Gregg Boothe, associate director and chief operating officer of Hoxworth Blood Center, has been involved in the medical field since 1984, first as a graduate of the University of Cincinnati Medical Technology program and continuing with earning his master’s of science degree in transfusion medicine from the UC College of Medicine in 1991. Below, he talks a bit more about his experience in the blood banking world and why Hoxworth is so important for not just blood supply but also for research purposes.
What is your background?
"I have a somewhat diverse work experience in my more than 27 years of blood banking.My career began by working at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Dayton, Ohio, as a medical technologist in the transfusion service and continued for two years as an educator and researcher with the University of North Carolina Hospitals, Chapel Hill, North Carolina. My research efforts at UNC focused on evaluating test systems for the detection of bacterial contamination in platelet products. This was one of many research efforts that contributed to test development and eventually led to this testing being required as a quality control test before platelets are released for transfusion to patients.
"That experience and my association for the last 19 years with Hoxworth Blood Center have made me understand the importance of supporting research efforts so that in the long run the benefits of research are able to make patients safer and healthier. I have been fortunate enough to be associated with many of the leaders in our industry through my work at Hoxworth, including those in research, and that association continues to this day with our current research division director (Jose Cancelas).”
What is your role within Hoxworth? What do your duties entail?
"As associate director, my duties are to facilitate the operational needs of the 21 separate departments that comprise Hoxworth Blood Center while balancing those needs against the services requested by our 31 hospital customers. We have been very successful in keeping our prices for products and services to some of the lowest in the country. Our challenge is to maintain that success and ensure that the quality of our efforts does not diminish and that the addition of new technology and innovation helps us increase operational efficiency and does not adversely impact quality or increase costs substantially.
"Part of that effort is being able to maintain a high-quality research program that is financially independent of our operations. We are fortunate to build on our past and have grown our reputation for research and innovation which has allowed our research division to receive the independent funding necessary to continue.”
Why is Hoxworth such an asset to the community?
"The mission of Hoxworth Blood Center is to enhance the well-being of patients in our service area by assuring a reliable and economical supply of the safest possible blood, by providing innovative hemotherapy services and promoting research with the focus of taking that research to clinical application. We also serve as an area resource of transfusion medicine expertise and education.
"There is no substitute for human blood available. It must collected from a donor who is gracious enough to share their time to save a life and then stored to have on hand before the need arises or the disaster occurs. Our ability to consistently supply our area hospitals provides assurance to the community that their health care needs will be met if the services require blood and blood products.
"In regard to research, Hoxworth has been and continues to be a major innovator and leader in developing and supporting innovative research and clinical therapies. Our research and clinical therapies are not only developed for use locally but nationally and internationally as well. The results of our efforts contribute to the base of knowledge that will eventually improve the lives and outcomes of those with serious disease.”