Medical Laboratorians Respond to COVID-19
ASCLS Letter to Congress
On March 22, ASCLS sent a letter to Congressional leaders as well as the entire Senate and House of Representatives on behalf of the tens of thousands of professionals in medical laboratories.
The letter outlines the realities of SARS-CoV2/COVID-19 testing capacity; our concerns about how that testing is represented to the public; and how this crisis has revealed that clinical laboratories were already at the breaking point for a number of reasons, including the workforce shortage and cuts to Medicare reimbursements. The letter also asks Congress to act immediately to reinforce a strained clinical laboratory system through a variety of actions. Read the full letter.
ASCLS received positive feedback from both republican and democratic members of Congress, thanking us for clarifying the issues. ASCLS President Cindy Johnson was also interviewed by Bloomberg News. We will keep you informed as additional opportunities to be a labvocate arise.
Free Access to CLEC 2020 Keynote Address
The 2020 Clinical Laboratory Educators Conference (CLEC) Opening Keynote speaker, Catherine Florio Pipas, MD, MPH, gave a talk on Caring for Me – Caring for You: Strategies to Pursue Personal Health and Create a Culture of Wellness. Her presentation addressed the growing problem and impact of burnout in medical laboratory science and provided tools to work towards personal wellbeing.
To help ASCLS members deal with these stressful times and take care of your personal health, we are offering Dr. Pipas' Keynote recording free to members until April 10.
Virtual Break Room
ASCLS hosted a "Virtual Break Room" on March 26, 12-2 pm Eastern, to give members an opportunity to come together in a time of social distancing. Participants talked about how COVID-19 is impacting their personal and work lives and shared some interesting scientific news about testing for the virus. It was a therapeutic experience virtually hanging out with people who can empathize and speak your language!
Mark your calendar for the next Virtual Break Room, Tuesday, March 31, 12-2 pm Eastern. Join at https://zoom.us/s/631757580.
And join us for a Virtual Happy Hour, Thursday, April 2, 6-8 pm Eastern. Join at https://zoom.us/s/196644832.
ASCLS Leaders Forum to Address Elections and State Meeting Cancellations
ASCLS also hosted an open call for ASCLS Leaders on March 26, 7 pm Eastern, to discuss how to deal with canceled or rescheduled constituent society meetings and its impact on electing officers and delegates for the coming Society year. The call covered:
- A base framework for decision-making regarding state meetings, elections, etc.
- Considerations for spring meetings, including contracts with venues
- Governance issues
- Virtual meeting options
- 30-minute Q&A
For those who could not attend live, the recording can be accessed here.
ASCLS Monthly Webinars
Take advantage of this opportunity to learn about a new topic and earn 1.0 hour of P.A.C.E.® credit while you practice social distancing. All upcoming webinars are free for ASCLS members ($10 for nonmembers). If you can't attend live, register anyway—those who pre-register will receive access to the webinar recording.
April 9, 8 pm Eastern
Speakers: Patrick Cooney, ASCLS legislative consultant, and Jim Flanigan, CAE, ASCLS EVP
This webinar will help prepare laboratory professionals to be effective labvocates on a range of issues including the new Allied Health Personnel Shortage Act. The presenters will cover:
- An overview of federal workforce programs including Title VII and VIII, what they are intended to do, and previous attempts to include clinical laboratory science training programs.
- Background on the new legislation with insight into why it’s crafted the way it is and what it is intended to provide.
This presentation will also provide a briefing on current issues like laboratory reimbursement and regulation of laboratory developed tests. Register now.
Cultivating Resiliency: A New Frame on Stress
April 22, 12 pm Eastern
Speaker: Brandon Kozar, PsyD, MBA, Nationwide Children's Hospital
This presentation is designed to introduce a novel, yet empirically supported, way to look at stress and the impact it has on our professional and personal lives. Attendees will learn the empirically supported psychological habits and exercises of highly resilient individuals that they can practice and promote within their work groups. Register now.
ASCLS is approved as a provider of continuing education programs in the clinical laboratory sciences by the ASCLS P.A.C.E.® Program.
Medical Laboratory Professionals Week
5th Annual ASCLS Lab Week Run Will Go On
As laboratory professionals, we come to work in snowstorms, power outages, crisis and disaster events, and especially during pathogen outbreaks like what we are seeing with COVID-19. The laboratory never stops working for our patients and our nation. And like laboratory testing, the 2020 ASCLS Lab Week Virtual Run will go on.
In this time of social distancing, the virtual ASCLS Lab Week Run is something that everyone can safely do to support our community and stay connected. A virtual race, unlike a traditional race, can be run at any time during Medical Laboratory Professionals Week (April 19-25, 2020) and can be run anywhere. It’s also a great opportunity to practice self-care during this stressful time and move your body.
Over 1,300 race packets have already sold and only 150 of the 2020 medals remain. Each race packet will include a finisher medal and race bib. All proceeds go to grants and scholarships that help medical laboratory professionals attend ASCLS meetings, lobby representatives for the profession, and become future leaders in the field. Sign up today!
ASCLS Scholarship Applications Due April 1
The ASCLS Education & Research Fund, Inc., (E&R Fund) and Alpha Mu Tau Fraternity (AMTF) provide scholarships and grants available for students enrolled in programs in medical laboratory technology, medical laboratory science, and graduate degrees related to our profession. The E&R Fund also provides scholarship opportunities to students studying for the doctorate in clinical laboratory science.
Because of the disruption to all aspects of everyday life recently, the E&R Fund and AMTF will allow one extra week to receive the transcripts. Transcript RECEIPT deadline is April 8; all remaining application documents (application form, objectives, two letters of recommendation and two performance score sheets) are still due by April 1. Learn more.
Apply for the 2020-21 Leadership Academy
Develop your innate leadership abilities, leverage your unique strengths, and learn to become an effective leader in all aspects of your life. Apply for the 2019-20 Leadership Academy by April 1.
This intense, 12-month program is designed to train ASCLS members to be effective leaders generally, which will benefit ASCLS, the profession, and society as a whole. Participants will understand leadership within four increasingly larger spheres of influence: Self > Team > Profession > Public.
Candidates must be current ASCLS Professional or Ascending Professional members. Individuals may self-nominate or be nominated by any current ASCLS member. Current Developing Professional members are not eligible for the Leadership Academy. Please consider applying or nominating a worthy candidate for this exciting new Leadership Academy. Learn more.
Off the Bench Podcast is Back
In the first Off the Bench podcast episode of the year, Knowledge Hoarders and Control Freaks, Sam and Lindsey interview Beth Warning about the importance of sharing knowledge and succession planning in the medical laboratory.
For an upcoming episode, Off the Bench, wants to feature the voices of medical lab professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic. Share your story of how your lab is coming together to support the community. Send a voice memo with the subject line "Lab Voices" to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Subscribe to Off the Bench on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Podbean, or Google Play. Also, join the ASCLS Off the Bench Facebook Group to continue the discussions with Sam and Lindsey and share your feedback. Let's share ideas and talk nerdy.
New LEI Courses Available
The ASCLS Laboratory Educator Institute (LEI) recently added three new courses to the online institute:
- How to Conduct a Literature Review
- Tests and Test Questions: Best Practices for Composing Multiple Choice, True/False and Essays
- Did I Write a Clunker Test Question? - Using test item analysis to improve grading and test questions
With courses created by revered educators in the field, LEI is designed to provide professional development for medical laboratory educators in critical areas, including education/teaching, administration/leadership, clinical practice, and research. Gain more skills to succeed, and learn on your own time with convenient online courses.
ASCLS Voices Under 40
Spotlight: Nicole Buza, MLS(ASCP)CM, from Colorado Springs, Colorado
Nicole is currently the MLT Program Clinical Director at the Pima Medical Institute in Colorado Springs. “I believe that a profession’s voice and visibility is only as strong as its professional society. I want our profession to be heard and make an impact in healthcare—that is why I choose to stay actively involved in ASCLS.” Over the past few years, Nicole has been instrumental in promoting the laboratory profession through ASCLS. On the national level she has served as the ASCLS Student Forum Vice Chair and the Phlebotomy Scientific Assembly Chair. In her previous home state of Wisconsin, Nicole held several positions and was the state society president. “It takes all of us working together to make change happen for the betterment of our profession, and I hope that more people will see the value in a membership with ASCLS.”
When asked what her favorite personal accomplishment has been within ASCLS, Nicole responded with, “Working as the Phlebotomy Scientific Assembly Chair to make the requests of the SA members heard.” Through the requests of SA members, more educational opportunities are being brought forth as well as the possibility of a new membership category that is being discussed by the membership committee. Read more.
ASCLS Voices Under 40 honors ASCLS members who have shown exceptional commitment to the Society, the laboratory profession, and their community at large at a younger age in their professional career. Each month we spotlight one of the shining voices who were selected from many nominations across the country.
2020 Joint Annual Meeting Update
ASCLS and AGT are closely monitoring the developments around coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and its impact on the ability of organizations like ours to hold events. Based on current assessments, we are moving ahead with the final planning stages to hold our 2020 Joint Annual Meeting as scheduled, June 28 – July 2, in Louisville, Kentucky, and registration is open.
ASCLS and AGT place a high priority on the well-being of our attendees, speakers, industry partners, and guests. We are in communication with the Omni Louisville Hotel to ensure the environment is safe for our attendees. We will continue to follow the guidance and recommended safety measures of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
If necessary, ASCLS and AGT are prepared to extend registration deadlines to accommodate potential attendee uncertainty. We are also preparing for alternative meeting options that would provide attendees a full Joint Annual Meeting experience, in the event that the meeting cannot be held live and in person June 28-July 2.
Thank you for your patience and understanding in this time of uncertainty. And, most importantly, thank you for the vital work you are doing to combat the threat of COVID-19.
CLEC 2020 Opening Keynote Audience
CLEC Breaks Attendance Records for Fifth Straight Year The 2020 Clinical Laboratory Educators Conference (CLEC) was held February 27-29 in Orlando. We saw 620 registered attendees, which breaks the registration record for the fifth straight year. In addition, we had 25 industry partners, and the ASCLS Education & Research Fund raised nearly $2,000 for scholarships with its Silent Auction.
For the first time, CLEC offered a New Educator Workshop (NEW) to address the needs of those new to educator positions in clinical laboratory science-related programs. Nearly 80 people participated in the workshop, which was very well-received:
- "As a new educator myself after spending 22 years in the National Health Service, this was by far one of the most useful sessions that I attended."
- "I learned a lot! I also felt comforted knowing everyone else was in the same boat as me and I wasn't alone in the journey as a new educator."
- "It really helped me to realize I don't have to know everything right away and it will be okay."
CLEC 2020 included 25 poster presentations. You can view digital versions of posters that are available as PDFs, and watch Teresa Wolfe's virtual presentation of her poster, Integration of the Centers for Disease Control Competency Guidelines for Public Health Laboratory Professionals into a Medical Laboratory Training Program.
Here are a more comments from attendees about their experience at CLEC 2020:
- "It was great to get new ideas and see new equipment and then have time to discuss new ways to improve our program."
- "It brings all the laboratory professional educators together giving us an opportunity to learn from each other. Also, it allows us to see others' strengths and struggles in maintaining a successful program."
- "I love CLEC and try to go every year I get a chance. I always learn lots about teaching that I am able to take back to my school and my students, and I love networking with new educators as well as educators I tend to see many years in a row."
- "The sessions were amazing and the descriptions with handouts helped tremendously at being able to determine which session I wanted to attend."
We've already begun plans for CLEC 2021, which will be held in Denver, Colorado, February 25-27, at the Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel.
You can submit program ideas and proposals for the 2021 meeting by May 15. All confirmed speakers will receive a registration discount, so send in your ideas and join us in Denver next year!
Connect: The Community Conversations
In this time of social distancing, ASCLS Connect is an invaluable way to ask questions, share feedback, and stay connected with your family of laboratorians. Here are some of the ways ASCLS members are coming together to deal with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic:
- Members are sharing how laboratories are handling staffing/low census time due to COVID-19.
- To assist with the sudden shift to teaching online, members shared a digital slide database free resource for teaching hematology, as well as advice on handing student labs.
- Members also weighed in on topics for CDC outreach on COVID-19, which will be addressed in the CDC weekly calls with clinical laboratories.
- ASCLS will continue to share CDC alerts and updates for laboratories through the Open Forum.
Download the MemberCentric App on your mobile device to get the community conversations and more in the palm of your hand.