Donating Blood

THE IMPORTANCE OF DIVERSITY AMONG BLOOD DONORS : UNIQUE BLOOD TYPES

Patients with Sickle Cell Disease are routinely transfused. It is critical that matching blood is found and used for these patients. This blood would most likely come from other African Americans and Hispanics.

Each of us has a “unique blood type” that we inherited from our parents just like our skin color, hair color and eye color. Imagine the number of possibilities! We live in the most racially and ethnically diverse area of the country and our patient population reflects this diversity. This is why it is sometimes very difficult to find a “rare type” for our patients.

There is a critical and growing need for African American and Hispanic Blood Donors in the United States.

  • African-Americans account for 7.3% of nationwide blood donations but 1 in 500 African Americans are born with Sickle Cell disease.
  • Hispanics account for 4.4% of blood donations but 1 in 1000 Latinos are born with Sickle Cell Disease.
  • Increasing the number of African-American and Hispanic blood donors is critical to the overall stability of our blood supply and our ability to treat patients with Sickle Cell Disease.
  • 20% of African Americans have type B blood vs. 11% of Caucasians – if African Americans are not donating, the blood supply may not contain enough type B blood to meet African American patients’ needs Certain blood types (U-negative, Duffy-negative, Js(b)-negative) occur only in African American individuals. Patients with these blood types can only receive blood transfusions from blood donated by compatible African American donors.
  • Type O blood is more common among non-Caucasians. Individuals with type O blood are referred to as “universal donors”. O negative blood can be transfused in emergencies to patients before there is time to identify the patient’s blood type. It can also be transfused to newborn babies.
  • Type O blood is more common among non-Caucasians. Individuals with type O blood are referred to as “universal donors”. O negative blood can be transfused in emergencies to patients before there is time to identify the patient’s blood type. It can also be transfused to newborn babies.
  • Blood donations from African American and Hispanic donors can treat a broader cross-section of the patient population than blood from Caucasians.
  • Sickle Cell Disease also affects people from the Caribbean, Middle East, India and the Mediterranean
  • 3 in 10 of Mediterranean (Greek/Italian) Americans, 5 in 100 of Southeast Asian/ Middle Eastern and 3 in 100 of African/Hispanic Americans carry the gene for Thalassemia ( congenital disorder of formation of hemoglobin)
  • An estimated 1 in 100 Cancer patients can form antibodies to red cells after transfusion

ABOUT NEW YORK BLOOD CENTER

New York Blood Center (NYBC) is one of the nation’s largest non-profit, community-based blood centers. NYBC has been providing blood, transfusion products and services to the 22 million people of greater New York since 1964. NYBC is also home to the Lindsley F. Kimball Research Institute and the National Cord Blood Program at the Howard P. Milstein National Cord Blood Center, the world’s largest public cord blood bank. NYBC provides medical services and programs (Clinical, Transfusion, and Hemophilia Services) through our medical professionals and transfusion medicine physicians.

NYBC serves one of the most diverse ranges of communities in the nation, making it imperative that we not only maintain an ample blood supply, but also collect blood that closely mirrors the diversity of the communities we serve.

The goal of New York Blood Center’s PreciseMatch® Program is to ensure diverse communities have access to the most precisely matched blood products whenever patients need them. PreciseMatch® addresses the dual challenges of improving the number of donors in minority communities and identifying more donors with blood compatible with the needs of chronically transfused patients through (1) community education and (2) more effective use of blood donations through testing efficiencies and new methods of identifying blood units lacking specific antigens needed by the chronically transfused. For more information on the New York Blood Center click here.

NYBC

ABOUT ROBERT WOOD JOHNSON UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL BLOOD SERVICES

RWJUH Blood Services mission is to support the transfusion needs and treatment of patients that are admitted to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, The Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, The Bristol-Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital at RWJUH and other affiliated institutions. RWJUH has one of the most diverse patient populations in our state. Last year over 17 thousand units of red blood cells were transfused. We are the only hospital in Central New Jersey that provides Therapeutic Red Blood Cell exchanges to the majority of the sickle cell population within the state. At RWJUH we routinely test for the absence of antigens in the blood. RWJUH Blood Services recruits and maintains a multi-cultural donor base that can be called on to support our patients “unique” transfusion needs! For additional information on Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, click here.

RWJ