Stepping up amid a blood shortage
During the worst national blood shortage in over a decade, the UCHealth Garth Englund Blood Center in November 2021 was without a recruiter. The role is essential to maintaining a steady stream of life-saving blood donations.
When Kaitlin Zobel, a former recruiter, heard the blood center needed help, she and her managers came up with a way for her to split time between her current job as a development officer for the UCHealth Northern Colorado Foundation and supporting blood donations.
“Never once did she complain about the extra work, nor did her leaders put restrictions on her assistance,” said Anna Johnson, blood center manager. “I can’t speak enough about how much I appreciated her assistance.”
Meanwhile, Zobel was also pursuing her master’s degree in health care administration and expecting her first child.
“It was a very long winter,” she said with a grin.
Zobel said she enjoyed reconnecting with the donors as well as colleagues, and that it’s rewarding when people in the community realize how easy it is to host a blood drive with the mobile blood unit.
“People think it falls on them, the responsibility to host the donor bus,” she said. “I like to simplify things.”
The American Red Cross, which supplies 40% of blood in the United States, declared a blood crisis posing a risk to patient care in January. UCHealth Garth Englund Blood Center supplies blood to local communities, Zobel said, but a shortage would require local health care facilities to tap into the national supply. With her support organizing recruitment, the blood center was able to maintain enough blood through local donations.
At the foundation, Zobel’s role is somewhat similar to her work with the blood center, as she builds connections in the community to support a humanitarian cause.
“Kaitlin is energetic and positive in all that she does,” Shannon Mosness, foundation development manager said. “She always goes above and beyond, and we’re proud to have her as a member of the UCHealth system.”