Happy Medical Laboratory Professionals Week 2016
It's that time of year again, when we celebrate and acknowledge Medical Laboratory Professionals (technicians, scientists, specialists, pathologists and others).
I receive a lot of email and read several misleading posts about "Lab Week." So I am essentially reprinting a primer to share with colleagues.
The American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science (ASCLS) website has a very concise history of this celebration which, like the profession it highlights, has experienced many changes. It was started in 1975 as National Medical Laboratory Week under the auspices of American Society for Medical Technology (ASMT) which later became ASCLS.
Over the years several other laboratory organizations signed on as co-sponsors. For example, this year there are 14 organizations cooperating in the effort to salute the nation's estimated 300, 000 medical laboratorians.
In 2005 advocates from ASCLS spearheaded a change to rename it NMLP Week, with the "P" standing for Professionals. This was a deliberate attempt to emphasize that the celebration was for actual, real, live, talented, educated, hard-working professionals and not simply a room (the lab). This change was small but very significant and evocative.
Traditionally, each year a group of professionals selected a catchy slogan as that year's theme; often a catchy double entendre. In 2010 it was decided to brand the celebration with a permanent recurrent theme, "Laboratory Professionals Get Results."
Then in 2012, the word "national" was dropped from the name to make the title less unwieldy. So here we are many years later celebrating the latest iteration: MLPW.
For 2016, ASCLS has issued a 30 day challenge urging laboratorians to write (each day in April) a short synopsis of another aspect of their life and experiences in the medical laboratory. They suggest use of the hashtags #labweek and #lab4life.
Much has changed over these 40 years. We have seen regulatory changes, emergence of disruptive technology, nanotechnology and healthcare reform. But one thing has not changed: the skill, knowledge, competence and dedication of a cadre of medical laboratory professionals who work diligently, often behind the scenes, to advance the health of this nation.
To all my colleagues, I say: take a bow. You deserve it. Happy MLPW!