Grants Recently Awarded

Mountain States Health Alliance (January 2016)

Purpose: Implement an Evidence Based Education Program for Physicians to Reduce Unnecessary Blood Transfusions


The Mountain States Health Alliance seeks to reduce the number of transfusions provided to patients in five rural hospitals in the Appalachian region of southwest Virginia. These hospitals include Johnston Memorial, Smyth County Community, Norton Community, Dickenson Community and the Russell County Medical Center. This measurement will be achieved through the strict application of evidence-based guidelines, physician education, and the utilization of a monthly tracking dashboard that measures the compliance of practicing physicians.

Blood Center of Wisconsin, Inc. (January 2016)

Purpose: Clinical impact of functional polymorphisms of immune system markers on anti-A and anti-B mediated red cell hemolysis


Patient care can be advanced by delivering life-saving solutions grounded in unparalleled medical and scientific expertise. In order to identify the inherited risk of adverse transfusion reactions among transfusion recipients, blood centers across the nation struggle with addressing the incidence of transfusion reactions from minor ABO incompatible transfusions. The current approach also has far reaching implications in red cell incompatibility. Knowledge gained from this study will be used to explore other disorders complicated by immune-mediated hemolysis, and identify training and other educational opportunities.

Eastern Virginia Medical School (January 2016)

Purpose: Complement Hemolysis Using Human Erthrocytes (CHUE) assay: a new method to evaluate the risk for acute intravascular hemolytic transfusion reactions (AIHTR)


Current methods used to cross-match blood products and evaluate the risk for transfusion reactions are based on antibody-mediated agglutination assays. Unfortunately, these methods do not assess the risk of complement activation, which is the most robust inflammatory cascade in humans, and mediates acute intravascular hemolytic transfusion reactions (AIHTR). In order to directly measure complement-mediated hemolysis between donor and recipient blood components, research will be used to demonstrate the discriminatory superiority of CHUHE over traditional agglutination testing

Virginia Commonwealth University (January 2016)

Purpose: Attenuation of Red Blood Cell Storage Lesions with Vitamin C


Storage of Red Blood Cells is associated with oxidative stress leading to deleterious metabolic and biochemical changes (red cell storage lesions). Grant funding will support research for potentiometric measurements of redox potential. This information can be used to quickly assess the redox state of red blood cells and that addition of vitamin C restores redox status and functionality of stored red blood cells.

Carilion Medical Center (Jun 2015)

Purpose:  Determine the use of ROTEM in Managing Transfusion in Critically Ill or Injured Patients


Carilion will use the purchase of rotational elastography (ROTEM) technology to more accurately and safely guide physicians in meeting individual needs of patients requiring transfusion of blood products and will provide additional safety in the patient care environment related to transfusion of blood products. The goals associated with the implementation of the ROTEM equipment are: to decrease the use of blood products, improve patient safety related to minimizing transfusion of products, decrease the cost associated with preparing and administering blood products, decrease the waste of blood products, and increase efficiency in determining individual patient needs related to blood transfusions.

Virginia Commonwealth University (March 2015)

Purpose:  Creation of Virginia Inpatient Transfusion Database


There is currently no comprehensive data registry of transfusion medicine in Virginia. VCU will create a registry of all inpatient transfusion procedures performed in the Commonwealth over a five-year period, and a data visualization interface. This transfusion registry assist Virginia Blood Foundation by: informing needs and future funding decisions, assessing the impact of policies on practice, creating a new resource for scientific discovery, and a repository of facts to assist with discussions with providers and policy makers. Assessment of the VITD database by hospital and blood bank managers will assist in setting priorities for what data products are most useful and future utility of the database.

Carilion Medical Center (Mar 2015)

Purpose:  Assessment of Continuing Medical Education Intervention Designed to Change Physician Practice Regarding Blood Transfusion


Carilion Medical Center will assess the impact of a CME intervention designed to educate physicians concerning best-practices transfusion medicine. The research question to be addressed is: Can a multifaceted CME-based educational program impact physician transfusion practices in an academic Level One trauma center, so that the percentage of inappropriate transfusions is decreased significantly? This two-year project will involve the design, implementation and evaluation of a new multifaceted CME intervention to teach physicians from various disciplines/specialty groups an evidence-based (EBM) approach for transfusion practice. The overall goal of this project will be to assess the impact of a targeted CME intervention designed to reduce unnecessary orders for blood transfusions. However, the ultimate goal of the intervention is to benefit patients by ensuring that best practices transfusion medicine occurs, and that only patients who truly need blood products receive them.


VCU Health System (March 2015)

Purpose:  Research Vitamin C as A Novel Additive for Preservation of Platelets


VCU is studying the usefulness of Vitamin C as a safe, effective and economical additive for storage of platelet concentrates to be used for transfusion. Currently, the daily supply of platelets is inadequate to meet the growing needs of an increasingly complex population of patients. The number of patients with solid organ and hematologic malignancies continues to grow along with the use of solid organ and stem cell transplant to treat these malignancies and other diseases. This places an enormous burden on the request for platelet transfusion in which the donor centers and blood suppliers have difficulty meeting this demand. This high demand for platelet concentrates is compounded by the fact that the shelf life of this product is only 5 days. Functionality of stored platelet concentrates (PLTs) is limited due to oxidative stress. Oxidative stress in stored platelet concentrates negatively impacts platelet function by multiple mechanisms. VCU staff hypothesize that addition of buffered vitamin C (VitC) would restore metabolic/functional status of stored PLTs. The potential impact is the identification of a novel additive that improves storage duration of PLTs.

James Madison University (March 2015)

Purpose:  Profiling Transfusion Structure, Practices and Policies in Virginia Hospitals


Transfusion management is a critical component of hospital performance that impacts the quality, efficiency, and costs of patient care. There is no baseline information that addresses how hospitals are currently operating with respect to transfusion management to assure appropriateness, efficiency and safety. JMU will address this gap in knowledge by generating baseline information from Virginia hospitals. The baseline will compile information on structure and processes governing transfusion management using focus group and survey methodologies. Dissemination of project findings through professional organizations and venues will contribute to the understanding of health care providers and administrators involved in transfusion management.

Virginia Commonwealth University (March 2015)

Purpose:  Development of a Targeted Approach to Increasing the African American Blood Donor Pool


VCU will develop a culturally tailored intervention to appeal to and motivate African Americans to donate blood. Blood donations from African Americans are needed for sickle cell patients who rely on blood transfusions to lesson the severity of the disease. African Americans are largely underrepresented in the United States’ blood donor pool. Current recruitment methods have failed to attract and retain African Americans. The project goals are: 1) develop a culturally sensitive blood donor recruitment intervention, 2) motivate participants to share learned information, 3) motivate participants to become repeat donors, and 4) collect data to assess the efficacy of the intervention. The overall impact of the project is to establish an effective recruitment program that can be adopted by blood donor centers.


Winchester Medical Center Blood Bank (Sept 2014)

Purpose:     Purchase of Ortho Vision and Ortho Workstations


The purchase of the Ortho Vision will immensely improve technology both by the use of the instrument and through its software.  The Vision’s would be interfaced with the blood bank’s current LIS and with auto validation would mean faster results and more time to devote to problem patients.

The purchase of two Ortho workstations will greatly improve patient care by making processes more efficient, cost effective, and less labor intensive.

Richmond Chapter of the American Red Cross (Sept 2014)

Purpose:  In-kind donation of vehicle for use throughout service area


The in-kind donation of a 2013 Toyota Tundra, Crew Cab Pickup Truck will assist the Richmond Chapter of the American Red Cross with transporting supplies, equipment, and staff throughout the service area. The truck will also be used to assist wounded soldiers at Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center by moving large items needed to benefit the rehabilitation of these combat injured soldiers.  In the past the ARC has had to rent or recruit volunteer cargo vehicles to make these deliveries. The vehicle will also provide for the immediate provision for and recovery of disaster victims.  Hundreds of lives will be positively impacted by this vehicle each year, and it will be used to help prevent the loss of life due to natural disasters.

VCU Health System (Sept 2014)

Purpose:     Cryopreservation of Small Volume Red Cells


This project intends to evaluate the red cell recovery that would be accessible in the transfusion service after freezing in different temperatures that would be accessible in the transfusion service.

Many transfusion services do not have the means to obtain and maintain liquid nitrogen for storage of red cells. This means that often red cells needed to identify certain patient antibodies are not available.  Also, freezing rare cells can be beneficial in the future for complex antibody resolution in the transfusion services.

The successful completion of the project will serve the patient population in Central Virginia as well as patients seen at VA Department of Health clinics.


Virginia Commonwealth University Dept. of Clinical Laboratory Science (Sept 2014)

Purpose:     Advance Transfusion Medicine Technology in the CLS Student Laboratory


VCU’s Department of Clinical Laboratory Science will update the student laboratory in the department with equipment and supplies specific to blood banking procedures. The equipment list includes items for both VCU’s main campus in Richmond as well as items for the department’s Clinical Laboratory Science program opening in the fall of 2014 through the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center in Abingdon, VA.

The new equipment will allow for exposure to advanced technology and automation in the student laboratory sessions.  For students to become proficient in the discipline of transfusion medicine ,it is imperative that they have working knowledge and experience operating this equipment before entering clinical rotations and the workforce.

University of Virginia Blood Bank (Sept 2014)

Purpose:     Rotem Analyzers and COBE 2991 Cell Processor Funding


The purchase of the three Rotem Analyzers will allow the UVA Blood Bank to provide real-time coagulation levels, seven days a week, for patients undergoing open heart surgery; liver, heart and lung transplants; complex back surgeries; and trauma patients. Rotem will help facilitate a shift to the practice of evidence based transfusion medicine that will improve patient outcomes and reduce the length of hospital stays.

The COBE 2991 Cell Processor will be used in UVA’s neonate and pediatric heart transplant program. This processor will allow UVA to wash units of red cells needed to allow a type “0” infant to receive an A, B or AB heart transplant. UVA’s use of the COBE 2991 Cell Processor will allow infants with heart failure to spend less time on the transplant waiting list and therefore reduce mortality.  The ability to list type “O” infants for A, B, or AB hearts will increase the transplant rate and also reduce the number of donated hearts that must be discarded due to no compatible recipient.

Virginia Children’s Hospital Alliance (Sept 2014)

Purpose: Planning and Benchmarking


The goal of Virginia Children’s Hospital is to consolidate, expand, and improve the system of pediatric care for the Greater Richmond region and the Commonwealth of Virginia by building a freestanding children’s hospital.

A complex set of tasks needs to be evaluated and completed in order to ensure the development of this hospital. This project will focus on observing and harvesting the best practices of some of the best pediatric facilities in the country. The Virginia Children’s Hospital will evaluate transfusion protocols and best practices with a goal of establishing the best practices for the hospital.

The appropriate use of blood and blood products is an important element of not only medical clinical care but also research. Virginia Children’s Hospital’s benchmarking program will enable them to evaluate best practices for research and clinical trails using blood and establish a research plan for the hospital. All of the benchmark studies and visits that are undertaken will include transfusion medicine as a study component.