Media Inquiries

Our Community Relations staff is available 24 hours a day to respond to media inquiries.  Contact Leslie Gamble, Community Relations Director, at 405-278-3119 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) with questions or to schedule an interview.

Oklahoma Blood Institute Dedicates Donor Center in Honor of Industry Leader, Former CEO

October 20, 2015 - In the ‘70s & ‘80s, Oklahoma’s blood supply for hospital patients was transformed from ‘sketchy’ to safe & secure.  It happened due to the leadership of our former CEO and President Ronald O. Gilcher, M.D.  Dr. Ronald O. GilcherLike many Oklahoma ‘heroes’, he is much more widely acclaimed in other places than his home state!  Tuesday, OBI paid tribute to him by naming its central OKC donor center after him. Thank you, Dr. Gilcher!

Click here to read more about Dr. Gilcher and the central OKC Donor Center and to see photos from the event.

Oklahoma Blood Institute announces new directors

October 26, 2015 ─ Oklahoma Blood Institute (OBI), the state’s nonprofit blood center, has added five volunteers to its Board of Directors.

These leaders are physicians and healthcare executives who recognize from their own practices and careers the life-saving importance of safe and reliable blood delivered by a responsive, local supplier: 

  • Sherri Baker, M.D., is a board-certified pediatric cardiologist who practices at The Children’s Hospital at OU Medical Center.  She is also associate dean for admissions for the OU College of Medicine and an associate professor of pediatrics in the Pediatric Cardiology division.
  • Doug Folger, M.D., is an internal medicine doctor at OU Physicians and former chief medical officer of the organization. He is clinical associate professor of internal medicine at the OU College of Medicine.  He is the 2015 president of the Oklahoma County Medical Society which represents 1,200-plus physicians. 
  • Jennifer Holter-Chakrabarty, M.D., is a board-certified hematologist-oncologist practicing at Stephenson Cancer Center.  She is also a faculty member with the OU College of Medicine who serves as the fellowship director for the Hematology – Oncology section.

Others who have joined the OBI Board of Directors are:

  • John Adams, director of operations at INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center.
  • Scott Calhoon, M.D., a board-certified surgeon, who currently leads SWC Production, Inc., an investment firm.

“Physicians and health care industry leaders, who are knowledgeable about patients’ needs and the changing healthcare environment, bring essential contributions to our Board,” said John Armitage, M.D., president and CEO, OBI.  “With their personal experience, professional interests, and community connections they help us understand how we can best serve severely ill patients today and tomorrow.”

Headquartered in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Blood Institute is the ninth largest, nonprofit blood center in America.  Each day, it recruits an average of 1,000 volunteer blood donors are to save lives across the state and region. Patients in 154 Oklahoma hospitals and air ambulance services, including all hospitals in central Oklahoma, rely exclusively on blood provided through Oklahoma’s locally led blood center. Oklahoma Blood Institute employs 700 staff and is the state’s largest biotechnology organization.



October 23, 2015 - Oklahoma Blood Institute (OBI) announces the appointment of three new directors: 

  • Jonathan (Jon) Bayer is now Contact Center director.  This customer service and donor recruitment department makes 50,000 contacts per week.  Jon Bayer, Contact Center DirectorIt is an integral part of securing the 1,000 blood donors needed daily to meet local patients’ needs.  Prior to joining OBI, Bayer was a leader with Oklahoma City’s Sprint operations for 14 years.  While there, he also led the organization’s blood drive participation to support OBI.  Bayer graduated from Oklahoma State University with a degree in applied science with telecommunications emphasis.
  • Tara Scott has been promoted to director of Donor Recruitment.  She leads donor recruitment staff and initiatives throughout Oklahoma Blood Institute’s regional operations. Since blood for patients has a limited lifespan, donors are constantly sought to replenish the supply.  OBI conducts approximately 50 blood drives each week in communities and operates 11 donor centers. Tara Scott, Donor Recruitment DirectorScott has been with OBI for 18 years, working in various roles within donor recruitment, training and staff development.  For the past nine years, Scott has been key account manager serving many large corporations within central Oklahoma with blood donation programs.  She graduated from the University of Central Oklahoma with a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations.
  • Barbara Watson-Ledford, SBB(ASCP)CM   , is now executive director of the Immunohematology Reference Laboratory. One of only 56 AABB-accredited worldwide, this laboratory consults more than 3,000 times each year with hospitals to find blood for patients with the most difficult matches.  Barbara Watson-Ledford, Immunohematology Reference Laboratory DirectorLed by Watson-Ledford, staff manage a database of more than 25,000 rare donors and contacts them to meet patients’ needs. It stocks hundreds of rare blood units at all times.  Watson-Ledford worked at DLO for 17 years and was blood bank supervisor for INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center and Southwest Medical Center.  During that time, she also worked in OBI’s reference lab which provided her great visibility to its vast and critical scope of services.

Oklahoma Blood Institute is the sole supplier of blood to more than 154 medical facilities around the state, including all Oklahoma City- metro area hospitals. OBI is the ninth largest, independent nonprofit blood center in the United States. Volunteer, blood donors give more than a quarter-of-a-million units of blood a year through OBI. Once tested and processed by OBI’s medical professionals, donated blood and its components are transported to patients at medical facilities in Oklahoma, north Texas and Arkansas.

Blood donation generally takes only about one hour and can be done as often as every 56 days. Each unit of blood donated with Oklahoma Blood Institute can save the lives of as many as three Oklahomans. 

Schedule your life-saving appointment, TODAY!


September 8, 2015 ─  Oklahoma Blood Institute (OBI) has kicked off its fall Bedlam blood donation campaign with a challenge to ‘Prove It’.  Based upon team loyalties, donors can select from shirts reading, “Bleed Orange?” or “Bleed Crimson?” The rhetorical questions are followed with the encouragement to ‘Prove It!’ through blood donation. Through November 22, donors will also be entered to win two free tickets to the Bedlam football game in Stillwater November 28.

Tyler Zander, Stillwater, and Teresa Keever, Edmond, are examples of Oklahomans divided by Bedlam yet united through blood donation.  It took 97 blood donors to save Zander’s life in 2010 when he was in a grain elevator accident that severed his leg and left him battling for life for four months.  Even that didn’t slow down his lifelong dream to attend OSU where he is a senior. Recently, he met Keever, one of those who saved his life, and learned she is an avid Sooner. “On the field, we may be different – Cowboy and Sooner – but we’re all Oklahomans,” Zander said.  Keever agreed.  “When I donate, I don’t bleed crimson or orange. I bleed love.” 

Everyone who is healthy and at least 16 years old* can make a life-saving difference for their fellow Oklahomans by giving.  An average of 1,000 donors is needed each day to keep patients across the state alive.

“Our love of football runs deep here,” said John Armitage, M.D., president and chief executive, “but saving lives of our neighbors and friends through blood donation takes the definition of winning to a whole different level.”

Health screenings and Donor Rewards points, redeemable for gift cards and apparel in Oklahoma Blood Institute’s online store, are also provided to donors. Donors can support blood centers in underserved countries if they forgo the T-shirts.  Funds will be contributed to Global Blood Fund for each donor who chooses this option. This international charitable organization provides supplies and equipment to elevate volunteer blood donation where even the basics are lacking.

Oklahoma Blood Institute is a non-profit blood center. Its volunteer blood donors provide every drop of blood needed by patients in 158 hospitals across the state, including all in the metro-Oklahoma City area.

Schedule your appointment to donate blood at a mobile drive or donor center near you, Today!  Walk-ins are also welcome. 

* 16 year olds must weigh at least 125 and provide signed parental permission; 17 year olds must weigh at least 125 pounds; 18+ year olds must weigh at least 110 pounds

Hominy Blood Donor Wins New Car from Bob Moore Auto Group

August 17, 2015 ─ When first-time blood donor Victor Kilpatrick, Hominy, donated blood at Oklahoma Blood Institute’s (OBI) event with Bob Moore Auto Group, Aug. 8, he knew it felt good to help others in need.  But Kilpatrick didn’t imagine the good deed would result in winning a 2015 Kia Soul. 

This past Saturday, five finalists randomly chosen from event participants gathered, knowing one would win the new car.  They represented hometowns of Moore, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Bixby, and Hominy where OBI provides blood to hospital patients.  Kilpatrick was the second to try and had the lucky key.  His son and a close friend joined him for the exciting moment.

Kilpatrick was one of 1,092 participants in the blood drives held at four Bob Moore Auto Group dealerships. The event marked the fifteenth year for the Bob Moore-hosted blood drives. Through this event alone, some 2,661 Oklahomans who are in critical need of blood will receive it through the remainder of the summer.

“The tremendous turnout of blood donors at Bob Moore dealerships Saturday proved that those in our communities understand that people across Oklahoma continue to need blood,” John Armitage, M.D., CEO and president of Oklahoma Blood Institute said.  “The Bob Moore team has an incredible commitment to our local blood needs.”

Healthy adults, 16 and older*, are encouraged to donate blood every 56 days.  Every drop of blood needed by patients in some 150 Oklahoma medical facilities is provided by Oklahoma Blood Institute.  Oklahoma Blood Institute is the ninth largest, non-profit blood center in America, employs nearly 700 Oklahomans and works with an estimated 1,000 volunteers and 2,600 drive coordinators. 

Click here to schedule an appointment to donate blood. 

* 16 year olds must weigh at least 125 and provide signed parental permission; 17 year olds must weigh at least 125 pounds; 18+ year olds must weigh at least 110 pounds

Watch KFOR’s coverage of the event!

Oklahoma Blood Institute Names Medical Director

April 3, 2015—Susan M. Weiss, M.D., has joined Oklahoma Blood Institute (OBI) as medical director. She provides medical oversight of blood donation and transfusion services. This includes advice to the blood collections team and follow-up with donors.  Weiss also consults with laboratory staff and physicians at 158 area hospitals served by OBI to assure patients receive the optimal blood product at the right time. 
Dr. Weiss
Weiss is also engaged in medical consultation for therapeutic services provided by the blood center for patients. Therapeutic apheresis is used to remove harmful components from the blood that contribute to disease based on a patient’s specific condition. OBI provides these services to patients with blood disorders, kidney conditions, metabolic diseases and neurologic disorders.  It is also beneficial to patients with autoimmune diseases. 

She is integrally involved in the emerging areas of stem cell transplantation and related research that Oklahoma Blood Institute is pioneering in the state.

Weiss attended medical school at the University of Toledo College of Medicine and completed residency training at East Carolina University and fellowship training at Stanford University. She is board certified in Anatomic and Clinical Pathology as well as Blood Banking/Transfusion Medicine. Weiss was previously medical director of the transfusion service and stem cell laboratory at OU Medical Center and at the Veterans’ Administration Hospital in Oklahoma City. 

Headquartered in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Blood Institute is the ninth largest, non-profit blood center in America.  After processing and testing, OBI transports every drop of blood needed by patients in medical facilities and all air ambulance services across Oklahoma, including all hospitals in metro-Oklahoma City.


Blood Donors Needed to be Everyday Heroes

April 2015 - Oklahoma Blood Institute, (OBI) urges all healthy adults to donate blood at this April. Each donor will receive a ‘HERO” T-shirt. Anyone 16 and older* can typically donate.

“Blood donors are typically very humble about their good deeds,” said John Armitage M.D., CEO and president of Oklahoma Blood Institute. “But to the grateful patients who get a second chance at life thanks to life-saving blood treatments, donors are nothing short of heroes.”

One in every seven people entering a hospital will need blood.  However, of those eligible to donate blood in the U.S., only about ten percent actually do. Giving blood takes about an hour, and each donation can save as many as three different lives. Donations can be made every 56 days.

Although all blood types are needed, those with negative type blood are especially urged to donate. Only 18 percent of the population has negative blood types.  Yet, patients with negative blood types can only receive blood from those 18 percent who have negative types. 

Donors can opt to forgo the T-shirts, and instead, support Global Blood Fund (GBF).  OBI will contribute on behalf of these donors to GBF to provide supplies and technology to struggling blood centers. In the countries they serve, lives are lost daily due to an inadequate blood supply.

Schedule you appointment today!

* 16 year olds must weigh at least 125 and provide signed parental permission; 17 year olds must weigh at least 125 pounds; 18+ year olds must weigh at least 110 pounds


March 24, 2015─ Oklahoma Blood Institute (OBI) announces the promotion of Marlena Frye to Executive Director of Inventory Management, Logistics, and Operational Systems. Frye has worked at OBI for 13 years and oversees the distribution of some 250,000 units of donated blood annually. She leads the Systems Operations team with training, project management, equipment monitoring, and quality improvement for Technical Operations.
Frye has recently assumed responsibility for optimization of OBI’s transportation logistics network.  This encompasses handling and shipping the priceless gifts of donated blood.  With limited time for use, it must be moved rapidly from blood drives and donor centers to testing and processing labs to hospitals.  OBI’s mission of being the donor-to-patient lifeline requires its drivers travel more than six million miles annually to deliver blood needed for patients in hospitals across Oklahoma and in neighboring states.

Headquartered in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Blood Institute is the ninth largest, non-profit blood center in America.  Patients in 158 medical facilities across the state rely on life-saving blood provided through OBI, including all hospitals in the metro-Oklahoma City area.

Schedule your life-saving donation, Today!


The recent winter storms caused many blood drive cancellations, resulting in 2,000 less blood donors than expected. Your commitment to ensuring your blood drive was a success made the difference. Thank you for being a SNOW ANGEL for patients in the 184 medical facilities served by your Blood Institute.

The need for blood never takes a snow day, and we are extremely grateful for your dedication to blood donation.

Below is a list of Snow Angels that sponsored blood drives February 23 – March 6.

38th CEIG
72d ABW
Absentee Shawnee Tribe
Ada High School
AOG Rogers Ave
Bass Pro Shops
Battiest High School
Baxley Equipment/LogPro
Blackwell High School
Booneville High School
Bost Inc.
Bridge Creek High School
Brookdale Sterling House
Buffalo High School
Caddo Kiowa Technology Center
Calvary Christian Fellowship
Cameron High School
Canute Community
Cesar E. Chavez
Charles Machine Works, Inc.
Cherokee Nation W.W. Hastings Hospital
Choctaw Nation
Christ The King
Church of Christ South Yukon
Church of Saint Benedict
Cimarron Correctional Facility
Cimarron High School
City View ISD
Clay County Memorial Hospital and Community
Coal Hill Community
Coalgate High School
Comanche County Health Department
Comanche County Memorial Hospital
Comanche Nation Complex
Crowell Community
Danville High School
Dardanelle Nursing & Rehabilitation Center
Davis High School
DCP Midstream
Dewar High School
DHS-Child Welfare Division
Durant High School
Eastern Oklahoma County Tech Center
Elgin High School
Elk City Community
Elkview General Hospital
Enid High School
Eufaula High School
Family Care Center of Kingston
First Baptist Church Marlow
Foyil High School
Frederick Hospital and Community
Freedom High School & Community
Frontier High School
Ft. Towson High School
Gateway Success Center
Goodyear Commercial Tire and Service Centers
Grady Memorial Hospital and Community
Grandfield High School
Great Plains Coca-Cola
Great Plains Regional Medical Center
Great Plains Technology Center
Groendyke Transports, Inc.
Harding Fine Arts Academy
HealthSource of Tulsa
Hennessey Community
Hennessey High School
Heritage Village Nursing Home
Hertz Administrative Center
Holy Trinity Lutheran Church
Hugo High School
Hulbert Jr.-Sr. High School
Indian Health Services
INTEGRIS Canadian Valley Hospital
INTEGRIS Mayes County Medical Center
J.A. Riggs Tractor Co.
Jefferson Regional Medical Center

Kiefer High School
Kings, Daughters & Sons Nursing Home
Lavaca High School
Liberty Elementary
Lindsay High School
Lost Creek United Methodist Church
Lowe’s Bixby
Lowe’s of Stillwater
Madill High School
Mannford Community Drive
Mansfield Elementary Kids Care
McCraw Oil and Propane
McFarlin Memorial United Methodist Church
Mena National Guard
Mercy Fort Smith
Mercy Hospital Ardmore
Midwestern State University Student Nurses Association
Milburn High School
Mountain Pine High School
Murray State College
National Park Community College
National Park Medical Center
New Hope Baptist Church
Newcastle High School
Nichols $ Saver Foods
Noble Energy Inc.
Norman Regional Healthplex
Norman Regional Hospital
Northeast Technology-Pryor
Northeastern Health System
Oakwood Mall
OKDHS Washington & Nowata Counties
Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services
Osage Casino - Tulsa
Otoe Missouria Tribe
OU Health Sciences Center
OU Physicians/Children’s Physicians
Ozark High School
Paris High School
Payne County Sheriff’s Department
Piney Grove United Methodist Church
Platt College
Post Acute Medical Specialty Hospital of Tulsa
Prague Community Hospital
Pushmataha Hospital
Rogers State University-Pryor Campus
Saint Francis Hospital South
Sasakwa High School
Shawnee Mall
Skyview Elementary
SouthWest Cupid
Sparks Medical Plaza
Spiro Community
St. Anthony Hospital
St. John’s University Parish
St. Philip Neri Catholic Church
Sterling High School
TPS Maintenance, Grounds, and Plant Operations
Tri County Technology Center
Tulsa Community College-SE
United Regional
University of Central Oklahoma
University of Oklahoma Society of Petroleum Engineers
University of Tulsa
Vian Community
Waldron High School
Waurika Community
Western Technology Center
Willow View United Methodist Church
Windthorst Community
Woodland Hills Elementary
Wright Career College
Wynnewood Community