February 20, 2017

Tony Polk spent a long military career in blood banking, starting with blood supply programs in Vietnam and finishing with a 20-year plan to set up goals and resources through the year 2004.

Polk served as the Armed Services Blood Program director from 1984-91 and was the author of the Military Blood Program 2004 Implementation Plan, which led to the military blood program's inclusion in all top-level contingency plans and wartime training for all program personnel. He also coordinated and implemented the world's largest frozen blood program, adding frozen blood product depots around the world, on land and ships.

He was involved in the development of titles and job roles for of blood bank officers throughout the military blood banking system, and he was credited with the standardization of distribution systems for blood and blood products throughout the military.

February 13, 2017

Jerome Holland was a man who always seemed to be a pioneer. From becoming the first African-American to play football at Cornell University to boosting the growth of modern blood research, he was known throughout his life as a leader.

He served as the president of Delaware State College from 1953-59 and Hampton Institute from 1960-70. He left academia to serve as the U.S. Ambassador to Sweden, just the second African American to lead a delegation in a European nation.

He also was on the American Red Cross board of directors from 1964-70, and in 1977 he returned to the board, becoming its first African-American chairman in 1979. He was a tireless advocate for blood research at the ARC, consolidating its biomedical research into a single facility that today is known as the Jerome H. Holland Laboratory for the Biomedical Sciences, in Rockville, Maryland.

February 6, 2017

Dr. Charles Drew is referred to as the father of the blood bank, thanks to his work during the early stages of World War II.

Drew, at the time already a physician, became the first African-American to receive a doctorate from Columbia University in 1940. His thesis, “Banked Blood,” was based on his research into the long-term storage of plasma.

Almost immediately, he was asked to be part of the “Blood for Britain” program, in which he helped establish systems to collect, test and transport large quantities of blood plasma to the United Kingdom. He program was credited with collecting an estimated 15,000 donations in a five-month period.

In 1941, he led the development of the American Red Cross blood bank for U.S. military personnel, but he resigned after a short time because the military’s request to segregate blood donated by African-Americans.

January 30, 2017

Every time you visit the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center to make a blood donation, your blood is checked for iron. If it’s below a certain level, we’ll ask you to come back and donate later.

Learn more about the donation process.

Having low levels of iron in your blood is known as anemia, and new research has shown a possible link between that iron-deficiency anemia and hearing loss.

The study conducted at Pennsylvania State University's College of Medicine looked at 300,000 adults aged 21 to 90 and found hearing loss in 1.6 percent of the group – but 3.4 percent among those with iron-deficiency anemia.

January 23, 2017

Umbilical cord blood transplants may become even more effective in the near future, following a study by a team at the University of Rochester.

Dr. Omar Aljitawi of the university’s Wilmot Cancer Institute discovered the critical role of a hormone called erythropoietin (EPO) in umbilical cord blood transplants. He found that lowering EPO levels in patients assists a process called “homing,” in which newly transplanted blood stem cells migrate into the bone marrow of the patient and help restore the body’s ability to make healthy blood cells.