The Impact on the Blood Supply of the Historic Mistrust of the Medical Establishment Among the African American Community

Please note: AABB reserves the right to make updates to this program.

Live Program Date: Tuesday, September 22, 2020 - On-Demand Available

Master Program Number: 20EL-577


This eCast is provided complimentary to AABB members; nonmembers to pay regular eCast fees. Registration is required. After registering, immediate access is granted via the AABB Education Platform (after logging in using your AABB username and password, simply click on “My Learning Programs” and then “On-Demand eCasts”). Please note: if you registered for the live eCast you do not need to register for this on-demand eCast (access to the on-demand eCast was included with the live eCast registration). If you would like to receive this program for free as well as other great benefits consider joining AABB today.

Educational Track: Quality Education
Topic: Transfusion Medicine
Intended Audience: CEOs, CFOs, Directors, Donor Recruitment Staff, Hospitals, Hospital Blood Banks, HR Personnel, Laboratory Staff, Managers/Supervisors, Medical Directors, Nurses, Physicians, Research Scientists, Residents/Fellows, Scientists, Students (MD, MT, SBB), Technologists, Transfusion Safety Officers
Teaching Level: Basic to Intermediate

Moderator: Yvette M. Miller, MD, American Red Cross
Speakers: Yvette M. Miller, MD, American Red Cross; Kim Smith-Whitley, MD, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia; Wayne A. I. Frederick, MD, MBA, F.A.C.S., President, Howard University; Carla Williams, PhD, Howard University

Learning Objectives

After participating in this educational activity, participants should be able to:

  • Discuss the generational issues of mistrust of the medical establishment among African Americans.
  • Describe the importance of African American blood donors to support Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) patients, and the compounded impact to the blood supply due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Discuss the unique challenges of treating children who live with SCD from a transfusion and blood supply perspective.
  • Identify blood donation engagement strategies for various communities.

Program Description

Historical events and perceptions have fostered mistrust of the medical community among African Americans, which extends to blood donation. African American blood donation rates have been 25-50% lower than that of the white individuals over the last decade. Although this issue has been repeatedly identified, efforts to address the underlying causes of this disparity have not been examined holistically.

Sickle cell disease (SCD) continues to disproportionally impact the African American community occurring in about 1 out of every 365 births (1 in 13 African American babies are born with the sickle cell trait). Although the transfusion needs of patients with sickle cell disease can be met by blood donors of any ethnicity, the best blood product match is from a phenotype-matched donor of the same ethnic group. When there is increased inventory of blood from African American donors, there is a greater likelihood that a phenotype match will be found. Tackling this important issue requires education and guidance to blood collectors to assist them with developing culturally appropriate and compelling community engagement, recruiting, educational materials and an understanding of the need to reach people where they live.

This town hall eCast agenda covered:

  • Dr. Yvette Miller, American Red Cross
    Opening Overview

  • Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick, President, Howard University
    Unique perspective of an individual living with SCD.

  • Dr. Kim Smith-Whitley, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
    Unique challenges of treating children who live with SCD from a transfusion and blood supply perspective.

  • Q&A with Drs. Frederick and Smith-Whitley

  • Dr. Carla Williams, Howard University
    Discuss identifying engagement strategies for various communities.

  • Q&A

Continuing Education Credit

AABB designates both the live and on-demand version of this eCast each eligible for 1 continuing education credits/contact hours for Physicians, California Nurse, California Lab Personnel, Florida Lab Personnel and General Participation credit. The number and credit types awarded for this program (both live and on-demand) was determined by the program duration. For more information on each credit type please visit our Continuing Education Credits webpage.

Disclosures for the program faculty are provided at the beginning of the program.

Speaker Biographies

Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick was appointed the seventeenth president of Howard University in 2014. He previously served as Provost and Chief Academic Officer. Most recently, the Howard University Board of Trustees selected Dr. Frederick to serve as the distinguished Charles R. Drew Endowed Chair of Surgery. A distinguished scholar and administrator, Dr. Frederick has advanced Howard University's commitment to student opportunity, academic innovation, public service, and fiscal stability. Early in his tenure as president, Dr. Frederick pursued initiatives to streamline and strengthen university operations. He has overseen a series of reform efforts, including the expansion of academic offerings, establishing innovative programs to support student success and the modernization of university facilities. Dr. Frederick has received various awards honoring his scholarship and service. In April 2020, Dr. Frederick was chosen as the first-ever recipient of the Educator Award by the Lowell F. Hawthorne Foundation, Inc. Dr. Frederick was honored with the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center for his contributions to the medical field. In January 2017, the Federal Reserve System Board of Governors elected Dr. Frederick to the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. He was presented with the Diaspora Public Diplomacy Leadership Award by the Embassy of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago for his contributions to strengthening Trinidad and Tobago-United States bilateral relations through excellence in global educational leadership. In 2015, Dr. Frederick was also recognized by the then president of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago for his appointment as President of Howard University. Most recently, Dr. Frederick was appointed to the Board of Directors of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Humana Inc. Dr. Frederick is a member of surgical and medical associations, including the American Surgical Association and the American College of Surgeons. Read Dr. Frederick’s complete bio.

Dr. Yvette M. Miller Dr. Yvette Marie Miller is currently the Executive Medical Officer for the Donor and Client Support Center (DCSC) in Charlotte, NC.  She has been with Red Cross over 24yrs, serving in various leadership capacities including regional Medical Director and Director of Apheresis Donor Collections and Clinical Services for the Arizona Region. As the Executive Medical Officer for the DCSC she oversees donor eligibility, product management and donor management.  Dr. Miller is a member of the AABB Donor History Task Force. She has training in leading critical conversations about structural racism, diversity, equity and inclusion and community resilience development.  Dr. Miller’s other areas of interest include donor recruitment and education in the African American community and underrepresented communities, equitable access to healthcare in underserved communities and use of integrative medicine modalities in community health and wellness and for self-care.

Dr. Kim Smith-Whitley Dr. Kim Smith-Whitley is Director of the Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center, Clinical Director of the Division of Hematology, and a professor of Pediatrics. She holds the Elias Schwartz, MD, Endowed Chair in Hematology. Her clinical and research focus is on sickle cell survivorship: predicting and preventing long-term, chronic, and life-threatening complications of the disease. She initiated two innovative programs at CHOP: A short-stay Hematology Acute Care Unit; and, the Blue Tie Tag program to recruit blood donors for pediatric transfusions. She received the 2010 Blockley-Osler Award for excellence in teaching clinical medicine at the bedside.

Dr. Carla Williams Dr. Carla Williams background is in clinical psychology with an emphasis on health-related behaviors. She has experience in community-based participatory research with a focus on building capacity within community organizations to collaborate with health scientists to implement health interventions in community settings. Dr. Williams directs several institutional resources that focus on engaging communities in research. Under her direction, the Community Outreach Core of the Howard University Cancer Center facilitates community partnerships focused on reducing cancer disparities. For the Georgetown-Howard Universities Center for Clinical and Translational Research, she co-lead the Community Engagement Program which seeks to develop research collaborations between investigators in the academic health centers, community-based clinicians, and community-based organizations. The Community Engagement program also works to engage diverse populations in research. Within the NIMHD-funded Center of Excellence for Health Disparities, Dr. Williams lead the Community Engagement Core which aims to build capacity for community-academic research partnerships and enhance bi-directional communication between communities and academia. She has 20 years of progressively responsible experience in research that seeks to engage hard to reach groups. She is actively involved in local cancer policy and advocacy activities including being a member of the planning team for the DC Cancer Action Plan and serving as past chair and ongoing member of the DC Tobacco Free Coalition. In these roles, Dr. Williams works with community health advocates to promote individual adoption of healthy lifestyle behaviors as well as work to support population-level change in the environment, health policies, and health systems. All of her work is focused on populations that experience health disparities.