There are three major professional associations involved with blood banking. These are the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB), the Council of Community Blood Centers (CCBC), and the American Blood Resources Association (ABRA). Other organizations such as the American Medical Association, the College of American Pathologists, the American College of Surgeons, and the American Society of Anesthesiologists, may from time to time take positions on blood-bank-related issues and maintain blood bank or transfusion medicine committees. The AABB and CCBC are the only professional organizations devoted exclusively to blood banking and transfusion medicine. The ABRA is the trade association representing the plasma fractionation industry. Each organization is described briefly in the following section.
Established in 1947, the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB) is a nonprofit scientific and educational association for individuals and institutions engaged in the many facets of blood and tissue banking and transfusion and transplantation medicine. It is the only organization devoted exclusively to blood banking and blood transfusion services. Institutional members of the AABB are classified either as a community blood center, a hospital blood bank, or a hospital transfusion service. The community blood center collects blood and distributes it to several hospitals but does not transfuse blood. A hospital blood bank both collects and transfuses blood, a hospital transfusion service transfuses but does not collect blood.
Member facilities of the AABB collect virtually all of the nation's blood supply and transfuse more than 80 percent. Approximately 2,400 institutions (community, regional, and ARC blood centers; hospital blood banks; and hospital transfusion services) and 9,500 individuals are members of the AABB. The services and programs of the AABB include inspection and accreditation, standard setting, certification of reference laboratories, operation of a rare donor file, accreditation of parentage testing laboratories, group purchasing programs, certification of specialists (technologists) in blood banking, educational programs, legislative and regulatory assistance to members, participation in the National Marrow Donor Program, participation in the National Blood Foundation, which provides funds for research in transfusion medicine and blood banking, and participation in the National Blood Exchange Program, which facilitates the movement of blood among centers with surplus and those with shortages.