On Thursday, May 4, 13 students from Irvington High School and their chemistry teacher, Huy Pham, visited Stanford Blood Center (SBC) for an opportunity to get an in-depth look at the world of blood banking. This was not your typical tour of the blood center, however, as Huy Pham is the brother of our very own Dr. Tho Pham! Irvington is also one of our blood drive partners, hosting two drives per year with us on their Fremont school campus.
Over dinner at their mom’s house, the brothers thought it would be fun if they could collaborate given their respective professions, and came up with the idea for students to have a field trip to the blood center. The students who are interested would get a behind-the-scenes look of the blood center operations, and learn how their donations are processed and used in different clinical settings. SBC would be able to further engage our community and a younger generation of blood donors.
For Field Recruitment, this brought an opportunity forward that we’d been wanting to do for some time; invite our high school blood drives partners to SBC to educate them about the importance of blood donation, especially among young people. After Dr. Tsang gave an introduction to blood types and compatibility, 4 students donated whole blood, while the others observed the phlebotomy process. Afterwards the students received an overview of our donor recruitment efforts and learned about how we go about recruiting and collecting over 100 units of whole blood, 6 days a week. Lunch was then served, and Dr. Tsang joined us again for an informative discussion about the manufacturing and testing of blood. The students were engaged and had lots of questions. A tour of the Components Laboratory followed, and the students got to see the blood from their earlier donation be processed.
We hope to create a formalized process from this event, and offer it to all high schools we partner with. The more our student Blood Drive Coordinators are engaged in what we do, the stronger ability they will have to recruit their fellow students and educate them about the donation experience.
If you would like to inquire about scheduling your own blood center group tour, please contact Vsomer@stanford.edu or call 650-725-2540. To help by donating blood, please make an appointment at sbcdonor.org or by calling 888-723-7831.