Kristen Croom, MLS(ASCP)CMMBCM, ASCLS Region X Director

ASCLS-Hawaii participates in the University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine’s Joint Health Opportunities Conference.
Members of ASCLS-Hawaii volunteer at a Girl Scouts STEM Fest.

Typically, advocacy is thought of as lobbying our congressional representatives at a state or national level. This can be done by visiting these leaders to discuss your specific concerns. Or you can donate to a Political Action Committee (PAC) for a professional lobbyist to work with these representatives to create bills addressing your concerns.

ASCLS does an amazing job at organizing the membership for national lobbying efforts. The constituent societies also work at the state level to organize lobbying efforts. ASCLS-Hawaii does not have many official lobbying efforts regarding laboratory services, because we have a strong licensure for our laboratory professionals. This has led Hawaii to take a different approach to advocacy efforts. For the last few years the board has focused on advocating for our profession to students and non-laboratory science college students.

ASCLS-Hawaii chose to focus on promoting the clinical laboratory profession to different age groups in the state. The board made a dedicated effort to become involved in community activities that involve students with an interest in science. They use these activities to share their passion for laboratory medicine and how each laboratorian is an important member of the healthcare team.

“ASCLS-Hawaii realizes that students are the future of laboratories and our professional organization. This is one way they are using advocacy to promote the profession.”

Some of the activities include participating in STEM fairs for girls and working with the medical school on a health careers day. ASCLS-Hawaii realizes the importance of encouraging students to investigate clinical laboratory science, and by participating in these events more students can learn about our field and our critical role in healthcare.

ASCLS-Hawaii also participates in the CLS program at University of Hawaii. They attend the welcome fair for new students and attend one of the class sessions to discuss the importance of professional associations. This provides the opportunity for students to see ASCLS and hear about the different ways we help laboratorians and our patients.

The annual Hawaii Clinical Laboratory Conference recently changed its meeting location to the local community college. This change allowed ASCLS-Hawaii to interact with the MLT students and other non-laboratory science students. The participants were able to attend a job fair and provided an opportunity for non-MLT students to gain some understanding of the program.

The ASCLS-Hawaii board feels strongly about working with the different programs to grow future laboratorians. They realize the importance of participating in community and university events. They can use these events to boost engagement with ASCLS members who want to participate and give back to the students. ASCLS-Hawaii realizes that students are the future of laboratories and our professional organization. This is one way they are using advocacy to promote the profession.

Kristen Croom is director of Pathology and Molecular Services at Queen’s Medical Center in Honolulu, Hawaii.