ASBP: LAA: 2020 Recipient
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2020 Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient

Army Col. Glen Michael Fitzpatrick Recognized with 2020 ASBP Lifetime Achievement Award

By ASBP Communications

2020 Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient - Army Col. Glen Michael Fitzpatrick

The Armed Services Blood Program is excited to announce the honoree of its annual Lifetime Achievement Award: retired Army Col. Glen Michael Fitzpatrick, Ph.D. During a four-decade career in blood banking, Fitzpatrick has made significant contributions to the warfighter as well as served in key capacities during three major events in recent U.S. history: Operations Desert Shield and Storm, the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, and the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.

Above all, he has been a staunch supporter of the ASBP and has garnered the admiration and high esteem of those he has worked with, whether they be military, civilian or international colleagues. Today, Fitzpatrick remains an important figure in the industry and continues to support the warfighter in both his work and as a mentor to those in the ASBP Specialist in Blood Banking Fellowship.

"With four decades of outstanding leadership as a blood banking expert matched only by his commitment to the warfighter, we are honored to present the 2020 ASBP Lifetime Achievement Award to Col. Fitzpatrick," said Army Col. Audra L. Taylor, division chief, ASBP. "His career is truly great in scope and accomplishment."

Fitzpatrick was commissioned on graduation from the ROTC program at Colorado State University, and later earned both his master's degree and Ph.D. at Bowling Green State University.

In 1975, Fitzpatrick started his Army career as a medical field specialist with the 629th Medical Clearing Company as a platoon leader at Fort Ord, California. Afterwards, he held several laboratory positions, including blood bank chief at Madigan Army Medical Center, Fort Lewis, Washington, from 1983-1985, and laboratory manager at Tripler Army Medical Center in Hawaii, from 1987-1988.

While serving as Joint Blood Program Officer for the European Command from 1988-1991, Fitzpatrick provided oversight in the planning and distribution of all blood support operations for Operations Desert Shield and Storm. He modified doctrine and policy, revised regulations on blood support, and adjusted cumbersome planning factors that helped conserve crucial inventories.

As a medical planner for EUCOM (which at the time included Africa), Fitzpatrick provided timely blood support for emergencies such as the 1998 air show disaster at Ramstein Air Base and embassy evacuations, as well as for NASA Space Shuttles and special forces operations.

As the deputy director of the Armed Services Blood Program Office from 1996-1999, Fitzpatrick directed research and development for advanced blood products. He was responsible for developing the plan for modernizing the frozen blood program, coordinating with other agencies for funding and development of hemoglobin-based oxygen carriers, fibrin bandage, cryopreserved platelets, and lyophilized platelets. Fitzpatrick also played a key role in developing policy for implementing deferrals for variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and minimizing the impact of vCJD deferrals on military and civilian blood collection agencies.

From 1999-2003, Fitzpatrick served as the director of ASBPO. Here, he was responsible for coordinating and maintaining an adequate blood supply for the Department of Defense, and developed and implemented all DoD polices regarding blood collection, distribution, storage, and transfusion. After the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Fitzpatrick coordinated the national blood response for the DoD and testified before Congress and the FDA. He obtained federal permission to fly blood products across the nation when all civilian aircraft were grounded, ensuring blood products were available where needed. In his director role, Fitzpatrick was part of the initial blood planning support of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.

As a member of the FDA Blood Products Advisory Committee and the AABB Standards Committee, he brought great credit and distinction to the ASBP. Additionally, he was the first DoD member to become part of the AABB Interorganizational Task Force on Domestic Disasters and Acts of Terrorism, a task force still in existence.

Also as director, Fitzpatrick drafted and coordinated a new policy allowing the American Red Cross and America's Blood Centers access to military installations without ASBP donor centers, creating a modified credit system of 1 unit for every 4 units collected.

Retired Army Lt. Col. Wilbur Malloy, 2015's ASBP Lifetime Achievement Award winner, remarked on Fitzpatrick's many accomplishments in his ASBP career. "Col. Fitzpatrick has been instrumental in changing clinical practice and has dedicated his professional expertise to the improvement of military medicine, national policy, corporate leadership, and innovative research in the field of blood banking and immunohematology. He has been the right person, in the right place, at the right time."

Another of Fitzpatrick's accomplishments in support of the warfighter was the drafting and execution of contingency contracts between the ASBP and civilian blood collection agencies. If a critical need arose, these contracts streamlined the process of procuring blood products in support of contingency operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Retired Army Col. Francisco J. Rentas, ASBP director, 2008-2012, had very high praise for the 2020 LAA winner. "Col. Mike Fitzpatrick was without a doubt the right leader at the helm during 9/11. His unparalleled and continued contributions to the ASBP, and particularly, the Blood Banking Fellowship, are as vital today as they were 17 years ago when he retired from active duty. A life of selfless and unmatched service to the ASBP has earned him the respect and admiration of his colleagues and his peers. Well deserved!"

When Fitzpatrick retired from active duty in 2003, he continued a military blood connection, but on the civilian collection agency side, as chief policy officer and chief operating officer for America's Blood Centers. He helped codify a policy to sustain the provision of emergency blood products in support of military contingency operations.

Today, Fitzpatrick is very much involved in blood banking as president and director of clinical research and development for biotechnology company Cellphire, Inc., where he leads efforts in the advancement of a freeze-dried platelet-derived hemostatic agent to phase 2 clinical trials that has the potential to be used on the battlefield in the future. He also continues to serve as a mentor and research advisor for ASBP Specialist in Blood Banking Fellowship students and provides a series of lectures on Maj. Gen. Dr. Douglas Kendrick's book Blood Program in World War II to each class.

"Fitzpatrick was there when the country needed him most during both war and peacetime," said Taylor. "He ensured the military had access to the blood products it needed, carried out groundbreaking research, and worked with the international blood banking community to create synergy which benefitted the warfighter. ASBP owes him profound gratitude."