Fact of the Week for Black History Month
Central Alabama Team,
Countless individuals owe their lives to Charles Richard Drew (1904-1950), the physician responsible for America’s first major blood banks.
Drew attended McGill University Faculty of Medicine in Montreal, where he specialized in surgery. During a post-graduate internship and residency, the young doctor studied transfusion medicine, and, later, while studying at Columbia University, he refined key methods of collecting, processing, and storing plasma.
In 1940, World War II was in full swing in Europe, and Drew was put in charge of a project called "Blood for Britain."
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He helped collect thousands of pints of plasma from New York hospitals and shipped them overseas to treat European soldiers. Drew is also responsible for introducing the use of “bloodmobiles”— refrigerated trucks that service as collection centers and transport blood.
The following year, Drew developed another blood bank for military personnel under the American Red Cross — an effort that grew into the American Red Cross Blood Donor Service. Eventually, he resigned in protest after he learned that the military separated blood donations according to race.
Drew spent the remainder of his life working as a surgeon and a professor, and, in 1943, he became the first African-American doctor to be chosen as an examiner for the American Board of Surgery.
I encourage you to further research the story of Dr. Drew for yourselves, and be on the lookout for more facts in the coming weeks.
Stay safe and stay healthy!
Charlie L. Boyd, MBA, PMP
President, PMICAC 2022