The 2021 ASCP 40 Under Forty program is recognizing a new generation of healthcare leaders who are making their imprint on how pathology and laboratory medicine are practiced.
This year’s roster of honorees are all under the age of 40 and include pathologists, pathology residents, and medical laboratory professionals from around the world who are already making significant contributions to the profession. Since its inception, the ASCP 40 Under Forty designation has made a powerful impact on its honorees, ranging from recognition by others in their home institutions and in the laboratory professions to significant media attention.
“Being a 40 Under Forty honoree will allow me to reach medical laboratory scientists, nationally and internationally, to help train other supervisors in leadership methodologies and test utilization practices,” says Christopher Bingham, DPH, MS, MLS(ASCP)CM. A laboratory manager at Phoenix VA Health Care System, in Phoenix, AZ, he also hopes to serve as an ambassador to encourage others to enter the field as well.
Another honoree, Snehal Sonawane, MBBS, MD, is a staff pathologist at the South Bend Medical Foundation in South Bend, IN, and also director of three laboratories in Indiana. One of her concerns is the ability of smaller laboratories, such as hers, to provide quality pathology services and patient care in underserved areas. Often, these laboratories are dealing with high turnaround times, scarce resources, and understaffing, all of which can be addressed using digital pathology, she believes.
To hone her skills, Dr. Sonawane has completed ASCP’s University of Pathology Informatics program to learn about laboratory information systems, software, hardware tools, networks, and how to use these tools to provide quality patient care. She has also enrolled in a master of health informatics program, in hopes of applying this knowledge to better serve patients in rural areas.
“I want to make a difference in the practice of pathology and providing patient care in small laboratories in underserved areas, by using technology. This will require perseverance. The 40 Under Forty recognition will provide me with a platform to network with experts in the field, whose guidance will be pivotal as I move forward,” she says.
Meghan Pickard, PA(ASCP)CM, has worked at the University of Minnesota Physicians Foundation since 2014, where she is a lead pathologists’ assistant. Her focus areas include grossing, teaching residents and PA students, and interfacing with research teams. She is currently chair of the Education Committee for the American Association of Pathologists’ Assistants, developing new learning initiatives for the organization.
“I greatly appreciate ASCP creating an award that honors younger people earlier in their careers. Burnout is, counterintuitively, more likely in the earlier years and a sense of progress and recognition such as this can only help,” Ms. Pickard says. “I also think it signals a willingness to listen to fresh, innovative ideas and continuously grow, not just within the current confines of our profession, but into whatever patient-centered medicine needs our profession to be.”
The ASCP 40 Under Forty honorees are chosen annually through an application or nomination process. A committee of ASCP pathologist, laboratory professional, and resident members evaluates candidates based on their accomplishments, experience, leadership skills, and dedication to innovation within laboratory medicine and pathology. From the 40 Under Forty honorees, five individuals are ultimately selected as the ASCP 40 Under Forty Top Five through a combination of public voting and committee selection.
“We are inspired by these engaged and passionate young professionals, who are driven to improve healthcare delivery by doing innovative and creative work for their institutions and beyond,” says ASCP President Kimberly Sanford, MD, MASCP, MT(ASCP). “ASCP’s 40 Under Forty program is a unique opportunity to recognize these outstanding individuals and to give them the support they need to foster their continuing leadership potential and growth.”