WELCOME TO THE HAABB!

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. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Us

Charles McDonald (President)

Charles McDonald is a Clinical Terminologist at Cerner Corporation as a part of the Discern DAAKOS team. He has been a Medical Technologist for over a decade and a half, spending most of his career as a “blood banker” and continues to work in the hospital clinical laboratory while being involved with the Cerner Discern team. Charles has an advanced understanding of standard terminologies, mapping and data standardization. He has a desire to leverage Health Information Technology (HIT) in establishing best practice, clinical quality data capture and health information exchange.

 

Charles is an active member of the Heart of America Association of Blood Banks (HAABB). He currently serves as President –Elect. Charles is also an active member of the Clinical Laboratory Management Association, where he sits on the Board of Directors as Secretary for the Kansas City Chapter. He also works with Heart to Heart International as a volunteer consultant for the Sojourner Student Run Clinic at 9th and Grand in Kansas City, MO.

 

Charles’ goal is to continue to work to promote growth of our profession within the chapter, in the local community, nationally, and internationally, by fostering education and networking opportunities.  “It has been an honor to work as a Board member of HAABB, and it is a privilege to continue to serve the membership.”


Faith Nilhas (President-Elect)

Faith currently works at Lawrence Memorial Hospital and has been in the field of laboratory medicine for 37 years.  About 17 of those years have been as a blood bank supervisor.  Faith loves to talk about her profession and educate others of the behind the scenes work we do in the laboratory.  This is often to the dismay of her children, Amy, Blake, and Morgan, who don't appreciate her graphic talks at the dinner table. 



 
Spending time with her four beautiful grandchildren, Brenna, Braden, Ryann, and Kali, as well as traveling to new destinations occupies her time away from the lab.  Two of her favorite trips recently were to Italy and Alaska and she will soon be visiting London and Paris.  Zumba helps keep her active and relieve the stress that can come during those difficult blood bank workups.

Lynsi Rahorst (Past-President)

Lynsi Rahorst holds a Bachelor’s degree in Medical Technology from Northwest Missouri State University and completed her clinical rotations at Saint Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City.  She began her career as a blood banker at the University of Kansas Hospital, and currently works in the Immunohematology Reference Lab at Community Blood Center of Kansas City.   She completed a Masters degree in Health Professions Education at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.   Her current position as Education Coordinator at Community Blood Center allows her to combine her passion for teaching and education with the knowledge and experience she has acquired in the field of blood banking.   One of her professional goals is to improve the safety of blood transfusions in the developing world through education.

Miche Swofford (Vice President)

Miche Swofford is currently working at Saint Luke’s Hospital in the transfusion service department and has been there since 2010.  She really enjoys what she does and gets to help save several lives every day!  Saint Luke's is also a teaching hospital and she feels it is a great privilege and honor to teach the next generation of laboratory professionals!


Diana Moroney (Treasurer)

Diana Moroney graduated from Northeast Missouri State University (or Truman as the youngsters call it) and the Iowa Methodist Clinical Lab Science program many decades ago. She then started her career with the American Red Cross and never left. Along the way she worked at various hospitals and on various shifts including one crazy weekend shift working 2 16 hour shifts at a time with 8 hours off in-between! She eventually came to her senses (debatable) and moved into a management position supervising and then managing labs before she made the switch to the other side of the blood bank. Somewhere in there she also managed to go back to school and get her MBA with a Healthcare emphasis. She moved to Saint Louis to take on the position of Manufacturing Director overseeing four departments assuming her husband would soon retire and follow her. 5 years later (and many, many highway miles) he did eventually retire and join her and Maggie (the Puggle) in St. Louis. She currently calls St. Peters home with her husband, Maggie and Zoey, the Puggles, Boomer, the fox and Tom and Jerry the squirrels.

Gina Gramlich (Secretary)

Gina is a Clinical Laboratory Scientist (ASCP) with extensive experience in areas of Transfusion Medicine and Special Coagulation (factor assays, inhibitors, lupus).  She currently oversees transfusion service for 150 bed hospital in mid-Missouri as Blood Bank Lead Technologist/Supervisor (12 years - ongoing).  Services include emergency and massive transfusion, oncology services, sickle cell and therapeutic apheresis, as well as complete antibody identification and product procurement.  Responsible for maintaining all regulatory compliance, new processes and equipment evaluation and validation, and staff competency/training.  She is also the Mediware HCLL Product Specialist and perform any blood bank test/table changes to the system as well as perform all upgrade validations.  EPIC Beaker LIS "Super Users" responsible for assisting with upgrade validations and assisting/mentoring staff during upgrade implementation.

 
Her past experience includes:

 HLA/Transplant laboratory (1 yr) performing donor and recipient testing prior to solid organ transplant for the University of Missouri Columbia/employed by American Red Cross.  Also selected HLA matched Platelet Products.

Coagulation Laboratory Supervisor for University of Missouri Columbia/Employed by American Red Cross (4 years)- manage department with 10 employees.  Test menu including extensive special coagulation testing: Protein C, S, factor assays and inhibitor assay, VWD workup, platelet aggregation, and APCR.

Memorial Hospital Jefferson City, MO (2 years) - Blood Bank Lead Technologist for 50 bed hospital.

Blood Bank Lead Technologist/ Staff Technologist for University of Missouri Columbia/Employed by American Red Cross (9yrs) - performed all testing for 350 + bed full service hospital and Class 1 Trauma Center.  As Lead Technologist, supervised laboratory assistants and assisted Blood Bank Supervisor with duties as assigned (procedures/training/billing).

She previously served 4 years as a General Board Member for HAABB and was responsible for the upkeep and redesign of the organization’s website.


Michele Burgin (Member at Large)

Michelle Burgin received her certification as a MLT from Michigan Paraprofessional Training Institute from Romulus Michigan in 1986.  She was a certified MLT through AMT for about 3 years after which she was eligible to test for her MT certification.  In January of 1991 she decided to return to school to work towards her bachelor's degree.  She received her Bachelor's degree in Biology with a minor in Chemistry from University of Central Missouri in Warrenburg, Missouri in May 1997.  She has worked at Bothwell Regional Health Center since December 1986 except for 3 years from May 1997 - July 200 where she worked at Capital Region Medical Center.  She returned to Bothwell in July of 2000.  She took the Specialist in Blood Banking (SBB) course through the Gulf Coast School of Blood Bank Technology sponsored by Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center in Houston, Texas in 2008.  She has been certified as a SBB since August of 2009.  She has served on the board of HAABB since 2010 holding various positions including Secretary, Member-at-Large, Vice President, and President.   

Dr. Gagan Mathur

(Member at Large)

Dr. Gagen Mathur is currently the Clinical Pathologist, Transfusion Medicine/Blood Banking for Saint Luke's Health System in Kansas City, MO.  View Dr. Mathur's CV here.  

Ryan Pyles (Member at Large)

Ryan Pyles graduated from Forest Park Community College in 2012 with an Associates in Applied Sciences degree.  Shortly after graduation, he started working at SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital in St. Louis and is still currently employed there today.  Ryan participates in the AABB's Professional Engagement Program and is a member of AABB's Pediatric Transfusion Medicine Subsection.

Susie Shaw (Member at Large)

Susie was born in Hawaii and still has saltwater in her veins.  She obtained her BA in biology from Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon.  She completed her medical technologist training in Mountain View, California.  She is fluent in Spanish.  Although she has worked in all departments of the laboratory, blood bank has always been her passion!  She is currently working at the Via Christi Hospital Blood Bank in Manhattan, Kansas.  She also serves as the blood drive recruiter for Via Christi.  Since 2013, she has been honored and delighted to get to know better the others serving on the HAABB board of directors. 

Mary Signaigo (Member at Large)

Mary is the Clinical Lab Educator for Blood Bank at Mercy Hospital St. Louis.  Her primary role as CLE is to teach college students or recent graduates the clinical requirement for obtaining the MLS certification.  Mary is also responsible for all procedures, training, audits and competencies for Blood Donor and Transfusion Services.  Mary was born and raised in St Louis but went to college at Avila University in Kansas City then lived in Dallas and Austin, Texas before returning to her home town.  Flexibility is one benefit of being an MLS. 


Laurie Wolf (Member at Large)

Laurie began working at St. Luke’s Hospital-Plaza in 1996 as a generalist and settled into blood bank shortly afterwards.  She received her SBB from University of Illinois-Chicago in 2007 and began working in the Immunohematology Reference Lab at Community Blood Center in 2008.  In 2011, Laurie transitioned back into the Transfusion Service at The University of Kansas Hospital as the Blood Bank Technical Specialist where she later became the Transfusion Service Manager.

 

Laurie has been an AABB/CAP assessor and actively contributes to the Pathology residents’ core curriculum at TUKH.  She has held many positions on the HAABB Board of Directors since 2004 including President.

Stephanie Kwiatkowski (Vendor Representative)

Stephanie Kwiatkowski is a manufacturing supervisor at the American Red Cross. She was invited to join the HAABB in early 2015 as a vendor representative. She enjoys long walks through the woods, lounging with her cat on lazy Saturdays and learning so many new things from the educational HAABB meetings twice a year. As a member of HAABB, she has really enjoyed her time working with such wonderful people. She also really enjoys getting a chance to mingle with all the vendors and visit their tables to see what awesome things they bring to the market.

Pat Parton (Vendor Representative)

Pat Parton began her career at Community Blood Center 26 years ago in the Virology and Immunology department and is currently the Director of Production and Distribution.  She previously worked at Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research in San Antonio, TX and Hybritech, Inc. in San Diego, CA.  She has been a member of HAABB for many years and has served on the board as Vendor Rep since the early 2000’s.  She is active in her church, enjoys walking, reading, and spending time friends and family.

Jennifer Jung (Webmaster)

Jennifer Jung graduated from St. Louis University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Clinical Laboratory Sciences.  While earning her degree, she did her blood bank clinical rotation at the American Red Cross Immunohematology Reference Laboratory (IRL) where she fell in love with blood bank.  After graduation, she returned to the Red Cross and began her blood bank career as medical technologist on the evening shift.  She has worked her way through the ranks to her current position as Lead Technologist.  She enjoys the variety of work and interesting cases that the IRL allows her to experience on a daily basis. 

Jennifer was asked to join the HAABB Board of Directors in 2002.  She has served on the board since then and has had the pleasure of serving in every role of the board at least once.