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July 2006 Issue

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Hoxworth Sees Influx of Minority Donors

Published July 2006

More minorities are rolling up their sleeves to donate blood in Cincinnati and give the "gift of life."

Hoxworth Blood Center recently reported that more than 4,000 minority donors came to the center or a community blood drive between April 2005 and March 2006, a 14 percent increase over the same time period a year ago.

This increase was reported as the result of a Minority Donor Recruitment Campaign that Hoxworth launched in April 2005.

Hoxworth saw the biggest jump in minority donors from high school students. There were 1,086 minority donors at high school blood drives between April 2005 and March 2006, a 35 percent increase over the same time period in 2004-05. Annually, over 100 high schools in 17 area counties host blood drives at their schools, combining for more than 10,000 individual donations.

Hoxworth attributes its campaign success to many factors, including:

  • Financial assistance from the Luther Charitable Foundation and the Dornette Foundation
  • A unified public relations and marketing campaign targeting minority donors
  • New media partnerships with MOJO 94.9, 1230 The Buzz and WCPO (Channel 9) to promote blood drives
  • Ongoing partnerships with the Cincinnati Bengals and National Underground Railroad Freedom Center to host blood drives
  • Increased opportunities for high school and college students to donate blood year round.

"In order to attract minority blood donors, more opportunities must be created to make donating easier," says Ronald Sacher, MD, Hoxworth Blood Center director. "We cannot expect the donors to come to us-we need to be where they live, work, shop and play."

More minority blood donors are needed, Sacher says, because there are patients in local hospitals that need a certain type of blood. For example, blood transfusions for sickle cell disease patients at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center are most effective if the transfused blood is from a donor with the same racial or ethnic background.

Since 98 percent of sickle cell patients are of African or Caribbean descent, blood from African-Americans or Latinos are the best matches.

Hoxworth plans to continue its recruitment campaign for 2006, starting with a series of blood drives at the Freedom Center in July and August. The next blood drive is July 14 from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis (left) with Hoxworth team leader Gene Boyd at the 2005 Bengals Blood Drive, a feature event of Hoxworth's Minority Donor Recruitment Campaign.

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