Ph. D. Candidate Serves as a Discussant at the Air University Research Showcase


By Sara Belligoni, Ph.D. Candidate


Sara Belligoni, a doctoral candidate in Security Studies at the School of Politics, Security, and International Affairs, served as a Discussant at the Air University (AU) Research Showcase for the panel “Strategic Direction for Blood Banks” on June 7, 2021.

The conference, organized by AU in partnership with MGMWERX, served as a forum of discussion between AU students, academics and industry experts. The virtual conference provided a unique opportunity to hear from airmen and airwomen about their research on topics relevant to the military and those in the industry.

Said Belligoni, “I felt very honored to serve as a Discussant together with Brian Hastings, director of Alabama Emergency Management, because it means my research is valued and my expertise is recognized.” She adds “Indeed, when my expertise can serve to disseminate groundbreaking studies such as the one of Lt. Col. Karen Buikema discussed during the panel, it means that all efforts and commitment to my research were worth it.”

During the panel, participants discussed the importance of blood bank management within the military field and the crucial role played by them within the Golden Hour. When civilians or militaries intervene in post-disaster or post-conflict settings, medical teams face several and similar challenges that make the blood banks management complex: on one hand, there are clinical challenges related to ensuring that the blood meets the standards, and, on the other hand, there are logistics challenges related to the supply chain.

Belligoni adds, “I think Lt. Col. Buikema’s research is excellent, not only because it shed light on current practices and improvements in blood banks management, but because it is carried out by someone who works in the field.” And she continues, “In fact, I believe that scientific research can only advance when theory meets practice, and this was the core value aiming the AU Research Showcase.”

Belligoni has researched the fields of civil-military humanitarian coordination, disaster policy and emergency management for several years now. While at UCF, she is investigating to what extent institutional and political factors shape emergency management procedural arrangements. Belligoni’s interest in the field begun several years ago when her home country, Italy, was struck by several natural hazards in a short time.

Belligoni says, “I strongly believe that when local communities, civil society and armed forces work together in disaster response, the outcome is much more efficient yet much more effective.” And she adds, “I am glad we had the opportunity to discuss what civilians and militaries can teach each other for blood banks management thanks to Lt. Col. Buikema’s research and I much look forward to seeing what’s next for improving such management within relief operations.”


Link to the panel’s recording:

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