Welcome mat 2Greetings! I’m your host, Eric Stanford, and on behalf of the Promotion of the Profession Committee, I wanted to welcome you to the ASCLS Bench Connection. The Bench Connection is a new way to share stories, ideas, and spark discussion amongst likeminded peers. Do you remember the ASCLS articles in the Advance for Laboratory Professionals magazine? The Bench Connection aims to continue that tradition in an online, blog-style format.

What makes this different from the ASCLS Connect communities, or the CLS journal? The ASCLS Connect is driven by community input, directed towards information sharing and answering questions from fellow members. The CLS journal is a peer reviewed, scientific-based repository of research and best practices. The Bench Connection strives to be a middle ground, to be a place where individuals can submit more formal writing than a forum post, but less rigorous than a journal article. Think of the Bench Connection more as a magazine (our Advance roots!).

Each month, we’ll have a theme – mostly to be used as a writing prompt. For example, if one month our theme is, “How have you given back as a laboratorian?” someone might write about how their laboratory formed a team to raise money for a heart walk, using the opportunity to spotlight the vital contributions of the laboratory to the health care team. Someone else might want to detail how their laboratory donated unused coats to a children’s hospital coat drive – and what it meant to the team to participate. How did you come up with the idea? Who did you contact to get it started? Wouldn’t it be great if this sparked someone else’s imagination to bring these ideas back to their lab? That is the mission of The Bench Connection.

How will we accomplish this? The Promotion of the Profession committee will develop a calendar of themes to spark your creative writing. Once submitted, posts will be reviewed posted to the blog for ASCLS members to read. Discussions can branch off from the blog to the community forums. We’ll begin soliciting writers from all corners of the country in every constituent society. What if you don’t want to write about the monthly theme but you have a great article you’re dying to share? Send it, we want it!

We’ll share more information soon on the mechanics of the blog, but for now – WELCOME! Get those creative writing juices flowing!

Our first theme is: Advocacy. How does this apply to you and your lab? What ideas can you share with your colleagues across ASCLS?