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.

“Blood Donor” Challenge Launched

February 1, 2016 ─ Oklahoma Blood Institute (OBI) invites all to take the “Blood Donor Challenge” between February 1 and May 15.  Blood given with OBI saves the lives of patients in 154 hospitals across the state every day. Yet, national statistics show that less than 10 percent of those eligible to donate blood do so at least annually.

Healthy adults*, 16 and older, can typically give and will receive a “Blood Donor Challenge” T-shirt.

“Some of our friends and neighbors face the challenge of staying alive,” said John Armitage, M.D., president and CEO, Oklahoma Blood Institute. “We challenge those who are healthy but have never given life-saving blood to step up, and join the movement.  And, since our donors typically give only once or twice a year, we urge them to give more often.”  Donations can be made as often as every two months or six times a year.
Take the Challenge T-shirt
OBI relies on donations from an average of 1,000 donors each day to meet the needs of patients in the area hospitals it exclusively serves. One single donation can save as many as three lives. It usually takes no more than an hour to donate.

Increases in first-time blood donors and repeat donations by current blood donors will be tracked.  The organization is optimistic that the Challenge will spur people with negative blood types to donate.  Only 18 percent of the population has a negative type, but patients with those types must have it from donors with negative types. A person can learn his or her blood type by donating. 

Appointments to give are not required but can be made here.  Oklahoma Blood Institute is the ninth largest, nonprofit blood center in the U.S.

*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

Oklahoma Blood Institute Names New Board Member

January 15, 2016 ─ Don Wilber, M.D., has been named to the board of directors of Oklahoma Blood Institute (OBI), the state’s nonprofit blood center.

Wilber has practiced pediatrics in Midwest City for 34 years and is a partner in Oklahoma City Clinic. He is the 2016 president of Oklahoma County Medical Society and as such represents some 1,200 physicians. He has been chief of staff at Midwest City Hospital for five years, as well as on the Board of Trustees for 12 years.
Don Wilber, Board Member
“Dr. Wilber is an esteemed physician leader,” said John Armitage, M.D., president and CEO, OBI. “He is knowledgeable about patients’ needs and the life-saving importance of a reliable, local blood center. With his personal experience, professional interests and community involvement, he will help us understand how we can best serve severely ill patients now and anticipate future needs.”

Headquartered in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Blood Institute is the ninth largest, nonprofit blood center in the United States.  Each day, its staff 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.

Masons Urge Blood Donation At Statewide Blood Drives – Jan. 18

January 6, 2016 ─ Oklahoma Masons are hosting eight blood drives with Oklahoma Blood Institute (OBI) Monday, Jan. 18.  Masonic lodges across the state will open their doors to all healthy adults, 16 and older,* who want to join them in community service and compassion by donating blood for patients in local hospitals. 

Ridge Smith, Masonic Grand Master, says that Oklahoma Masons chose to host these events because, “public service and compassion for all men and women is a fundamental teaching of the Fraternity. To provide a place for a blood drive is a natural expression of Masonic caring.”  Many Masonic Lodges partner with OBI during the year to have local blood drives; however this is the first time for a one- day statewide blood drive. These Masonic lodges will be the sites for the blood drives:

Blood donors will have a chance to win a 7-night Caribbean cruise provided by Fundraisingcruises.org.  All will get nautical-themed T-shirts.  “Through blood donation, groups like the Masons and their blood donors become the ‘anchor’ for local patients weathering life’s toughest storms,” said John Armitage, M.D., president and CEO, Oklahoma Blood Institute. “We urge more citizens to make giving a priority following the example of these community leaders.”

OBI donors provide all blood needed by patients in every hospital in the Oklahoma City-metro area as well as 150 others across the state.

Schedule your life-saving donation at one of these drives by clicking on the location above.  Click here to schedule your donation at a blood center or mobile drive near you,

*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.

Blood Donors’ Chances to Win Cruise Doubled

December 12, 2015 ─  Blood donors who give December 12 through January 8, with Oklahoma Blood Institute will get double the entries in a Caribbean cruise giveaway contest.  The seven-night trip for two will be awarded to one donor who gives before Jan. 31, courtesy of fundraisingcruises.org. 

A gift card to help with ground travel expenses to the port of Galveston will also be provided to the contest winner.  All donors get nautical-themed T-shirts to brighten up their winter days. 

Double entries are being offered through the holidays to inspire everyone 16 years or older* to make blood donation a priority.  Holiday activities typically detract people from giving.  Even so, patients in 154 state hospitals that Oklahoma Blood Institute serves rely on them for their very lives. 

People with negative blood types are especially urged to give. Only 18 percent of the population has negative blood types, but those with these types must have negative type blood when needed.

“While many of us dream of escaping on a warm-weather cruise, those needing blood are just grateful for improved health that blood donors give to them,” said John Armitage, President and CEO. 

Donations can be made every 56 days. Appointments are not required but can be made at a donor center or mobile blood drive near you.

*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

Blood Center Names Vice President

December 2, 2015 ─ Daren Coats has been named vice president of western division operations for Oklahoma Blood Institute (OBI) and its affiliate Texas Blood Institute.

Coats joined OBI in 2008, as the executive director of the Lawton, OK, and Wichita Falls, TX, donor centers. Recently, he was promoted to his current position to additionally provide leadership and direction for Oklahoma Blood Institute’s Enid, OK, and Tulsa, OK, operations.
Daren Coats, Vice President
“I look forward to working with these already successful centers by encouraging them to take full advantage of their capabilities and expertise,” said Coats. “Being a part of OBI and its affiliates has been a wonderful experience, and I intend to help grow this amazing organization for many years to come.”

Coats has been in non-profit blood banking since 2000, has extensive knowledge and a strong track record of accomplishments with OBI. He studied pre-law at the Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls.

“We now serve hospitals that are separated east to west by a 10-hour span. This growth has positioned us to expand our leadership team and Daren is just the person to take us to the next level,” said John Armitage, M.D., president and CEO.

Oklahoma Blood Institute is the ninth largest, non-profit blood center in America, providing every drop of blood needed by patients in over 154 medical facilities across Oklahoma. Its headquarters is in Oklahoma City. Its affiliate, Texas Blood Institute, is the sole blood supplier for patients in the eight hospitals in the five-county region surrounding Wichita Falls.

Please schedule a life-saving appointment to give blood, TODAY!

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.

 

OKLAHOMA BLOOD INSTITUTE ANNOUNCES NEW DIRECTORS

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!

BLOOD DONORS URGED TO ‘PROVE IT’ THIS FALL

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