Canadian Blood Services congratulates board chair Leah Hollins on honourary doctor of laws from University of Manitoba

May 16, 2014 (Winnipeg) - There’s a new doctor on Canadian Blood Services’ board of directors. Yesterday, Leah Hollins, the board’s chair, was awarded an honourary doctor of laws from the University of Manitoba. Leah received the honour during the faculty of medicine convocation ceremony in Winnipeg.

“Leah’s game-changing ideas, passion for collaboration and trailblazing success in shifting the way Canadians donate organs bring distinction to the University of Manitoba. We are delighted today to recognize Leah with an honourary doctor of laws,” says University of Manitoba Vice-President (research and international) Dr. Gary Glavin.

As chair of Canadian Blood Services’ board of directors, “Dr. Hollins” identified a gap in organ and tissue donation and transplantation (OTDT) in Canada. This led to federal, provincial and territorial ministries giving Canadian Blood Services a new mandate in 2008 to assume the activities of the former Canadian Council for Donation and Transplantation, set up national registries and develop a plan for an improved, integrated OTDT system in Canada in collaboration with the OTDT community.

Since then, the plan called Call to Action has propelled the creation of national registries and programs, such as the Living Donor Paired Exchange, and the number of organ, particularly kidney, transplants in Canada has dramatically increased. This result has led to improved patient prognoses and significant health-care savings with fewer patients requiring costly dialysis.

“It is a personal privilege for me to work alongside Leah,” says Chief Executive Officer Dr. Graham Sher. “I am truly inspired by her passion and drive to compel Canada’s health-care system to evolve and better meet patients’ needs.”

Leah is also a member of the departmental audit committee with Veterans’ Affairs Canada and is the chair of the board of directors of Maximus BC, Inc. She is the former chair of the Canadian Council for Donation and Transplantation and of the British Columbia Addictions Foundation, as well as a former member of the Canadian Institute for Health Information. Leah also served as deputy minister of health for the Government of British Columbia.

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