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    Armed Services Blood Program Recognizes Retired Navy Commander Michael Libby as the 2022 ASBP Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient

    Armed Services Blood Program Recognizes Retired Navy Commander Michael Libby as the 2022 ASBP Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient

    Photo By Sarah Lopez | The Armed Services Blood Program (ASBP) is pleased to announce the recipient of the...... read more read more



    Story by Jonathan Davis 

    Defense Health Agency

    The Armed Services Blood Program (ASBP) is pleased to announce the recipient of the 2022 ASBP’s Lifetime Achievement Award (LAA): retired Navy Commander Michael (Mike) C. Libby. As a member of the military blood banking community, Libby has dedicated an impressive 33-years of distinguished government service to lifesaving, and has left a long-lasting impact on the ASBP, the blood banking community, and other government organizations.

    “Libby is an exemplary member of the military blood community,” stated Navy Capt. Les Riggs, ASBP Division Chief. “He is well-deserving of this lifetime achievement award, and the ASBP was fortunate to have such a dedicated and hardworking leader.”

    Libby is a native of Dover, New Hampshire and the son of retired Air Force Master Sergeant Alvin and Christiane Libby. He graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 1981, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Medical Technology. After completing his undergraduate studies, he spent five years working at a medical technology position at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center before receiving a Navy officer commission in 1985.

    Libby dedicated himself to blood banking beginning in 1987 at Subic Bay, Philippines, as a laboratory, blood bank, and donor officer at Naval Hospital Cubi Point. Here, he established a robust blood donor program and was also responsible for inspecting Navy ships that were in port for their ability to safely collect and transfuse blood under emergency conditions at sea.

    After being stationed in the Philippines, Libby earned a Master of Science in Immunohematology along with a Specialty in Biological Sciences Degree in 1991. He was then assigned to Naval Medical Center San Diego as the officer-in-charge of the Navy’s largest donor center operation, with additional duty as Director, Navy Western Area Blood System (WABS). Among many other accomplishments, he managed to completely re-write the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for the Pacific Fleet’s contingency donor operations and develop a highly efficient blood inventory system for maintaining an adequate blood supply. During this time, Libby also implemented an advanced and novel procedure for the manufacture of fibrin glue, a material which reduced the need for blood transfusion.

    In 1993, Libby was assigned to the Naval Hospital, Okinawa and assumed multiple positions, including US Pacific Command (USPACOM) Joint Program Office director; USPACOM Navy Component Blood Program director; and the Navy’s first USPACOM Marine Component Blood Program director in addition to being the blood manager for a busy blood bank and frozen blood depot. During this multiyear assignment, he spearheaded the initiative for the Pacific Air Force Command (PACAF) to deploy a Transportable Blood Transshipment Center (TBTC) to Camp Carol in Korea and a second on Guam in support of operations. Libby was also responsible for the prepositioning of 48,000 units of frozen blood to support Korea and Naval ships in Pacific AOR (Area of Responsibility). Always striving to improve, Libby planned and executed the first PACOM Time Phases Force Deployment Data schedule for blood product support. This allowed for further interoperability and improved communications between treatment facilities, and was a critical achievement for the transport of wartime blood products.

    From 1997 to 2001, Libby was assigned to Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, Virginia as blood bank team leader; Navy Mid-Atlantic Blood System director; and Navy Blood Operations for Commander in Chief, Atlantic Fleet director. During this period, he wrote the Navy’s first service and material supplier qualifications procedure, and also developed a staffing model measuring the “cost of quality” in blood bank product manufacturing. This model went on to be adopted by the Navy Bureau of Medicine to manage consolidation initiatives.

    In 2001, Libby was assigned as Assistant Director of the Navy Blood Program, and shortly after, he became Director of the Navy Blood Program in 2002. As director, he directly supported the Navy’s Responsible Head for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), ensuring they maintained their crucially important FDA licensure as well as their inspection and accreditation approval with the Association for the Advancement of Blood and Biotherapies (AABB) (formerly named the American Association of Blood Banks).

    As Riggs recalled, “No matter when we called or what was happening, we could always depend on [Libby’s] steadfast support paired with a calm demeanor. He always knew how to put us at ease during times of tremendous stress or pressure.”

    Under his direction, the Navy increased its blood contribution in support of OEF (Operation Enduring Freedom)/OIF (Operation Iraqi Freedom) by 35%. Libby also led an effort to incorporate a new “closed” technology system to extend the shelf life of frozen blood products.

    “He has consistently strived to improve patient care, streamline logistics, and reduce redundancies, and greatly contributed toward creating a more medically-ready force,” explained Retired Air Force Colonel James Berger, 2011 ASBP LAA recipient, who worked with Libby as Chief of the Air Force Blood Program. He continued to say “the three Service Blood Program Offices could always count on Mike’s calm and detailed reasoning when things needed to get done.”

    After a successful tenure as Director, Navy Blood Program, Libby assumed the top blood bank position in the Department of Defense as Director, ASBP in 2004. He ensured that blood products were provided in support of OEF/OIF, responsible for over tens of thousands of life-sustaining blood product transfusions for service members and their families at home and abroad. He also oversaw the writing of a successful $25 million five-year plan regarding the ASBP Frozen Blood Replacements Policy to ensure that it met all necessary OPLAN (Operational/Operations Plan) requirements. In addition, Libby secured funding and authorizations which led to the conversion of 23 previously contracted positions being converted into permanent government positions, including 20 blood donor recruiters and supervisors, program office communications and marketing personnel.

    Highlighting the importance of this funding action, retired Army Colonel Anthony “Tony” Polk, and first recipient of the ASBP LAA in 2009, stated that “This one action alone is more than any ASBP director has done to guarantee that the ASBP would survive in an era of future budget cuts and still be able to provide adequate and timely blood support to all the combatant commands.”

    After retiring from the Navy on December 31, 2008, Libby entered the Veterans Affairs Federal Government Civilian Service as a National Enforcement Coordinator for Pathology and Laboratory Medical Services, Diagnostic Services in the summer of 2011. In January 2014, he was promoted to Executive Assistant to the Executive Director, Diagnostic Services, Assistant Under Secretary for Health for Clinical Services, Veterans Health Administration. Libby fully retired in 2021 and has enjoyed spending time with his family and friends as well as sailing.

    Throughout his career, Libby has shown dedication to the military blood program and done much to ensure its success. As noted by retired Navy Commander Jerry A. Holmberg, 2014 ASBP LAA recipient, “CDR Libby envisioned and set the pathway forward to integrate the Armed Services Blood Program into a high-reliability organization (HRO) of the present-day Military Health System.”

    For these reasons among many others, the ASBP congratulates retired Navy Commander Michael Libby on earning this year's ASBP Lifetime Achievement Award.



    Date Taken: 11.01.2022
    Date Posted: 11.03.2022 13:39
    Story ID: 432403

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