As an emergency physician, Alister Martin, MD, MPP, MGH Emergency Medicine, learned countless lessons working through the COVID-19 pandemic.
For 20 years, Kelly Morley has been an employee within Mass General Brigham—first working at North Shore Medical Center for 8 years and then coming to Massachusetts General Hospital as an executive assistant at Mass General/North Shore Center for Outpatient Care—and has established and maintained key collegial connections throughout the years. These community connections have been critical in Morley’s most recent efforts of organizing monthly blood drives at MGH Danvers.
In addition to her dozens of regular daily duties, Morley was approached last spring to organize bloodmobile drives for employees and members of the community for the Mass General Blood Donor Center. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the center’s typical community blood drives drastically decreased, as many businesses that regularly hosted drives were closed. “I was slightly skeptical at first as to how many people might come out to give blood,” says Morley. “But after figuring out all the logistics, I thought, let’s just try this. We hosted our first blood drive in May, and it blew my mind how many people came out to give. We realized that people were home, and they just wanted to help in some way. And this provided this opportunity.”
Morley and Kim Cronin, manager of Mass General’s Blood Donor Services, both reached out to prior blood donors to let them know about the drive and explained the new format—two buses and plenty of physical distancing. After the success in May, Morley decided to also reach out to her previous colleagues and public relations at North Shore Medical Center, alerting them to the monthly blood drives to help spread the word.
“So many people continued to show up,” she says. “On average we’ve had 50 donors each month. People even bring their kids who are eligible with them to donate. Everyone just wants to help, so each month I strive to see how we can continue to get more and more donors.”
Cronin adds, “There is no such thing as a roadblock to Kelly. She jumped right in to figure out how to have community donors and employees use a separate entrance, arranged parking for the bloodmobile, found inside space we now need for part of the blood drive and started to think of how best to promote the drive to coworkers. Each drive she has tried to reach out more and increase participation. Her support has been fantastic.”
Looking forward, Morley hopes to be able to expand the bloodmobile drives to North Shore Medical Center, and to continue to get at least 50 donors at each MGH Danvers drive. The next opportunity to donate blood at MGH Danvers, 102 Endicott Street, is Wednesday, Dec. 9, from 10:00 am to 3:30 pm. Monthly bloodmobiles are currently scheduled to continue there through at least April 2021.
To schedule an appointment to donate, visit massgeneral.org/blood-donor and click “Find a Blood Drive” to view upcoming mobile drive dates and locations. Due to the ongoing need for physical distancing, appointments are required at all blood drives and in the Donor Center.
“In a time when many people are feeling helpless, this is a small thing people can do that really is a big thing for us,” Morley says.
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