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2020 Award Winners

Blum Award

The 2020 recipient of the Blum Award is Anne Robinson. 


 

Over more than 4 decades, Anne has focussed her professional life around transfusion medicine and improving its practice in New Brunswick and across Canada. She has always tempered adoption of new technological advances with an eye to best practice and overall health care costs. Anne has continuously encouraged technologists to improve their skills, she has instructed encouraged and cajoled technologists to be the best they can be and to always put patient needs first.

Anne served on the CSTM Board as Atlantic director for two terms and encouraged her colleagues to become involved with the society. She always speaks highly of the friendships she made, as well as the networking opportunities, provided by her CSTM membership.

In New Brunswick, Anne developed and implemented redistribution processes for red cells, platelets and plasma protein products long before there was a recognised economic need. Due to her Celtic upbringing; waste of any kind is abhorrent to Anne; care of the environment and efficient utilization are second nature to her, and she instilled this attitude in the workplace. 

An emphasis on excellent service and quality improvement were among the cornerstones of Anne’s “outside” interests which included becoming a surveyor; first for the College of American Pathologists (CAP) and later for Accreditation Canada. Anne spent the better part of a year visiting the New Brunswick transfusion medicine laboratories consulting, and then coordinating processes and documents, provincially, in preparation for the implementation of the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) Z902-04. Anne’s focus has always been on helping other laboratories and especially transfusion labs, incorporate best practices into their, and her operations. She has had the opportunity to conduct inspections in the Middle East and Canada’s far north as well as in the more populated areas of the US and Canada.

As a member of the regional liaison committee of Canadian Blood Services, Anne has been a tireless supporter of the collaboration between the hospitals and the blood supplier, which is essential to the provision of blood products to patients when they are required.

Anne has retired as manager of The Moncton Hospital Transfusion Medicine department after over 4 decades of exceptional service to her patients and the practice of transfusion medicine in New Brunswick; indeed, across Canada. Anne is the epitome of professionalism, always the last to leave and first to come in when called. She led by example and instilled in her staff a sense of pride in the duties they perform. The number of staff parties she missed because a serological problem or trauma arrived as she was about to leave is well known. Even in her last year prior to retirement, Anne still worked her weekends to ensure new technologists know what is required in a 24/7 operation such as a transfusion service.

One of the most impressive things about Anne is how she doesn’t really acknowledge how much she has given over the years; but her colleagues; technologists, nurses, physicians, porters and patients will, without doubt, agree that she has given outstanding service to the discipline of Transfusion Medicine. Her commitment to Transfusion Medicine is not ending when she retires; she will be instrumental in ensuring the CSTM 2021 conference, being held in her home city of Moncton NB, provides the usual high standard and quality of transfusion medicine education of a CSTM event.

Congratulations Anne and Thank You!

 

Ortho Award

This year, the Ortho Award is awarded to Dr. Alan Lazarus. 



Dr. Lazarus obtained his PhD at McGill University in 1987, the subject of his thesis being “Immunology of Natural Killer Cells”. He is currently a Professor in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto, a Scientist at the Keenan Research Centre for Biomedical Science at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, a staff Scientist in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology at St. Michael’s Hospital, and a Senior Scientist at the Canadian Blood Services. Since 2016 he has been Co-Director of both the Translational Hematology research team at St. Michael’s Hospital, as well as the Toronto Platelet Immunobiology Group.

Dr. Lazarus has done significant work pertaining to the mechanism of action of IVIG in such diseases as Immune Thrombocytopenia (ITP), as well as other autoimmune states. In a publication in the journal “Nature Medicine” in 2006, he was the senior author in highlighting the work from his lab demonstrating that the clinical effects of IVIG in ameliorating ITP appear to involve the interaction of IVIG with activating Fc receptors on dendritic cells. This had not been previously reported, and was an important step in laying the foundation for subsequent scientific investigation into the effects of IVIG.

More recently, his team has discovered that monoclonal antibodies with anti-D-like activity can be used to treat other murine autoimmune diseases treatable by IVIG. This also works to reduce the symptoms of TRALI in a mouse model. This is exciting research because it suggests that in the future it may be possible for a monoclonal anti-D to be used and perhaps decrease the use of plasma for IVIG. 

He has received numerous honours and awards, including the Tibor Greenwalt Award bestowed by the American Association of Blood Banks in 2015. He is, or has been a reviewer of several respected journals in the field of Transfusion Medicine including Transfusion, Blood, Nature Medicine, Science Translational Medicine and the Journal of Immunology. He has also been involved as a grant reviewer since 2002, and has himself received continuous peer-reviewed grant support throughout his career.

Dr. Lazarus has, along with colleagues, been successful in filing six Canadian patents, with some being issued also in the United States and European Union.

The list of peer-reviewed articles in which Dr. Lazarus was first author or co-author are too numerous to mention (>100 publications published, or in press). He has also been very involved in formally mentoring students, postdoctoral fellows, as well as supervising graduate students.  He has even mentored high school students in science projects where the students ultimately won awards.

Congratulation, Alan!
 

Buchanan Award

This year, the Buchanan Award recipient, selected by conference Scientific Committee, is Sylvie Thibault.



After graduating in Medical Laboratory Technology in 1979 from Rosemont College in Montreal, Sylvie began her career as a medical technologist at La Salle General Hospital. This versatile laboratory allowed her to cover several areas of the laboratory: microbiology biochemistry, hematology, blood bank and blood procurement. This hospital specializes in obstetrics, gynecology and orthopedics.

In 1987, she received a 6-week blood bank bursary from the Red Cross. Following this training, she reviewed all the techniques and operations of the blood bank laboratory. She ensured that all staff understood the changes by sharing the knowledge gained during this internship. She subsequently held the position of Technical Coordinator of Hematology/Blood Bank. 
  
Sylvie participated in the users committee run by the Red Cross. In 1995, a committee was informed that the Red Cross was looking for an individual to fill the position of Manager of Hospital Client Services/Labile and Stable Blood Product Distribution/Blood Component Production. After 16 years in hospital, she obtained the longest job title at the Red Cross.
This new role allowed her to acquire new knowledge, especially on the manufacturer and supplier side of labile and stable blood products. This work also exposed her to many wonderful encounters with people who are passionate and inspiring throughout Quebec and Canada. The challenges, roles, functions and tasks were very diverse during this second career. She became Director of Hospital Relations in 2001.

To describe some highlights:
  • The Red Cross transition to Héma-Québec on September 28, 1998, was a long process of preparation with many details and communications with the partners.
  • The complete relocation of Héma-Québec’s operations to a new facility, with all the services and products required by the hospital centres available without interruption.  
  • The harmonization and development of meetings between users in Montreal and Quebec City, which grew from a few hours to a full day, and giving access to blood bank staff in more remote regions through various means of remote communication.
  • The important partnership with the technical and clinical transfusion safety officers, the directors of Blood Banks and Hemophilia Clinics, the MSSS and Hemovigilance were at the heart of activities. The results of the satisfaction surveys from them showed their high level of satisfaction with the organization.
  • The importance of the collective blood supply for all blood bank stakeholders: This reserve is directly affected by the management and use of labile blood products with particular attention to O Rh negative red blood cells. The development of performance indicators for labile blood products made it possible to better track their use.
  • Speaker at events: AABB San Diego Oral Presentation on AB Plasma Management; Labile Blood Product Management for OPTMQ; Platelet Management for SCMT.  
  • Contribution and participation in the revision of Z902.
  • Member of the organizing committee for the 2014 SCMT conference in Quebec City.    
Retired since 2016, Sylvie has occasionally mentored Héma-Québec colleagues.

Congratulations Sylvie!