MedStar Georgetown University Hospital nationally recognized for life-saving blood and marrow donation program despite pandemic

MedStar Georgetown University Hospital Nationally Recognized for Life-saving Blood and Marrow Donation Program despite pandemic

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Be There Award presented by the National Marrow Donor Program® (NMDP)/Be The Match®

WASHINGTON – The MedStar Georgetown University Hospital Blood and Marrow Collection Program was recently presented the Be There Award by the National Marrow Donor Program® (NMDP)/Be The Match® - the leading global partner working to save lives through cellular therapy. The Be There Award recognizes extraordinary advocacy for patients, donors, and providers, including supporting and sharing in their experience. The award was given at NMDP’s annual The ONE Forum.

“Cancer does not wait for COVID,” said Wolfgang Rennert, PhD, MD, director of Collections, Blood and Marrow Donation Program, MedStar Georgetown University Hospital. “We are grateful for the support to expand our program at this critical time, and even more grateful to the donors who give of themselves to help save another’s life. Our team is dedicated to making their experience the very best it can be, and we are honored to be recognized for this commitment.”

MedStar Georgetown University Hospital responded quickly to threats posed to blood and marrow transplant recipients during the COVID pandemic. When some marrow collection centers ceased operations, MedStar Georgetown University Hospital increased capacity by 40% to support the continued need for life-saving blood and marrow donations and worked closely with Be The Match to ensure plans were in place to have donors tested for COVID and results delivered in time to make quick decisions in the event of a positive result, mitigating the risk to a patient’s treatment plan. The team also acquired approval for same-day COVID testing to accommodate the special needs of donors who travelled to the area from all over the country; and relied on the cooperation and commitment of many departments in the hospital to remain flexible with the goal of getting donations to recipients in need.

“The COVID pandemic presented challenges unlike any other faced by Be The Match or our partners, specifically our marrow collection centers,” said Amy Ronneberg, NMDP’s chief executive officer. “MedStar Georgetown University Hospital has consistently made Be The Match marrow collections a priority, and during the challenging pandemic were able to increase their collections for our patients when other partners had to suspend operations. We’re grateful for MedStar Georgetown University Hospital’s innovation as they look to constantly improve processes and enhance donor recovery and product quality. Their consistent excellence helps provide a high-quality, lifesaving product for transplant patients.”

The Blood and Marrow Collection Program at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital leads the Be The Match network of collection centers in both volume and clinical expertise. The program is headed by Dr. Rennert, who has published his findings to benefit marrow harvest clinicians and has trained others in best collection practices to provide the best experience for donors and patients. Catherine Broome, MD, is the Medical and Facility Director for the organization’s Aphaeresis collections, and Gary Bernard DiNardo, MSHSA, BSN, RN is the program administrator who leads the exemplary care and personal attention Be The Match donors receive as they navigate the donation process.

MedStar Georgetown University Hospital’s Blood and Marrow Collection Program has cared for more than 4,000 bone marrow donors, and more than 2,500 stem cell donors since its inception in 1993. In the past year alone, they cared for more than 380 donors of stem cells and marrow. The team works with several departments throughout the hospital, such as the Cardiovascular Pulmonary Procedure Lab, Apheresis, Anesthesia, post-anesthesia care unit, and Cellular Engineering Lab. That cooperation relies on the collective commitment and goal of providing donors with a positive experience and providing recipients a chance at life.

NMDP works to advance the science of cellular therapy and give hope to patients battling any of 70 blood cancers or blood diseases, which can be treated or cured by hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) and other cellular therapies. The ONE Forum - where the Be There Award was presented -- brings together the global cell therapy community, bringing visibility to the latest innovations in cellular therapies and providing a forum for health care professionals to discuss practical strategies and best practices in delivering treatments for patients with blood cancers and diseases. Experts and peers in the industry connect and learn how to break down barriers to care.

To learn more about how the Blood and Marrow Collection Program at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital won The Be There Award, visit