About Critical Values

Critical Values is the go-to resource for the entire laboratory team, providing insight and information on the latest research, information, and issues within pathology and laboratory medicine. The print and online magazine invites submissions on topics including, but not limited to, advocacy, education, technology, global health, workforce, workplace best practices, and leadership.

Questions? Comments? Email us at criticalvalues@ascp.org.

ASCP Staff Advisers

E. Blair Holladay, PhD, MASCP, SCT(ASCP)CM
Chief Executive Officer 

Critical Values Staff

Molly Strzelecki  Editor 

Susan Montgomery  Contributing Editor

Martin Tyminski  Creative Director  

Jennifer Brinson  Art Direction and Design  

Our Recent Articles

From the ASCP CEO - January 2023

Jan 5, 2023, 14:02 PM by Blair Holladay

We knew that 2022 was going to be an exciting year, but I don’t think any of us knew just how exciting, inspiring, and engaging the year would turn out to be. The American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2022, and we cultivated a year of celebration, information, and discovery to show just how far the laboratory has come in being the central hub of healthcare, and how wide our reach has stretched since the inception of the Society in 1922. The ASCP Annual Meeting in Chicago this past September showcased our history, the knowledge we’ve shared and discovered over the past century, and the people who have been critical in making ASCP what it is today.

While marking 100 years of ASCP is a milestone, it is not the only achievement from the Society this year. In this issue of Critical Values, we take the opportunity to illustrate the many and varied achievements of ASCP in 2022 in our Annual Report to Membership. This past year, we established our Workforce Steering Committee to examine recommendations around diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workforce and to build visibility for the laboratory. In 2021 ASCP partnered with The Joint Commission to launch Leading Laboratories—a program designed to enhance visibility of the role of the laboratory in patient care—and in 2022 Torrance Memorial Medical Center became the first organization to achieve the designation.

In 2022, ASCP’s Center for Global Health, along with the Union for International Cancer Control and other partners, established the Access to Oncology Medicines (ATOM) Coalition to increase access to cancer medicines in low- and lower-middle-income countries (LLMICs). This coalition is supporting implementation of capacity building activities in multiple countries and will expand to other LLMICs. This influential group will focus on increasing access to medicines in more than half of the countries currently classified as LLMICs.

ASCP also continued its efforts to foster a diverse, equitable, and inclusive laboratory workforce. Our CER-SAC committee launched its Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Special Interest Group to ensure DE+I principals are infused throughout our educational portfolio.

As part of Equity Matters, a collaborative and anti-racism diversity, equity, and inclusion initiative, ASCP is developing a three-year strategic plan to address anti-racism, diversity, equity, and inclusion within our governance and membership. The plan will be shared in 2023 and will build upon the work we have done over the past three years on building awareness, establishing partnerships, creating mentorship opportunities, and developing educational content and training solutions to ensure we are making impactful and sustainable advancements that strengthen the profession.

The ASCP Foundation has also been active this year in supporting humanitarian efforts for those in Ukraine, as well as those impacted by natural disasters. These are just a handful of what we’ve achieved over the past year. I encourage you to read the full 2022 Annual Report in this issue and know that we could not have achieved all that we have this past year without you, our members.

In addition to our Annual Report to Membership, this issue of Critical Values also includes an article on the importance of laboratory stewardship. In his article, “Office of Inspector General: Laboratory Stewardship is Mandatory,” Dr. Andrew Fletcher writes that the term “laboratory stewardship” has become popular recently, but it is still seen by many as an optional activity. However, there is more to it than that. “In some cases,” Dr. Fletcher explains, “the need for a laboratory stewardship program is clearly recognized and desired by laboratory staff who lack the support or resources from hospital leadership because they do not recognize the need or value. However, there are regulatory requirements to create and maintain a laboratory stewardship program.. The absence of a laboratory stewardship program could lead to civil and criminal penalties per Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (OIG) guidelines.

The article, “Unification of Nomenclature,” by ASCP Board of Certification Executive Director Amy Spiczka, MS, HTL(ASCP)CMSCT, MBCM outlines the need and implementation of transitioning nomenclature to ensure cohesion, comprehension, and the value of laboratory credentials both within the profession and in healthcare. Transitioning MT credentials to MLS will not only unify nomenclature but also provide clarity of each valuable role within the laboratory.

While 2022 was an exciting year for us as a Society and for the profession, 2023 brings with it a wealth of opportunities to further the work we’re doing, share our knowledge and expertise, and underscore the critical role the laboratory plays in patient-centric care. This new year is our chance to truly show how we are StrongerTogether.

Thank you for your continued support of ASCP. Please send me your comments and suggestions at Blair.Holladay@ascp.org. My very best to each of you.