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SLU PA Program Hosts Blood Drive Amid Pandemic

In April 2021, while still in the midst of numerous COVID-19 event restrictions, the Saint Louis University Physician Assistant (PA) program worked with ImpactLife (formerly known as Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center) to host a blood drive for patients in need across a four-state region in the Midwest. The blood drive took place in an ImpactLife mobile unit parked outside of SLU’s Allied Health Professions Building and was the PA program’s highest attended blood drive to date.

According to The American Red Cross, over 37,000 blood drives were canceled over the past year as a result of the pandemic. That, coupled with previously delayed surgeries that can now happen, have strained the supply of blood banks across the country. For this reason, the SLU PA program found it was vital to host their blood drive and help save lives.

SLU PA Student Donating Blood
SLU PA student Ajay Minton donating blood at the program's blood drive earlier this year.

SLU PA student and president of the SLU PA Society Ajay Minton said the annual blood drive is one of the group’s more impactful traditions.

“Pursuing a career in medicine, we all understand how crucial blood donations are to patients and their survival,” Minton said. “We are happy to give back to the community and represent the PA program at SLU in a meaningful way.”

Hosting a blood drive during a pandemic did not come without difficulties, but Minton explained that, despite the challenges, the SLU PA Society still wanted to host the event and try to help those in need.

“There was, and still is, a critical need for blood donations during the pandemic with fewer blood drives as businesses and schools went virtual, but we still wanted to do our part,” Minton said. “We were grateful to be able to host the blood drive during the pandemic and work with COVID restrictions and precautions. We are looking forward to hosting our second blood drive of the year in October and will again address any necessary challenges or complications that arise to ensure we do our part to give back.”

This blood drive was led by the SLU PA Society and faculty sponsor Assistant Professor Chezna Warner, PA-C, MHS, MSW. The SLU PA program will partner with ImpactLife to host another blood drive in October 2021. ImpactLife has 19 fixed locations and over 5,000 mobile units - to learn more about donating blood or to schedule an appointment, visit

Saint Louis University is a Catholic, Jesuit institution that values academic excellence, life-changing research, compassionate health care, and a strong commitment to faith and service. Founded in 1818, the University fosters the intellectual and character development of nearly 13,000 students on two campuses in St. Louis and Madrid, Spain. Building on a legacy of more than 200 years, Saint Louis University continues to move forward with an unwavering commitment to a higher purpose, a greater good.