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This story originally appeared in the California Health Report.

Black Health Network Member Spotlight: San Diego Blood Bank featuring Julien Brown

30 Apr 2024 7:41 AM | Jamila Jabulani (Administrator)

How long have you been a member of the Black Health Network, and what drew you to CBHN?

San Diego Blood Bank just became a member in 2024. We wanted to collaborate with CBHN to educate members about the importance of diversity in blood donation and medical research – in particular, the All of Us Research Program.  We have been looking for ways to better reach and serve our local Black community and this partnership seems like a great way to do just that.

What is your current profession?

Chief of Staff. Previous to the San Diego Blood Bank, I spent more than fifteen years in the non-profit sector, primarily responsible for business operations and project management.

From your perspective, what barriers exist in achieving health equity for Black Californians?

In my opinion, the barriers that exist are caused by a lack of trust within the research and healthcare systems. Many people who look like me simply don’t trust that their best interests are at heart. When there is a lack of trust, it’s very difficult to get someone to donate blood or participate in a clinical trial or research study.

Both in your work and with CBHN, how have you been able to prioritize the health of Black women?

The San Diego Blood Bank participates in many local community events geared towards educating the community on the importance of blood donation and Precision Blood™ (blood type matching). We use next generation sequencing to provide a more precise matching of blood types. This means that a patient with sickle cell disease that is in need of a blood transfusion, would receive blood from a donor who is closely matched as possible to avoid adverse reaction from the patient’s immune system. It is truly fascinating.

What inspires you to keep doing the work you do?

I have a very deep appreciation for the mission and vision of the San Diego Blood Bank. We save lives every day, 24-7. It warms my heart when we get a message, call or email from a CEO at a local hospital thanking us for providing blood product to save a patient life. Or when a young patient whose life was saved by our blood, comes to visit the office and show their appreciation. It reinvigorates my passion for what I do! 


This story originally appeared in the California Health Report.

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