LSU Health New Orleans Newsroom

L3 Blood Drive Honors the Memory of Exceptional Young Man

April 7, 2022

medical student blood drive

To address a critical blood shortage and carry on his tradition of service, the third-year class of LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine recently organized a Blood Drive to honor the memory of James Benjamin Miller, III. James was the son of Dr. Fern Tsien, Assistant Dean for Medical Student Research and Associate Professor, Department of Genetics. James served as Vice President of Community Engagement at Tulane University, where he was a philosophy and history major. He went missing and may have drowned on November 26, 2021, while vacationing with his family.

When Dr. Ellen Connor, Assistant Professor of Clinical Pathology, began seeing a severe blood shortage at UMC, she went to work to get blood drives organized, all in James’ memory.

“The New Orleans region is in dire need of blood donations during this nationwide shortage,” notes Dr. Connor. “The Blood Center supplies over 50 hospitals and numerous outpatient transfusion facilities in Southeast Louisiana and Southern Mississippi, so all donations directly impact our region. In fact, University Medical Center in New Orleans depends on these blood products daily to treat many of their patients with emergencies and chronic diseases as well as those undergoing routine surgical procedures.”

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Casey Norlin, Class of 2023 VP of Community Affairs, and her L3 Class worked with Dr. Connor to set up the drive at LSU Health New Orleans. The Blood Center send two bloodmobile buses for the LSU Health New Orleans campus on March 25.

“Students from every medical school class were able to donate on campus via the Blood Center's 'bloodmobile' buses, or anywhere across Louisiana,” Norlin reports. “Over the course of the weekend, we had over 100 people show up to donate!”

medical student blood drive
As far as blood drives go, it exceeded typical participation, several times over.

“I am touched by the outpouring of support from the LSUHSC community, particularly the 3rd year medical students, for organizing a Blood Drive in memory of my son James,” says Dr. Tsien. “The great teamwork and coordination between the Blood Center and our medical students, faculty, and staff is inspiring. Everyone's contribution is greatly appreciated, whether it involved organizing, donating blood, or publicizing the event. James' passion for community service leaves a legacy that continues to save lives, with more than 100 units of blood donated on his behalf by the LSUHSC community alone.”

You can learn more about this exceptional young man by reading James’ obituary at this link.