Countdown to CSTM 2024: Bringing research to life

Dr. Jennie Haw

The Canadian Society for Transfusion Medicine (CSTM) annual conference, held in partnership with Canadian Blood Services and Héma-Québec, is taking place May 23-26 in Saskatoon. Each year, the CSTM conference provides opportunity for health-care professionals in transfusion medicine to share knowledge, learn about recent advancements in transfusion medicine, and connect with colleagues. Coinciding with the CSTM conference, Canadian Blood Services also hosts an annual Research Day event for invited members of our research and education network.

In this second post in a series of blogs counting down to CSTM 2024, Dr. Jennie Haw shares her insights as a Canadian Blood Services social scientist who is presenting at the conference and helping plan Canadian Blood Services’ Research Day.

Dr. Jennie Haw poses for a photo
Dr. Jennie Haw is a Canadian Blood Services social scientist and member of the donation policy and studies team led by Dr. Mindy Goldman.

1. How will you be contributing to CSTM 2024 and/or Research Day?  

I’ll be an attendee for the CSTM 2024 conference and will also complete a presentation on Friday, May 24 during the oral abstracts session that is titled Understanding priorities and barriers to donation for communities of African and South Asian ancestry.  

“As one of two social scientists at Canadian Blood Services, I always look for opportunities to highlight the work that we do and what we contribute to the blood operator and transfusion medicine more broadly.” 

I am also contributing to Research Day as a member of the planning committee. The approach we took as a planning committee for Research Day this year was to think of the breadth of research that happens at Canadian Blood Services, and to represent those equitably. I’d give a shout out to knowledge broker, Travis Sztainert, and programs and reporting coordinator, Casey Kapitany, for the great job they are doing of chairing and organizing the planning team! One of the things they brought to our first planning committee meeting was a publication on the selected topics from the state of the science in transfusion medicine , which highlighted key areas of scientific research to pay attention to in transfusion medicine. By overlaying that with a view to equitable representation for research at Canadian Blood Services, we identified four main topic areas for the 2024 Research Day agenda: donors and donation, emerging pathogens and infectious risks, new frontiers in discovery science, and innovative techniques and technologies. 

2. Why do you think it is important to share knowledge & research at these events? 

When attendees talk about research with each other at events like these, through formal presentations and the informal conversations that occur, these interactions help bring research to life. You can’t replicate that by downloading a paper and reading it; yes, that’s one way to disseminate knowledge, but in my view, in-person conferences are invaluable for sharing what we’re learning. 

“Research shouldn't be done just for research's sake. It should do something; it has to be shared, disseminated, and discussed to be active and alive. Conferences like CSTM and events like Research Day provide the opportunity for that to occur.”  

3. What are you most looking forward to about CSTM 2024 and/or Research Day? 

I really like hearing what other people are working on in areas of research outside of my own area of focus. The first time I went to Research Day was while I was a postdoctoral fellow working with former Canadian Blood Services senior scientist, Dr. Dana Devine. I remember the experience was a great way to see what else was going on at Canadian Blood Services beyond my own work.  

“My research isn’t done in a vacuum; it has most impact if it's done in connection to the other priorities of the organization and to the work of other scientists, too. So being aware of and connected to all of that is what allows me to come up with the most effective questions for my work.” 

I'd really like to put in a plug for the last plenary, Indigenous health and wellbeing, perspectives from northern Saskatchewan, scheduled for the final day of CSTM. I’m really looking forward to that talk because I think it’s important to focus on Indigenous health for so many reasons. We have a Reconciliation Action Plan at Canadian Blood Services that makes a commitment to the important work of reconciliation, and this requires learning about Indigenous health and wellbeing. We need to hear and learn from Indigenous peoples about their health priorities, the challenges to or perspectives on accessing health care, and I think we still have a lot of work to do to understand what health means from an Indigenous world view.  

The theme for CSTM 2024 is “Bridging transfusion communities”. Visit the CSTM website for more information about the conference and follow along with #cstm_scmt as it gets underway in May!  

Canadian Blood Services – Driving world-class innovation  

Through discovery, development and applied research, Canadian Blood Services drives world-class innovation in blood transfusion, cellular therapy and transplantation—bringing clarity and insight to an increasingly complex healthcare future. Our dedicated research team and extended network of partners engage in exploratory and applied research to create new knowledge, inform and enhance best practices, contribute to the development of new services and technologies, and build capacity through training and collaboration. Find out more about our research impact

The opinions reflected in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Canadian Blood Services nor do they reflect the views of Health Canada or any other funding agency.