Why we’re adding pronouns to name badges and signatures
At Canadian Blood Services, we believe in creating an environment where everyone feels like they belong and can bring their whole selves to work, every day. It matters how we refer to ourselves and how we want others to refer to us, which is why we’re announcing the new option for employees to include pronouns on your name badge and/or in your branded email signature.
Gender pronouns (like she/her/hers and he/him/his) are commonly used to refer to someone in place of their name. We tend to assign people gender based on where we think they align on the gender binary — however, some people may identify as gender fluid or gender queer, or as non-binary. Their identity may not correspond to the sex they were assigned at birth and may prefer that you refer to them by using the gender-neutral pronouns of they/them/theirs, or something else that feels right to them.
Sharing our pronouns at work is one way that we can show respect for trans, nonbinary and gender non-conforming colleagues, donors and volunteers, and help foster an inclusive workplace culture. Visit Connect to learn how you can include your pronouns at work, if you so choose.
Sociologist Dr. Jennie Haw helps us understand the science of giving
Since joining our Centre for Innovation in 2019, Dr. Jennie Haw, along with her colleague Dr. Kelly Holloway, has been undertaking important research to deepen our understanding of donors’ attitudes and behaviours. Through her work, Dr. Haw is helping us respond more effectively in an evolving social context. “[Donors’] vital contributions to Canadian Blood Services clearly have social significance, as well as health significance,” says Dr. Haw. “So, it’s important to ensure that our policies are as equitable as possible.” Currently, she is exploring issues of equity for gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men through two key research projects. She is also extending her social science perspective to understand barriers to blood donation for African, Caribbean and Black young adults. Dr. Haw’s conversations with donors have also revealed generational differences in the way people think about donation – another line of inquiry that could shape future recruitment efforts. Visit blood.ca/stories to learn more about how Dr. Haw’s research to better understand donors will help make Canada’s Lifeline more inclusive.
Save the date: Next live townhall scheduled for Nov.4
Join us on Thursday, Nov.4 at 1 p.m. ET for the next live Q&A with our CEO, Dr. Graham Sher. As always, Graham and a panel of experts will be available to answer your questions on any and all topics that are top of mind. We’ll be sharing more details in the coming weeks about the panel and theme for next month’s event, but in the meantime, we encourage you to send your email or video questions to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “TOWNHALL”. You can also record an audio question by phoning 1-800-509-3329.
Click the meeting link here or in your Outlook invite to join live. If you can’t make it, the recording will be available to view for two weeks following the event on your COVID-19 employee portal.
Question of the day: Why are gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men now able to donate plasma, but not whole blood?
Health Canada recently approved our request to expand eligibility for men who have sex with men to donate source plasma. Gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (gbMSM) in Calgary and London may now be eligible to donate source plasma if, in the last three months, they have not had a new sexual partner, and if their partner has not had sex with another partner.
Source plasma is used to make medications. The manufacturing process for these medications involves complex steps that are applied to a large pool of plasma donations and in this process, potential pathogens in the plasma are eliminated. This added safety process and our ability to freeze and hold plasma for up to a year has made it possible to expand plasma donation sooner than whole blood donation.
This is the first time that Canadian Blood Services has had the evidence and support needed to obtain regulatory approval to implement behaviour-based criteria for gbMSM rather than a reduced waiting period.
We’re not done yet, though. Our goal remains to remove the current waiting period specific to gbMSM and use sexual behaviour-based screening for all donors and collection types instead. To this end, we intend to make a submission recommending this change to Health Canada, our regulator, later this fall.
Visit blood.ca to learn more about the evolving eligibility criteria for gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men.
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