AABB, formerly named the American Association of Blood Banks, is the leading organization that represents communities for transfusion medicine and cellular therapy. A University of Minnesota Physicians pathologist, Claudia Cohn, MD, PhD, was recently named chief medical officer (CMO) for the organization. 

Dr. Cohn’s new role will be multi-faceted, but she is excited to begin. “My appointment to AABB’s CMO position is an incredible honor. I am thrilled to take on this work,” she said.

The CMO works to strategize and implement ways that achieve AABB’s mission through the development of policies and by engaging the communities it serves. The CMO disseminates clinical expertise on key topics to other AABB stakeholders, including the CEO, ensuring that AABB remains an industry thought leader.

There are many challenges that the blood and transfusion community faces, but safety remains a salient one. “Blood product safety is always a top priority, so monitoring for emerging infectious diseases is important,” Dr. Cohn said. 

Another prominent issue is blood and blood product shortage. “Shortages of blood components, especially platelets, are occurring more frequently.” The CMS (U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) reimbursement rate for blood is creating a highly competitive marketplace, according to Dr. Cohn, that could threaten the blood supply if blood collection centers have to close.

As representatives of the rapidly emerging cellular therapy community, AABB guides the translation and regulation of new therapies in the blood industry. AABB’s Center for Cellular Therapies is dedicated to cellular therapy professionals and institutions, fostering patient safety, responsible innovation and professional development in cellular therapies and regenerative medicine.