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A Historic Shift Toward Inclusion: An Epidemiologist on the Future of Blood Donation
September 21 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm$25 Ally Price: FREE
In the 1980s a new and unknown disease began rampaging through the United States. It spread most notably among men who had sex with men, but also through communities with specific geographic ties, leaving devastation in its wake. As doctors and scientists learned more about AIDS, they realized that it could be transmitted via blood transfusions and enacted policies that categorically prohibited members of “high-risk” groups from donating blood.
Despite a transformed landscape over the last half century, those policies remained in place with little change — until earlier this year.
As an epidemiologist and executive scientific officer, Dr. Lauren Crowder has been highly involved with the American Red Cross’s decades-long efforts to advocate for changes to the way the FDA qualifies blood donors. In line with the best scientific evidence, the Red Cross — the nation’s largest blood organization — and others understood that blanket, time-based deferrals of donors were both unnecessary and inequitable. In August of this year, the Red Cross became the first organization in the U.S. to implement pivotal new donor eligibility guidelines.
In “A Historic Shift Toward Inclusion” Dr. Crowder is joined by the Hidden Compass co-founders in a timely discussion of the FDA-funded ADVANCE study that precipitated one of the most significant changes to blood donation in U.S. history. They’ll discuss the historical context of this shift, its implications for Americans, and where we go from here.
Dr. Lauren Crowder is a distinguished scientific leader with more than 15 years of research experience across bench science and public health policy. Her academic journey includes a PhD in Translational Health Science from The George Washington University, where her research focused on decision-making processes within the US blood system. Holding a Master of Public Health from the University of Pittsburgh and a Bachelor of Science from Salisbury University, Dr. Crowder has contributed her expertise to the Red Cross for more than 8 years, previously as a full-time Epidemiologist in Scientific Affairs and currently as an Executive Scientific Officer. Presently, she holds the position of Associate Director of Implementation Science at a global biopharmaceutical solutions organization and also as adjunct faculty at GWU.
Within the Red Cross, her research priorities encompass enhancing the health and safety of blood donors and improving donor deferral policies. Her significant body of work includes over 30 peer-reviewed publications, three book chapters, and active participation in conferences through posters, oral abstracts, and invited educational sessions in regional, national, and international platforms.