Lately we’ve been talking a lot in THINK-Health’s workflows with clients about trust and health citizenship: how inspiring positive individual health behaviors can initiate a flywheel of public health goodness.

The UK’s National Health Service is acting on this concept through a new campaign to inspire people in the Black community to give blood. The NHS is linking the campaign to Marvel’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever movie launch, which drops in UK cinemas on 11 November.

Here’s the NHS video so you can get a sense of the public health message…

The call-to-action:

It’s #InOurBlood to save lives, together.








The backstory: there is a huge need to recruit more Black heritage blood donors to add to the supply.

Recently, the NHS Blood and Transplant department issued an “amber alert,” warning the short-supply of blood stocks. This shortage could threaten the care of patients dealing with sickle cell disease among other conditions.

Proof-in-the-pudding here is that the immediate success of the campaign. Minister for Health Will Quince is quoted on this, attesting that, “Record numbers of people of Black Caribbean and Black African heritage have already signed up to give blood thanks to NHS Blood and Transplant’s ‘Not Family, But Blood’ campaign.”

Specifically – in the first week of the campaign, there were 1,866 registrations from people of Black African and Caribbean descent — a 700% rise from the previous week.

Registrations to give blood can be made online at this link.

Health Populi’s Hot Points:  “The ‘Not Family But Blood’ NHS campaign highlights that although the Black community is diverse, one unifying thing is the power to provide life changing blood donations. This thought is amplified in the people of Wakanda – different tribes, but together they are stronger, supporting and protecting their community,”

the NHS press release on the blood donation program explains.

“Together….stronger, supporting and protecting their community.”

That’s health citizenship. I experienced the miracle of the power of social networks for blood donation for many years in the 1970s — before the era of the Internet in health care — when my mother was battling a rare form of leukemia. She was a member of a labor union, which called for blood donations for her personal benefit. That campaign yielded dozens of people contributing their blood, based on their affection for Polly Sarasohn. That labor union was Mom’s social network for health….which benefit patients beyond her own immediate need.

Health is social. Social networks are powerful in health.

Kudos to the NHS for imagining and implementing this inspiring and effective campaign.