Volume 35 Number 5 | October 2021

Pat Tille, PhD, MLS(ASCP)CM, AHI(AMT), FACSc, AMTF President

Patricia TilleIn 1992, I attended my first national ASCLS Annual Meeting. There was so much going on, I did not even know what to attend to get the most out of the meeting. I was the student forum representative for my state at that time. Over the next 19 years, I attended national ASCLS meetings as a representative of my state and region, along with eventually gaining appointments to national committees, all in support of medical laboratory science.

During those two decades when attending the Annual Meeting, I would always see a group of what I recognized as prominent individuals from ASCLS gathering together in the hotel lobby in the evening and then leaving on chartered busses to some unknown location and event. I often wondered what this mysterious group of individuals were doing, as this occurred every year.

After 19 years, two of my professional colleagues and personal mentors approached me and asked if I would consider a nomination for Alpha Mu Tau Fraternity (AMTF). At the time, I admit I really had no idea what that meant. I agreed and completed the nomination form, with the help of my two nominating sponsors. The form was, and still is, much like others that are used in ASCLS to gauge one’s level of involvement and commitment to ASCLS and the laboratory profession. In 2011, I was inducted as a new member of Alpha Mu Tau and was able to attend my first gathering of the fraternity that year.

AMTF History

What happens behind the seemingly hidden doors of Alpha Mu Tau? To understand what the central focus and purpose of Alpha Mu Tau is, I think it is important to briefly review the history of the fraternity. Alpha Mu Tau was established in 1948 by 21 members of ASMT (American Society of Medical Technology), what we fondly now call ASCLS. “The purpose of AMTF was, and is, to honor Medical Technologists who made outstanding contributions to Medical Technology, worthy of national recognition, and to assist Medical Technologists’ education endeavors with monetary grants.”

AMTF began from very humble beginnings to raise funds to support the development of laboratory professionals through grants and scholarships. The very first scholarship awarded by AMTF was for $100. Over the years, new methods of fundraising and collecting dues were needed to provide support for the growing need of laboratory professionals. “In 1972, AMTF qualified for the 501(c)(3) tax exempt status, allowing contributions to be deducted from one’s income taxes. Donations increased dramatically and over the years various trusts of deceased members were established to honor individuals and funds from member estates were received.”

In 1991, the Education and Research Fund of ASCLS asked AMTF to also manage its scholarship program along with the activities of AMTF. Today’s members of AMTF manage much more than $100. Each year the organization provides funds to developing laboratory professionals that total more than $40,000 annually, based on the previous year’s fundraising and growth of investments.

Membership is an Honor

How is it that in 73 years, this organization has been able to continually support the laboratory profession with scholarships and grants to so many members of ASCLS? The key is in the membership. AMTF is a fraternity, but what does that mean to a laboratory professional in ASCLS? If you go back to the history of AMTF and the purpose that was established by the founders of the organization, nomination to the organization is considered an honor to those who have made outstanding contributions in the field “worthy of national recognition.”

To be nominated and inducted into the fraternity, is just that, a national recognition of one’s scholarship activities, contribution to ASCLS and other laboratory professional organizations, and the profession. It is also an expectation that once honored by induction into AMTF, the member contributes to the fundraising activities through generous contributions to the organization to continue the legacy of providing scholarships and grants to future professionals in laboratory science.

Dedicated to the Profession

Why is AMTF, more than a fraternity? A fraternity is defined as a group of individuals that share a common profession or interest. And I would say, as laboratory professionals who have dedicated many years to supporting the profession through scholarship and service, the members are not just individuals who share a common profession and interest. They are professionals who have dedicated significant time and energy to the scholarship of the profession, to ASCLS and other laboratory organizations, to their communities, and to the financial support of the organization in service to others.

Each year ASCLS continues the tradition of holding an Annual Meeting that still includes more activities than one can attend during the short time the laboratory community comes together. And each year, the members of AMTF come together for one evening to recognize new members, carry out the annual business meeting of the organization, network with colleagues, but most of all to raise funds for scholarships and grants.

As a member of ASCLS, when you attend the Annual Meeting, you may see this group of laboratory professionals gathering together on an evening to embark on what I once thought was a “top secret” event or gala. Sometimes they are dressed in evening gowns and tuxes, and other times they may be dressed to attend a “Chicago Gangster Gala,” or an “Old West Saloon in Dallas.” And yes, we have our own J.R.! But no matter how unusual this may appear, remember every ASCLS member can be a nominee for AMTF through dedicated years of service to be recognized for their contributions to ASCLS and the profession; to support the recognition of future laboratory professionals; and to provide funding to ensure the future of those individuals through scholarships and grants.

After 19 years of service to the profession, I was honored to become a part of this group and encourage others to aspire to this national honor. As the 2021 president for AMTF, I would encourage you to check out our nomination form at www.Alphamutau.org. If you have questions, need assistance in completing a nomination form, or need members to sponsor you for induction, please reach out to me or any of our members and we would be glad to assist you.

Pat Tille is the Graduate Medical Laboratory Science Program Director for the University of Cincinnati, in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Each year members of AMTF come together for one evening to recognize new members, carry out the annual business meeting of the organization, network with colleagues, and raise funds for scholarships and grants. In 2021 AMTF gathered at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.

Barbara Snyderman and Marianne Downes at AMTF 2021

From left: Barbara Snyderman and Marianne Downes at the 2021 AMTF meeting at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.