Our project centers on an episode of the radio show, “Passing in Review”, which aired on KPRC radio in Houston in the 1940s. The episode that is the archival piece that we will examine provides a narrative describing the process of donating blood at the M.D. Anderson Hospital Blood Bank in 1946. The episode’s target audience is the general public as its purported goal is increasing the volume of people visiting the M.D. Anderson Hospital Blood Bank to donate blood to support the hospital’s needs for functioning. Our project seeks to determine whether the episode is an effective means of involving diverse sectors of the public in blood donation and, if not, to produce a pamphlet that highlights improvements that can be made by blood donation campaigners to ensure inclusion of minorities in their public outreach. This is especially important today as there is disparity in the blood donating population with regards to gender identity, race, ethnicity, religion, SES, geographic distribution, and sexual orientation.
(Picture from Saint-Matthews.org)
Our archive is a great starting point for examining how medium and presentation of a public health campaign might be more effective for one subset of the population over another. For example, the radio show was presented in English only. As a Houston-based show this limited the outreach population to English-speakers despite Houston’s sizeable Hispanic population. The medium of radio itself excludes deaf individuals and households without radios. These cursory observations, of course, must be validated by further research into population statistics from the time period, which we intend to conduct. This research can provide insights into blood bank campaigning today, as many of these efforts have been criticized for being exclusionary to gay men and minorities. Our focus on these biases is part of a wider discussion regarding the disparities in public health and safety efforts.
(Picture from SaintMatt.org)
Our pamphlet will identify key statistics from the 1940s pertinent to the blood donation campaign, and use this information to inform blood donation campaigners on how to effectively perform outreach to involve the general population in their campaign. We will address the state of blood donation in Houston and the U.S. and propose a campaign project to address the inequities that exist in this area. Our group will conduct this research using the online archive data base and from federal and state census data. We will also explore online resources provided by Fondren library to see if any archival data exists on the state of blood donation campaigns from the 1940s to the present. Some of our online research will focus on modern blood drive campaigns and data from the American Red Cross regarding these campaigns. This research will allow us to present on the history of blood drive campaign exclusionary practices as well as effective outreach techniques; our project will be useful for public health campaigners to keep in mind that special consideration is required to ensure campaign inclusivity.