Florida’s Blood Centers: Anne K. Chinoda, President & CEO

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Under the stewardship of President and Chief Executive Officer Anne K Chinoda, Florida’s Blood Centers has grown into the largest Florida blood bank and the sole supplier of blood and blood products to 70 healthcare facilities.

Since World War II Florida’s Blood Centers (FBC) has consistently provided safe and adequate blood supply.  But the growing blood bank has found itself in one of the most dynamic parts of the country, where demand is a close horse race with supply.

This non-profit organization provides more than 360,000 units of blood and blood products each year donated entirely by volunteers. But the job of recruiting donors and retaining current ones is demanding and depends on savvy marketing strategies once reserved for large corporations. FBC depends heavily on research that provides them with data about its donors, Chinoda says, “One of our key goals is to be strategically linked with public health.  We can supply our donors with valuable health information, because regular donors are given screenings. FBC also uses donor feedback to develop stronger marketing campaigns to retain and recruit.”

Chinoda believes that FBC’s role is to put the needs of the donor and the recipient before anything else. It is a value she has held for the past 20 years. “I think our key message is this that we are a service organization, a healthcare provider, manufacturing and distribution unit. But, we as human beings are at our best when we are servicing others. When we put the needs of other people before ours, great things happen. And people still want to know that,” Chinoda says.

FBC, the fourth largest independent blood bank in the nation, targets donor service programs which have helped ensure that the organization maintains an adequate supply. And advancements in technology have greatly improved donor services. “We hope that technology will help us better understand our donors so that we can improve our communication with them, educate them, and make them feel very good about donating,” says Chinoda.

Statistics from America’s Blood Centers in Washington, D. C. show that only five percent of us donate blood, and that 60 percent of us will need it during our lifetime. At least 1,500 donors per day are needed to fulfill the needs of patients that FBC serves. Chinoda adds, “I think our biggest challenge is going to be keeping up with the demand for blood. When I look at my colleagues who run hospitals, their biggest concern is meeting the demand for blood in a booming population”.

Five different blood products are derived from a single donation at Florida’s Blood Centers – white blood cells, red blood cells, platelets, plasma and a clotting factor – which are useful in treating a host of human conditions including cancer, anemia, hemophilia, burns, and trauma. In addition to supplying blood and blood products, FBC offers HLA tissue matching, bone-marrow donor registration.

FBC has partnered with hospitals in educating patients and their families about the importance of donating blood.  Just last year FBC opened another blood donation center in Florida Hospital in Orlando. “I would like to work towards offering our donors more wellness tests in collaboration with hospitals. And also, working with our donors and in collaboration with other hospitals on research projects l like diabetes and cardiovascular disease,” Chinoda says.

FBC has created collaborations not just with hospitals but also with colleges and universities. “Our partnership with universities is very important to ensure that we have that we cultivate a new generation of donors. FBC operates a ‘Blood Stewardship Program teaching students about donating blood, holding blood donation camps, making this a part of their academics,” Chinoda says. Volunteers with the organization work in close contact with universities to ensure that their future generations of donors never fall short. Two years ago FBC opened a center at Valencia Community College, a partnership that has proven so successful that the blood bank is planning on replicating the idea at other colleges and universities.

Chinoda has been committed to providing, as she says, “The right blood to the right person in the right place at the right time.”  She says that she lives by the values that she expects from her team. “A CEO sets the tone, the value system of an organization. To me, it’s all about setting an example. My most important contribution is that I do things with a certain integrity that my team can follow,” Chinoda says.

Chinoda says it’s important to stay in touch with her employees in order to gauge their needs and thoughts. While the basic framework of running the organization has remained the same, it has also become more individualized. “People still need to know that they are making a contribution that makes a difference. And since I have been here 20 years and have moved up through the ranks, I try to stay in the trenches close to my employees so that I can understand what they need,” she adds.

Chinoda says she wants to make sure that Florida’s Blood Centers works towards the greater good of the community with a focus on all aspects of public health. “While the vision of this organization for the future is to always ensure a safe and adequate blood supply, it is also important to be involved in a bigger part in public health, working towards emergency response, having the necessary infrastructure and redundancies to handle disasters,” she adds.

Recognized by her industry peers as a champion for accountability and transparency, Chinoda also serves on the board of the newly formed BioOrlando, a unified group geared toward accelerating the life sciences and biotechnology industry sector in Metro Orlando. She is also providing a temporary space for the worldrenowned Burnham Institute for Medical Research in her office complex. But taking Florida’s Blood Centers forward remains Chinoda’s priority. “Our biggest investment is going to be that we are migrating to a new main frame in blood banking. The software that we use is a huge investment – several million dollars – and we hope to set it up by 2009. It will help us apply lean manufacturing, look at our business flows, how the business process flows can be better implemented.  We hope that this will better position us in the coming decades.”

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