‘Opening Possibilities’ Hits High Note on Sterile Packaging Day

‘Opening Possibilities’ Hits High Note on Sterile Packaging Day

Sterile Packaging Day’s theme of “Opening Possibilities” struck a positive and unifying chord on February 7, 2024. The Sterilization Packaging Manufacturers Council (SPMC®) developed the theme and led the celebration on LinkedIn and at MD&M West in Anaheim, California. 

“Each time a clinician opens a sterile pouch to treat a patient, the possibility for better or improved health is created,” explains Kathleen Daly Mascolo, vice president at Beacon Converters, Inc. and marketing chair of SPMC®. 

That simple assertion was the inspiration for Opening Possibilities, a salute to the nurses and medical professionals who administer routine care as well as lifesaving procedures with the help of sterilized packaging. 

SPMC® provided free downloadable graphics saluting nurses and encouraged those celebrating Sterile Packaging Day to recognize and thank nurses in their communities through social media tributes. Many took up the suggestion, writing and posting notes of gratitude and admiration for their healthcare colleagues and friends. 

Opening Possibilities also had a direct tie-in with the Informa + SPMC® Red Cross Blood Drive, which was held on Sterile Packaging Day at the Anaheim Convention Center. 

“The Red Cross blood supply was critically low at the time,” Mascolo says. “Each blood donation was made possible, in part, because of sterile packaging. We’re so grateful these selfless donations opened lifesaving possibilities for the recipients during that critical time.” 

To bolster donors’ wellness and stamina, SPMC® distributed iron-rich snacks in sterile pouches. To recognize and commemorate their donations, SPMC® took photos of many blood donors holding a lightweight commemorative Sterile Packaging Day frame. 

“Donating blood while attending a large trade show takes time out of an already tight schedule, and it’s physically taxing,” Mascolo adds. “We wanted to show our appreciation through small supportive gestures of recognition and thanks for their incredible contribution.” 

Opening Possibilities served to underscore the packaging design considerations that go into ensuring ease of use in various healthcare settings. This concept was top of mind for Julie Ambrose, market development manager at Printpack Medical. 

“Intuitive packaging that allows contents to be delivered onto a sterile field easily and without contamination means clinicians are not distracted from their patients,” she says. 

The theme also resonated beyond the literal interpretation of pouch opening, spilling over into the possibilities being opened by the entire medical packaging supply chain. 

For Chuck Taylor, principal packaging engineer at Medtronic, Opening Possibilities signals “exploring new technologies in the space.” 

Amy Stewart, product development manager at Printpack Medical, sees that “invention and possibilities go hand in hand … [where] each role in the value chain can create an impact.” 

For Mascolo, who has worked on SPMC® initiatives for over 20 years, “Opening Possibilities echoes the mission of the SPMC® and its commitment to protecting patients.” 

Bill Cassidy, product development manager at Amcor Flexibles, agrees. 

By “providing input to test methods and guidance documents, we’re ultimately helping the lives of patients,” he says. 

SPMC® is making plans for Sterile Packaging Day 2025, which will be held on Wednesday, February 5. More details will be available soon. 

Editor’s note: In the photo, Amy Stewart, product development manager at Printpack Medical, participates in the SPMC® blood drive that was part of Sterile Packaging Day in February. Photo submitted by SPMC®.

Lourdes Pogue is partner and creative director at Merakke. Reach her at lourdes@merakke.com