Community Engagement

Addressing blood shortage

Nearly 60 OUWB community members donate blood during student-led drive

Versiti September Blood Drive A

Robert Noiva, Ph.D., associate dean of Graduate Studies & Community Integration, was among the nearly 60 donors who gave blood during a recent drive led by two student organizations. (Photos by Andrew Dietderich)

icon of a calendarSept. 30, 2021

icon of a pencilBy Andrew Dietderich

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Dozens of people from the OUWB community recently stepped up to participate in a student-led drive to address blood shortages.

Nearly 60 donors took part in an all-day Versiti blood drive hosted by OUWB chapters of the American Medical Students’ Association (AMSA) and Doctors without Borders (DWB).

The event was held at Oakland University’s Oakland Center on Sept. 23.

Victoria Whiting, vice president of marketing for DWB, says it was all about the OUWB community being asked to step up and help with an urgent need.

“We know that Beaumont Hospital is experiencing a blood shortage so it’s super important to make sure that our students, faculty, and staff are aware of that and have a chance to donate,” she says.

Beaumont Health said in June that a severe shortage of blood across the country could have a significant impact on patient care, including surgeries, cancer treatment, chronic medical conditions and traumatic injuries.

Beaumont said the need for blood is critical because many surgeries were delayed during the COVID-19 pandemic, trauma cases have increased, and donations dropped during the earlier parts of the pandemic.

The organization urged people to participate in Versiti blood drives. Versiti is Beaumont’s exclusive provider of blood products.

Whiting says the response from the OUWB community to the call for blood speaks volumes.

“It speaks to the compassion we see amongst our classmates and faculty,” she says. “People are here because they care about Beaumont, they care about patients…they care about people they don’t know and that there’s a need and they’re willing to step up and meet that need.”

Versiti September Blood Drive B

Michael Marchiori, M2, was among the donors at the Versiti blood drive held Sept. 23, 2021.

Sarah Provencher, second-year medical student and president of AMSA, says she agrees.

“It speaks to our sense of community overall,” she says. “Everybody’s busy and has things going on, yet every available appointment we had was filled.”

Chandler Ray, M2, was among the donors.

“It’s always important to donate blood, but I felt like it was extra important now, especially since I’m able-bodied and capable,” he says. “It’s something that a lot of people should feel empowered to explore and reach out to others who have donated if they have any questions.”

Sara O’Mara, M1, was another donor.

“It’s important to give directly to Beaumont and generally support the patients and community,” she says. “Honestly, it takes about 40 minutes of your time.”

Provencher says the plan is to host additional blood drives to continue addressing the need for blood. Additionally, Beaumont says appointments for its drives can be made by calling 866-MI-BLOOD.

Ryan Ko, M2, donated on Sept. 23 and urged anyone who might be on the fence to step up.

“Especially in the intensive care units, having blood available is always really important,” he says. “Now is a better time than ever to get involved and donate.”

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