Xavier Magazine

Tissue Bank

The world of human tissue is more than skin deep. Just ask Edward Robb, a 1984 M.B.A. graduate and the director of the Ohio Valley Tissue and Skin Center. Or Dr. Glenn Warden, a 1999 executive M.B.A. graduate who is chief of surgery at Shriner’s Burns Institute in Cincinnati and the skin center’s chief executive officer. Or Don Douthit, a 1986 and 1989 graduate who’s the center’s education director. Or even Tony Iacobucci, who teaches undergraduate business classes and is the center’s marketing director.

They’ll tell you how important it is to preserve skin or to harvest other tissues such as bones, tendons, heart valves and veins. But they haven’t a clue why so many people with a Xavier connection are drawn to working at the center. They just know they’re on the same page when it comes to helping others.

“We’re the largest providers of skin in the country,” Warden says. And one of the quickest to respond. The day after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the center sent 102 square feet of preserved skin to hospitals treating burn victims.

Formed as a nonprofit in 1986 out of a skin bank inside Shriner’s hospital, the center now processes 500 to 600 square feet of skin a year, which is sent worldwide to help people recover from burns. The center also harvests other tissues, last year processing more than 13,000 products.

“We remove what we can to improve the quality of life for other people,” Robb says. “Not only do we want to live longer, we want to live like we’re young. We supply the parts.”

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