesaving drive with Community Blood Services by calling 201-444-3900 ext. 1433. Click here to learn more about how to organize a blood drive.

The Department and Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp. formed the Coalition in 2008 to increase New Jersey’s blood donation rate, which at approximately 3.6 percent is below the national average of 5 percent.

Four hundred packets of blood drive promotional materials went out to medium-to-large businesses and trade and professional associations on May 21st with a letter co-signed by Commissioner O’Dowd and Rigby. These materials are available on the Coalition’s website at www.njsave3lives.com.

"For companies, hosting blood drives is an easy and relatively inexpensive way that they can maintain their commitment to corporate citizenship during tough economic times," said Kevin Rigby, vice president and head of public affairs and communications at Novartis and co-chair of the Workplace Blood Donor Coalition.

Approximately 331,100 units of blood were transfused in New Jersey last year. New Jersey had to rely on 42,584 units imported from other states in order to meet the demand. A total of 111,000 units of blood were purchased from outside the state last year.

If New Jersey increased its blood donation rate to the national average of 5 percent, it would no longer need to import blood.

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