Volume 35 Number 5 | October 2021

Hassan Aziz, PhD, FACSs, MLS(ASCP)CM, ASCLS President

Hassan AzizThis year’s Joint Annual Meeting, Lab JAM 2021, with a hybrid combination of in-person and remote plenary and break-out educational sessions, was a huge success. Thanks to the many presenters and participants who converged in Louisville, Kentucky, and those who joined virtually throughout the country. Thank you to the Annual Meeting Steering Committee, the Abstract and Proposal Review Committee, ASCLS staff, the hundreds of volunteers who organized this event, and the many sponsors who made this possible. The well-attended meeting—about 730 people—included presentations from a variety of current and timely topics. Despite all the challenges associated with travel, it was great seeing familiar faces and making new friends. I am proud to be a part of this community.

We can all agree that we have at least one thing in common, and that is our professional association in laboratory science. As professionals, we must remain in the mainstream of our beloved field. One of the best ways to remain connected is to join a professional association or organization. They can enhance professional development and provide endless networking opportunities, like the one we enjoyed at Lab JAM 2021. Professional organizations publish journals, newsletters, and websites with invaluable and up-to-date information. They host and organize valuable educational and practical events. They provide advocacy for clinical laboratory science practitioners. In addition, most of them offer annual meetings full of opportunities of professional development, networking, and trade shows.

If you have not joined ASCLS or renewed your membership yet, please do so immediately. If you are a member, please be active and volunteer in a committee or a task force and make your voice heard. However, do not get frustrated if things did not go your way from the beginning.

When people share a common interest (like joining ASCLS), there are often wide discrepancies in the return expectation for each. Some people do nothing at all, others make small contributions when they can, while a third group contributes substantial amounts of time and effort. Why is there such a wide range in volunteer efforts? Are those who make larger commitments simply more interested in the greater good? Do they have more spare time on their hands, looking for a way to avoid boredom? I do not think so!

People who get involved in constituencies often experience frustration when they try to get others involved. Dedicated people are frequently under-rewarded workhorses who provide collective benefits for all members. Why do we do it? It is simply because we believe we can make a noticeable difference in our lives? We do it because we care about our profession. We do it hoping someone will carry the torch. Optimism is contagious, just like pessimism. We must remain optimistic about the outcome of our work. The hard work will eventually be recognized. It may take a few weeks or months to collect the fruits of the hard work. Be patient but be determined and focused.

Hassan Aziz is Dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.