October 31, 2017 — Sherri Ozawa, RN, an administrator at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center, has been named president-elect of the Society for the Advancement of Blood Management (SABM). A founding member, Ozawa has been with SABM since its inception in 2001, previously serving on its board of directors and as executive director. This is the first time that a non-physician has been elected to lead the national medical society.
Ozawa is currently clinical director of The Institute for Patient Blood Management & Bloodless Medicine and Surgery at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center, as well as senior director of patient and family engagement. As a former critical care nurse and an ethics committee member, she developed an interest in patient rights early on. This led her to the field of bloodless medicine in 1995, when its original intent at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center was to treat Jehovah’s Witness patients, for whom transfusion was not an option.
But “it expanded far beyond just one patient population,” Ozawa said. Researchers, including those at Englewood, found that patients treated without blood transfusions often did just as well as—or better than—those who received them. Bloodless medicine also reduced the risk of transmitting infection and disease, among other adverse outcomes, and significantly reduced healthcare costs. “We realized we were clinically doing the right thing for patients, and we had the obligation to do that for all patients.”
In 2012, the American Medical Association and The Joint Commission listed blood transfusion among the five most overused therapies in medicine. Ozawa said it’s exciting to impact care around the world and make patient blood management—the use of medical and surgical techniques to prevent anemia, conserve blood, and improve patient outcomes—a known concept.
She is also eager to draw from her nursing background to help diversify SABM’s leadership. To date, the majority of its members have been physicians—anesthesiologists, hematologists, and surgeons. This stems from the organization’s focus on physician education and the perspective that physicians order blood and treatment for patients. “In reality, the organization is multidisciplinary,” Ozawa said. “The way that we use blood in the hospital setting touches everybody—nurses, laboratory staff, and the public. Everybody is a part of this process.”
As president-elect, Ozawa will oversee national and international education initiatives, including development of online education tools, and a certificate program assessing proficiency in patient blood management. She will also co-chair the 2018 annual meeting, working with Dr. Aryeh Shander, chief of anesthesiology at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center and former president of SABM to plan a three-day academic program with attendees from around the globe.
Ozawa’s goals for the next two years center on SABM’s belief that patient blood management should be the standard of care, and the urgency of bringing global aspects to the forefront. In an effort to bring best practices together, the theme of the 2018 annual meeting will be global patient management, emphasizing learning in addition to teaching. Ozawa believes this will ultimately lead to practices that can save lives in our nation, as well as in those less privileged.
For more information about Society for the Advancement of Blood Management, visit www.sabm.org. For more information about The Institute for Patient Blood Management & Bloodless Medicine and Surgery at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center, visit www.bloodlessmed.org.