Young blood donors miss out on important health information

Donating blood is a great way to help others, but few young donors realize it is also an opportunity to protect their own health.

Only 11 percent of donors ages 16 to 19 go online to check their blood values offered by Carter BloodCare, the largest blood center in Texas. The values reveal whether donors have high cholesterol or blood pressure – conditions that put them at greater future risk of cardiovascular disease.

That’s why the Texas Prevention Institute at UNT Health Science Center partnered with Carter BloodCare on a pilot project to determine effective communication strategies aimed at getting young donors to check their test results. The project is funded by a $114,000 grant from Carter BloodCare Foundation.

"Young people tend to think conditions such as cardiovascular disease and high cholesterol don’t apply to them since they’re young," said Dr. Kimberly Fulda, DrPH, Assistant Professor of Family Medicine. "But we do find red flags that indicate potential health problems in this age group."

Dr. Heather Kitzman-Ulrich and Project Coordinator Michelle Lee worked with students at four high schools that hosted blood drives. Mansfield Summit High School students made colorful posters and flyers encouraging classmates to check their values. The FitWorth Healthy City Initiative, which is based at UNTHSC, provided gift cards as incentives to the schools for their participation.

Stephen Eason, Carter BloodCare Foundation Director, said donors receive a unique identifier to log on to the blood center’s website to view their cholesterol and blood pressure measurements. If they have donated blood previously, they can print their past and current results in a bar chart to view their health trends.

"This project will help us determine what communication strategies are effective in getting young blood donors to take interest in their long-term health." he said.

Recent News

Ashenafi 768x768
  • Our People
|Sep 20, 2023

Dr. Ashenafi Cherkos awarded prestigious AIM-AHEAD Fellowship in Leadership

Dr. Ashenafi Cherkos, assistant professor at The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth, has been awarded the prestigious AIM-AHEAD Fellowship in Leadership for the Fall 2023 cohort. Cherkos serves in the School of Public Health’s Department of Population and Community Healt...
  • On Campus
|Sep 20, 2023

Innovate Fort Worth podcast: DJ Perera of New Age Media New Age Learning program

Innovate Fort Worth, the local podcast showcasing local innovation and its dynamic creators, recently featured DJ Perera, a trailblazing artist and educator. Hosted by Cameron Cushman of The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth, the podcast episode delves into the intersecti...
Darlene Watkins
  • On Campus
|Sep 20, 2023

HSC student advocates for falls prevention awareness in Tarrant County

Darlene Watkins has dedicated her life to creating healthier and sustainable communities. Her background in interdisciplinary design led her to work with various community organizations from Atlanta to California, but it was her passion for educating aging populations that fueled her desire to wo...
Glenn Forister
  • On Campus
|Sep 19, 2023

HSC’s School of Health Professions to host Health Professions Workforce Symposium

Modern medicine is a team sport, and roughly 60% of that team is composed of practitioners who exist outside of the doctor-nurse paradigm. These vital pillars make up the backbone of the $3 trillion health care sector, and they’re among the fastest-growing professions in the world. From 5 to 8 p....