The Heart of America Association of Blood Banks is a nonprofit, professional organization dedicated to improving Transfusion Medicine by fostering the exchange of information and bringing education opportunities to blood bank and transfusion medicine professionals.  The HAABB hosts two annual meetings for the Kansas City & St Louis areas. 








Our History...


    The archives of the Heart of America Association of Blood Banks state that at a meeting of the Executive Committee on May 11, 1972, at Stouffer's Riverfront Inn, the bylaws and Articles of Incorporation of HAABB were ratified.  Those present were Sam Brushett, President; David Jacobs, MD; Bernice Koster; George Sabin, MD; and Frances Tuscany, MT(ASCP)SBB, Secretary.  Months of preparation preceded this occation.  On October 15, 1971, a checking account was opened at Commerce Bank of Kansas City, MO.  In April of 1972, $1117.61 was transferred from the Missouri Association and $402.82 from the Kansas Association of Blood Banks. At the business meeting later that day presided over by Mr. Brushett, it was stated that three meetings of the executive committee were scheduled before a quorum was obtained.  Morton Levy, MD, chaired the first annual meeting.  Dr Levy moved that a fixed amount of the HAABB treasury be allotted to the annual meeting and that a meeting account and budget be established.  Dues for the year were established at $3 for individual members.  Dr RO Muether was introduced as the 1972-73 president of the HAABB.


    The 1973 Annual meeting was held at the Ramada Inn in Columbia, MO.  By this time, the newly formed organization had been registered with the state of Missouri as a corportation.  Dr Dan Rosenstein announced that fourteen exhibitors and 118 registrants attended the meeting.  Already in 1973, there was concern over the location of the next annual meeting site.  Suggested sites were Springfield, MO, and Wichita, KS.  There was a motion to amend the bylaws to allow the selection of a meeting date that does not conflict with other meetings.  There were other recommendations from the board of directors, including publishing a newsletter, providing technical assistance to small hospital blood banks, and appointing local committees in various centers to provide informational programs. 

    Dr. Tom Towbridge was the third president of the association. There was concern that the growing treasury, now amounting to $1,570.88, may fall into the hands of the IRS unless some of it was expended for the benefit of the members. A reduced member registration rate was suggested.


    In 1974 the annual meeting moved to Wichita, Kansas, and was held at the Canterbury Inn.  The registration rate for non-members was $5 more than for members.  The assets of the organization continued to grow.


    Dr. Daniel Rosenstein presided over the 1975 meeting in Kansas City, at the Hotel Muehlebach.  At the annual business meeting, it was suggested by Irene Dorner that the association establish the Dr. RO Muether award for the best student paper on any aspect of blood banking.  Students in approved schools of laboratory science may submit a paper.  The paper would be read at the meeting and the award of $50 would be presented at a luncheon meeting of the Association.  The student's expenses for the meeting would be paid by the association.  There were to be judges who were not affiliated with the approved schools.  The judges for 1976 were Daniel Rosenstein, MD; Asa Barnes, MD; and Malcolm Beck, FIMCT, Chairman.  The motion was passed unanimously. 


    The tentative program for the 1976 meeting in St Louis slated two internationally known speakers from Norway and England and five nationally known speakers.  The projected budget for the meeting was $9,543.22, which included two overseas round-trip flights totaling $1,624.  Minutes from the annual meeting stated that there had been no call for papers sent out to teaching facilities in the area for the 1976 program but notification will be sent out by way of newsletter for the 1977 meeting.


    The annual meeting moved back to Kansas City in 1977, this time in Kansas City, Kansas, with Dr. Laurence Sherman presiding at the Glenwood Manor.  Dr. Rosenstein stated that the organization is now registered as a non-profit. 


    In 1978, the meeting of the association was opened by Malcolm Beck at the Lodge of the Four Seasons.  Guidelines for the student paper were outlined, including "that the paper be understandable, that is, with reference to a specific procedure, and that the individuals or institutions should not be mentioned in the paper."  Frances Tuscany, the first secretary of the organization, returned to the board of directors. 


    In 1979, the association sought status as a Section 501(c)(3) organization.  Steve Pierce was selected as the first editor of the newsletter.  William V Miller, MD, of St Louis led the organization. 


    In 1980, the annual meeting moved to Topeka.  Dr Hugh Moore presided at the Ramada Inn Convention Center.  An archived program stated it was the 13th annual meeting of the association.  The meeting lasted three days, May 8-10.  There was a drawing for door prizes and a western dance with music provided by "The Poverty Pickers".  The Muether Award Paper presented by Marge Unnerstall was titled Rabbit Antisera Produced Against Human T Cells with Fc Receptors Differential Lymphocytotoxisity.  P.O. Mollison, FRS, presented a seminar of The Destruction of Red Cells by Alloantibodies and Peter Issitt, FIMLS, spoke on New Antigens and Antibodies of the Rh System.  Eighteen companies were listed as exhibitors or contributors. 


    Richard O'Kell, MD gave welcoming remarks at the 1981 association meeting in Kansas City.  Seminar topics included Massive Transfusion in the Trauma Victim, Use of Plasma Exchange in the Treatment of Toxic Shock Syndrome, and The Use of Blood Tests in Disputed Paternity. The annual meeting was moved to the first weekend in June.


    A Workshop program was added in 1982 in Wichita, KS, and competency samples could be purchased for $40. Dr. George Garrity spoke on abbreviated compatibility testing.


    In 1983, Frances Tuscany made the meeting arrangements in St. Louis. Karen Thompson of Kansas City, former treasurer of the association, served on the bylaws revision committee and was slated as President-elect. The RO Muether award presentation was titled Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome and was presented by Cathy Davis of Wichita Wesley Medical Center. A seminar topic given by Paul Sohmer, MD was entitled Blood Substitutes.


    Fred Plapp, MD, and Frances Tuscany moderated the sessions of the 1984 annual meeting in Kansas City.  Topics turned to infectious diseases. The winning student paper was titled Mouse Monoclonal Antibodies Recognizing and I Antigenic Determinant and four speakers presented Volunteer Papers, including such topics as A Computer Learning Module.  Dr. Roman Hiszczynskyj spoke on The Effects of DRG's on Laboratory Medicine.


    Georgianna Deffner presided when the 1985 meeting in Wichita returned to the Canterbury Inn.  A full day of Transplantation seminars was presented.


    In 1986, the association had 213 individual members and 28 institutional members. The treasury stood at $7,946.62. The annual meeting was held at the St. Louis Airport Marriott and workshop topics were Cost Accounting, Coagulation Disorders, and The Future of Nursing in Blood Banking. Extensive records exist from 1986 as Frances Tuscany served the organization as President and Jill Hardman of Kansas City served as secretary.


    Application of The Immediate Spin Crossmatch, a novel idea for the times, was presented by Ira Schulman, MD of the University of Southern California Medical Center at the 1987 meeting held in Kansas City.  Mary Kowalski moderated the workshop Blood Banking without Tubes.


    A full day was devoted to the topic of AIDS at the 1988 meeting in St. Louis. Dr. Laurence Sherman, President Elect of the AABB, gave the opening remarks. Margot Kruskall, MD, of Boston addressed Who Should (and Who Should Not) Donate Autologous Blood, How Autologous Components Should be Stored and Transfused, and What the Future may Hold for this Increasingly Popular Product.


    In 1989, HAABB surveyed the membership on topics of interest for the meeting. The title for the 1989 program was Transfusion Practices for the '90s and was held in Kansas City at the Hyatt Regency Crown Center. Several speakers expounded on antibodies and their clinical significance. The meeting was reduced to a two-day meeting.


    The interest survey in 1990 listed Computers in the Blood Bank as the favorite topic for a workshop and new advances and changing technology as a forum topic, followed closely by case studies. The association followed through with a workshop on each topic and a Computer Exchange Breakfast before the Friday session. Leukocyte depletion, neonatal transfusion, factor replacement therapy and regulation were the topics of forums with speakers from the FDA, The Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and Harvard Medical School among others. The program stated educational objectives for those attending the general session. The bylaws were amended in 1990 to provide for a balance of officers from each state and limited terms of office.

    A management workshop was held at the 24th Annual Meeting at the Holiday Inn Convention Center in St. Louis. Speakers included Lucia Berte of Elmhurst, IL and Roslyn Yontovian, MD, of the Cleveland Clinic. Several diverse issues of interest to laboratory and transfusion service management included blood utilization review and the Clinical Laboratory Improve (sic) Act. A breakdown of meeting registration costs include:  Workshop member rate $45, non-member $70; Computer Exchange Breakfast $5, and General Session $50 for members and $75 for non-members. Student rate was $25.  Annual membership dues were $10.


    In 1992, a physician returned to the presidency of the HAABB, following several years of leadership by laboratory non-physician personnel. Dr. Dan Waxman of Kansas City presided over the 25th Annual meeting. Concurrent workshops were held for technical and management personnel. There was an Ask the Experts session with representatives from the FDA, AABB and Department of Health and Human Services. Questions were submitted in advance.


    Annual meetings were held in St. Louis in 1993 and 1995 at the Holiday Inn Westport. A diverse program in 1993 under the leadership of Patrick Lee, MT(ASCP)SBB, HAABB President was offered.  Good Manufacturing Practices, Stem Cell Enrichment and Current Trends in Blood Utilization Review were among the topics. In 1995, there was a round table on Experiences in Quality Implementation.


    1994 was the last year the Association moved out of Missouri for its annual meeting. Ruby Brower, MT(ASCP), Manhattan, KS, served as president and the annual meeting was held in Topeka. Jane Mackey, President of the AABB, and a resident Topekan, spoke about the national organization. Session topics included quality management and regulatory affairs.


    The Ethics of Stem Cell Harvesting was discussed at the 1996 meeting along with Umbilical Cord Cell Collection and The Current Status of Red Cell Substitutes. Local experts from the Kansas City blood banks and transfusion services comprised the faculty list that also included speakers from Texas, Ohio and Florida.


    1997 was the last year the association held an annual meeting in St. Louis. The 30th Annual Meeting was held at Marriott West and expert speakers on the AABB Quality Program and ISBT highlighted a program of mostly local presenters.


    For the next six years the HAABB has held its annual meeting in Kansas City. Speakers of national prominence have complemented local blood bankers and transfusion medicine specialists in providing a diverse and energizing program. Leadership in the organization is comprised mostly of laboratory management and technical personnel from the major metropolitan areas of Missouri and Kansas. Blood center support from ABC and ARC organizations have been strong and vendor support is instrumental in providing our educational program.

    In 2001, the bylaws were amended to allow for a second term of office for a President. That year, Karen Thompson from Kansas City was elected to her second term as president, her first term being in 1983.

    The organization, with the expertise of Vicki Schwickerath, developed a website, www.haabb.org in 2003.

    In 2004 topics from the Annual Meeting were presented again at a Fall Meeting in St. Louis. This was the first time a fall meeting was held.

    On April 7, 2005, the Board voted to amend the bylaws to include a group of members called emeritus members. Two members were nominated to become the first emeritus members of the HAABB at the annual meeting in Kansas City, June 10, 2005. Nominated were Mary Kowalski and Karen Thompson who both have given so much time and energy to the HAABB organization. Both Karen and Mary have served on the board numerous times as well as speaking at many of the meetings. Each one was presented with a plaque designating their status as emeritus members.

    In 2007, the Organization revived a practice of awarding a scholarship to a worthy medical technologist student who submitted a written paper of 2 to 5 pages on a topic relevant in today's blood banking field. The scholarship was originally $50 back in 1975, but the new award was set at $500 and included a free registration to the Annual Meeting to present the paper during the business meeting. The scholarship was awarded to Hillary Beck from St. Luke's Hospital in Kansas City for her paper titled "Pediatric Heart Transplantation and ABO Compatibility."

    The 2008 winner of the HAABB Student Scholarship was Ayesha Ahmed, a Clinical Laboratory Sciences student at the University of Kansas Medical Center.  Her winning paper was called:  "A Survey of Blood Donors:  Motives and Obstacles in Donating Blood."


    At the 2009 Annual Spring Meeting, the third emeritus member, Steve Pierce, was nominated and approved.  Steve has presented at many HAABB meetings in Kansas City and St Louis and has shared his interesting and vast knowledge of blood banking history with many.  He continues to contribute to the blood banking community on a regular basis.  Steve was recognized with a plaque designating his status as an emeritus member.  The 2009 winner of the HAABB Student Scholarship was Maureen O'Dowd, a Clinical Laboratory Sciences student from St Luke's Hospital in Kansas City.


    On September 15, 2010, our one day Fall meeting was held in Chesterfield, MO, at the Doubletree Hotel.  The meeting was well attended and nine vendors were represented.  Attendees participated in a “Getting to Know You” trivia game hosted by Beth Jones, HAABB president.  They were given the opportunity to answer unique blood bank trivia questions at various times throughout the meeting, and were awarded fun prizes.  Speakers included Steve Pierce, Dr. Daniel Smith, David Baker, Elaine Scott, Christina Barron, Jamie Houghton, Faith Nilhas, and Dr. Michael Creer.


    2011 brought about several exciting changes for the HAABB.  The executive board voted to award $500 to the CLS/CLT program of the winning scholarship paper.  This would be in addition to the $500 given to the student of the winning paper.  Six papers were submitted to the board, and the winning paper “TRALI vs. TACO” was awarded to Marlena Benware of the Saint Luke’s Hospital, KC, MO, CLS program.  Another change was that of our website.  Our webmaster, Gina Gramlich, with the help of board member Jennifer Jung, created a new and improved website which went live before our Spring meeting.  Finally, our HAABB logo needed a new look and the board voted on the outline of the United States with the HAABB acronym placed over the Kansas/Missouri area on the map.  The new logo was unveiled at our 2011 Spring meeting and placed on the program, letterhead, etc.


    The 2011 Spring meeting returned to the popular location of Harrah’s Convention Center in North Kansas City.  We were delighted to have eighteen vendors exhibit and participate in our ever popular reception and raffle.  Highlights of the meeting included a nationally known motivational speaker, Bobbe Sommer, enlightening the audience with “Handling Conflict with Optimism and Humor”, Alexis Harvey from the CDC presenting on Biovigilance, and Ann Steiner from Ortho giving a wonderful talk on Antibody Detection. Sickle Cell Anemia was a big theme with 2 cases studies being presented in addition to talks from representatives of the American Red Cross Charles Drew program and the Community Blood Center “Gift of Smiles” program.


    Beth Jones, 2010-2011 president, created a rolling powerpoint of the “History of the HAABB” that was played before the meeting for attendees to enjoy. The board recognizes the hard work it takes to put on quality educational programs and hopes to inspire area blood bankers, young and old, to support our organization by attending future meetings and/or getting involved.