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2021 ASCP Report to Membership: A Year in Review

Dec 20, 2021, 09:10 AM by Molly Strzelecki

When we turned the corner into 2021, there was high hope that the vaccines on the horizon would lead us out of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. While the distribution of COVD-19 vaccines mitigated the worst of the pandemic, the rise of new variants hindered our progress. Despite this, the pathology and laboratory professional workforce continued to be a rising voice in advocating for better healthcare; moreover, the ongoing fight against COVID-19 has solidified our duty to better espouse the importance of the laboratory’s role in patient care.

COVID-19’s presence has informed the actions and achievements of ASCP. We understand and recognize the awesome commitment and dedication our members put forth every day; ASCP is committed to recognizing your achievements, advocating on your behalf, and helping you to grow in your profession. Healthcare and high-quality patient care would be nothing without you, our ASCP members.

In this year’s Annual Report, we recognize the many successes you have helped us achieve:

  • ASCP called for mandatory COVID vaccinations as an essential part of keeping Americans safe. We advocated for federal, state, and local governments to play a pivotal role in mandating vaccinations, and ASCP joined more than 50 medical societies in supporting a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all healthcare and long-term care workers.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic showed us that the future of education is the provision of both virtual and in-person education and other means of networking opportunities. ASCP 2021 Boston launched in September with the Path to Boston, featuring a wide range of virtual sessions, and culminated in a three-day hybrid event to learn and connect with fellow members of the pathology and laboratory community in Boston, and online from anywhere in the world.
  • In an effort to meet the needs of patients who receive frequent transfusions, such as sickle cell anemia and myelodysplasia, we have launched an initiative to develop a red blood cell database. ASCP has brought together a group of experts and committed associations to identify the challenges and barriers to implementation of this database, and to engage all necessary partners to make this database a reality.

Everything that we achieve as an organization is a testament to the hard work, dedication, and tremendous efforts of our members. The expertise, research, and knowledge that you bring to bear every day for patient care has helped to lift us out of the depths of this pandemic. ASCP is honored to be a part of this effort, and we look forward to working and growing with you in 2022. Most of all, we look forward to being STRONGERTOGETHER.

Henry M. Rinder, MD, FASCP, 2021-2022 ASCP President

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

Knowledge

Gaining expertise and knowledge is critical throughout your career. In 2021, ASCP furthered its commitment to its members to provide educational resources and content that empowers them to provide the highest quality care. ASCP’s educational offerings and innovative content help pathologists and laboratory professionals foster better understanding of their practice and advance their careers.

ASCP 2021 Hybrid Annual Meeting

The 2021 ASCP Annual Meeting returned to in-person learning, with a three-day event in Boston, October 27-29 offering more than 110 education sessions, in addition to a synchronous virtual meeting that brought even greater opportunities to learn, connect and collaborate. More than 160 posters were showcased in person at the live event, and 280 were accepted for virtual presentation. Innovative education sessions included TED Talks, Pecha Kucha sessions. Meet the Experts, and Homeroom collaborations sessions. ASCP also created a “Path to Boston,” a robust series of education, career development, and other activities consisting of more than 60 offerings consisting of Resident Review Series sessions, Laboratory Professionals Track sessions, Birds of a Feather discussions, Companion Society offerings, an online Twitter Chat, and a Career Services day in the six weeks leading up to the ASCP 2021 Annual Meeting. For those attendees who purchased a Complete package of ASCP 2021, on-demand content is available for three months.

Dr. Atul Gawande was this year’s keynote speaker at Wednesday’s opening General Session. A renowned surgeon, writer, and public health leader, Dr. Gawande discussed innovations taking place to improve both the quality, efficiency and outcomes of patient-centered care, and the role the laboratory can play as healthcare evolves.

Dr. Vivian Pinn spoke at Thursday’s General Session, about her experiences as the first Black woman to chair a pathology department in the U.S., and her role as the inaugural director of the Office of Research on Women’s Health at the National Institutes of Health. The session was followed by a panel discussion featuring Dr. Carla Ellis, Dr. Kamran Mirza, Ms. Dana Baker, and Ms. Tanya Norwood, who talked about the need for increased diversity, equity, and inclusion in pathology and laboratory medicine, and how ASCP is addressing these needs.

Thursday also featured a general session focused on Global Health, with panelists Dr. Aparna Parikh, Dr. Tom Randall, and Dr. Joia Stapleton Mukherjee. The discussion centered around inclusivity in global health, and featured an in-person and virtual audience from around the world.

The ASCP 2021 Hybrid Annual Meeting was also the kickoff to ASCP’s 100 year celebration. 2022 marks the 100th anniversary of ASCP, and we will be celebrating throughout the year with events and content to recognize this outstanding time and showcase the achievements of the Society. Visit www.ascp.org/100 for more information.

Dr. Holladay sat down for a conversation with Dr. Atul Gawande at this year's Opening General Session.  
From left: A poster presenter shares insight with attendees at the ASCP 2021 Annual Meeting in Boston. ASCP CEO Blair Holladay, PhD, MASCP, SCT(ASCP)CM, with ASCP 2021-2022 President Henry Rinder, MD, FASCP, and ASCP Immediate Past President Kimberly Sanford, MD, MASCP, MT(ASCP). Cristian Lozano, MLS(ASCP)CM, a member of the ASCP Social Media Committee, shares a selfie on social media. 

VPGR Series Launch

In 2021, ASCP added another innovative education program to its impressive lineup. The Virtual Pathology Grand Rounds (VPGRs) are a new virtual educational experience that brings the excellence, quality, and prestige of academic Grand Rounds straight to computers or mobile devices. Renowned faculty lead lectures covering anatomic pathology, clinical pathology, and laboratory medicine topics, which are then followed by a question-and-answer period allowing for participant engagement with the experts.

Originally co-founded in 2020 by pathologists Sara E. Wobker, MD, Kamran Mirza, MD, PhD, FASCP, MLS(ASCP), Xiaoyin “Sara” Jiang, MD, Raul S. Gonzalez, MD, and Elham Khanafshar, MD, MS, a partnership with ASCP was formed to continue offering exceptional content at no cost and provide a dynamic way for pathologists and medical laboratory professionals to connect, learn, and integrate their knowledge to provide better patient care.

Medical Education Grants Advance Knowledge

In 2021, ASCP received independent medical education grants to help fund education that adds to the knowledge our learners need to provide outstanding patient care.

ASCP partnered with Genentech to develop cutting-edge education and resources to facilitate best practices in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) biomarker testing and ensure that AP laboratory managers and their teams have the latest knowledge for continuous quality improvement to optimize NSCLC patient experiences. The project includes an Online Resource Hub to provide tools and supporting resources; an online Facebook group to encourage networking, community, and discussion; plus, a highly interactive, four session videoconference series and NSCLC Biomarker Testing summit. The videoconferences and summit are designed to foster discussion where participants can share success stories, relevant real-world scientific and implementation challenges from their institutions. The first videoconference launched November 2021, with the remaining conferences and summit planned for January through spring of 2022.

The Optimizing Advanced Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (aNSCLC) Testing, Treatment, and Management in Community Cancer Care Teams project is a partnership between ASCP and the Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC) funded by Pfizer. The project launched a half day virtual summit (live and on-demand) and an online resource hub on aNSCLC to build the knowledge, skills, and competence of the interdisciplinary community cancer care team in both the science and implementation of biomarker testing to inform treatment selection and the management of adverse events, including adopting a more collaborative approach for overcoming barriers to the coordination of care for patients with aNSCLC.

Guiding the Appropriate Diagnosis and Testing of Patients with Advanced NSCLC: A Pathology-Driven Approach was funded by Pfizer and by Janssen Biotech to develop education to help pathologists, laboratory professionals, and other members of the cancer care team increase their awareness of current and emerging treatment options for patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (aNSCLC), develop and apply effective testing algorithms for patients with aNSCLC, and guide medical oncologists and other multidisciplinary colleagues on their use to ensure appropriate treatment selection. The program launched an online tumor board simulation, live Twitter Chat, and five session videoconference series (live and on-demand) around aNSCLC using the interactive discussion format of Project ECHO®.

Leading Change in the Delivery of Immuno-Oncology Biomarker Testing and Care (Leading I-O) is the fourth generation of grants awarded to ASCP under the Immunotherapy Collaborative of Oncology Networked Communities (IC-ONC) funded by Bristol Myers Squibb. In partnership with Q-Synthesis, the Leading I-O program has launched three projects to advance knowledge and competence among pathologists, laboratory professionals, and other members of the cancer care team:

  • An online module to provide deeper scientific knowledge around recent approvals of combination I-O therapies, emerging I-O biomarkers, and biomarker testing challenges;
  • ChangeMakers online learning collaborative, a peer-to-peer learning collaborative that will enable participants to develop leadership skills, serve as effective change agents within their own institutions, and develop and implement a quality improvement (QI) initiative focused on improving I-O delivery; plus
  • An online resource hub for I-O in community practice.

The online module and resource hub were launched successfully and ChangeMakers has completed a series of four meetings, with ChangeMakers participants wrapping up QI projects in December 2021 to submit abstracts which will be added to the resource hub.

2021 Virtual KnowledgeLab

ASCP and the Clinical Laboratory Management Association (CLMA) conducted the 2021 Virtual KnowledgeLab on March 29-31. More than 900 current and emerging laboratory leaders attended the event which offered 25 educational sessions, both live and pre-recorded with a live Q&A component. Sessions were then available on-demand for three months.

CQI Certificate Program Added to Suite of ASCP Products

In April 2021, ASCP launched the Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI): Assuring Patient and Laboratory Team Safety Certificate program. This on-demand CQI learning activity has five modules for laboratory leaders and their teams to help assess practice operations and improve performance to increase both patient safety and laboratory team safety. The modules cover topics including Culture of Quality; Language of Quality, CQI Plans and Projects; Leading CQI Projects; and CQI Tools, which can be downloaded for use in the lab.

Continued Certification Support

ASCP continues to help laboratory professionals seeking certification. The ASCP BOC Certification Preparation suite of products is now complete with the publication of the Quick Compendium for Medical Laboratory Sciences in March 2021. ASCP continues to support American Board of Pathology diplomates by providing the CME activity for the ABPath CertLink®.

Journals Increase Impact Factors

The American Journal of Clinical Pathology and Laboratory Medicine journals both saw an increase in their impact factors in 2021, to 2.493 and 1.525, respectively. The dedication of both journals’ editorial boards to publish the highest-quality, peer-reviewed original science has helped solidify the place of AJCP and Laboratory Medicine among the top journals for the pathology and medical laboratory science community.

Recognition

ASCP would not be able to achieve its goals without its members. We are honored to be a part of the journey for so many pathologists, trainees, and laboratory professionals, and delighted to recognize the achievement of those who have given back to the profession.

40 Under Forty

ASCP 40 Under Forty logoIn 2014, ASCP launched its inaugural 40 Under Forty program, recognizing the top 40 high-achieving ASCP member pathologists, laboratory professionals, and pathology residents under the age of 40 for their achievements, leadership, and ability to affect change in pathology and laboratory medicine. This year, ASCP has honored a Top Six cohort, based on public voting and committee selection. These Top Six include:

  • Nicole R. Jackson, MD, MPH, FASCP, is an Associate Medical Examiner in Seattle and is board-certified in anatomic, clinical and forensic pathology. She strives to increase the visibility of forensic pathologists as first-responders to threats on the nation’s life expectancy, and is interested in studying deaths in vulnerable populations and ways to reduce the number of preventable deaths.
  • Kurt Schaberg, MD, FASCP, is an assistant professor at the University of California, Davis, and also serves as the associate residency program director at UC Davis. He has a very strong interest in medical education.
  • Allison Chambliss, PhD, DABCC, FAACC, is an assistant professor of Clinical Pathology at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. She is the section director of Clinical Chemistry and Point-of-Care Testing in the clinical laboratories of the Los Angeles County + USC Medical Center. She has research interests in sepsis biomarkers and laboratory stewardship initiatives.
  • Lieutenant Ara Gutierrez, MLS(ASCP)CM, was born in Olongapo City, Philippines in 1988, and earned her bachelor’s degree in Health Sciences from Ateneo de Manila University in 2009. She was commissioned in 2016 as an active duty Medical Technologist in the U.S. Navy and now serves as technical supervisor of the Laboratory Department at U.S. Navy Medicine and Readiness Training Command Yokosuka, Japan.
  • Aadil Ahmed, MD, FASCP, is an assistant professor at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. His personal and professional experiences in different regions of the United States have provided him a heightened sense of openness to new experiences. He hopes to contribute his voice for social advocacy and healthcare equity.
  • Brian Cox, MD, MAS, is a GI/Liver fellow at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California. He is passionate about pathology education, engagement, and academia. His leadership skills have twice been recognized by ASCP/USCAP and he was awarded leadership scholarships in 2019 and 2020.

To learn more about all of the 40 Under Forty honorees, visit www.criticalvalues.org.

ASCP 2021 Award Winners

ASCP’s awards recognize members who have made outstanding contributions to the Society and the profession, as well as patients who have helped increase awareness and understanding of the medical laboratory and a patient advocate whose actions have furthered patient care. At the ASCP 2021 Annual Meeting in Boston, ASCP honored these individuals for their efforts to advance the field of pathology and laboratory medicine and patient care. By highlighting these individuals, ASCP promotes recognition for the critical role pathologists and laboratory professionals play in healthcare.

To learn more about these awards, visit www.ascp.org/awards.

ASCP President’s Award

Melissa P. Upton, MD, MASCP

ASCP Masterships

Philip L. Barney, MD, MASCP

Russell K. Byrnes, MD, MASCP

Rex F. Famitangco, MS, MASCP, MLS(ASCP)CMQLCCM

Susan Harrington, PhD, MASCP, MLS(ASCP)CM, D(ABMM)

Christopher A. Tormey, MD, MASCP

Melissa P. Upton, MD, MASCP

Susan L. Wilkinson, EdD, MASCP, MT(ASCP)SBBCM

ASCP Member Lifetime Achievement Award

Kathleen Becan-McBride, EdD, MASCP, MLS(ASCP)CM

ASCP Philip Levine Award for Outstanding Research

Fiona Craig, MD, FASCP

ASCP Member Excellence in Education Award

Theresa (Terri) McElhattan, MHA, CLA(ASCP)PBTCM

ASCP Member Excellence in Management Award

Justin Wade Redman, PhD, MBA, MT(ASCP)DLMCM

ASCP Mentorship Award

Kathleen (Kay) Doyle, PhD, MASCP, MLS(ASCP)CM

H.P. Smith Award for Distinguished Pathology Educator

Kamran M. Mirza, MD, PhD, FASCP

Israel Davidsohn Award for Distinguished Service

William G. Finn, MD, MASCP

Ward Burdick Award for Distinguished Service to Pathology

Gregory J. Pomper, MD, FASCP

ASCP Medical Student Award — Gold Award

Cullen Lilley, MS, MB(ASCP)CM, MDxT(AAB)

ASCP Career Ambassador Award

Rodney E. Rhode, PhD, SM(ASCP)CMSVCMMBCM, FACSc

Tywauna Wilson, MBA, MLS(ASCP)CM

ASCP Pathology Ambassador Award

Anna Owczarczyk, MD, PhD

Ion Prisneac, MD

Patient Advocate Award

Lynnette Chakkaphak, MS, MT(ASCP) and Pom Chakkaphak

ASCP 2020-2021 President Kimberly Sanford, MD, MASCP, MT(ASCP), presents Tywauna Wilson, MBA, MLS(ASCP)CM, with the Career Ambassador Award at ASCP 2021 Boston.  
ASCP 2020-2021 President Kimberly Sanford, MD, MASCP, MT(ASCP), presents Tywauna Wilson, MBA, MLS(ASCP)CM, with the Career Ambassador Award at ASCP 2021 Boston.  

Choosing Wisely Affects Change in Healthcare Test Utilization

Choosing Wisely logoIn 2012, ASCP joined the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) Foundation to become a leader in the Choosing Wisely campaign. Since then, as part of the campaign ASCP has released 35 recommendations for laboratory tests that are commonly ordered but not always appropriate in pathology and laboratory medicine.

In addition, ASCP annually recognizes Choosing Wisely Champions—those pathologists and laboratory professionals who implement the Choosing Wisely initiative into their own practice, and aid in reducing test overuse and waste in healthcare. Below are the 2021 Choosing Wisely Champions.

  • Andrew Fletcher, MD, MBA, CPE, CHCQM, FASCP, ARUP Laboratories
  • ARUP Consultative Services, ARUP Laboratories, Representative: Sandy Richman, MBA, C(ASCP) Director
  • Mather Hospital Northwell Health’s Choosing Wisely Committee, Mather Hospital, Representative: Denise Uettwiller-Geiger, PhD, DLM(ASCP) Clinical Transformation Liaison, Medical Affairs
  • Gaurav Sharma, MD, FASCP, Henry Ford Health System
  • University of California at San Diego and the Veterans’ Affairs VISN22 Area Team, Jessica Wang-Rodriguez, MD; Daniel R. Luevano, MS; Robin Nuspl, MT(ASCP); Nicholas J. Bevins, MD, PhD
  • PeaceHealth, Representative: Mohiedean Ghofrani, MD, MBA, FASCP Chair, PeaceHealth Laboratory Stewardship Committee

Reach + Influence

As the COVID-19 pandemic continued to surge, the laboratory’s role in healthcare became increasingly prominent in people’s daily lives. ASCP continued to capitalize on this opportunity to expand the reach and influence of the laboratory, pushing the laboratory further into the spotlight to showcase the incredible work our members do on a daily basis, and engaging the public, policymakers, and beyond to empower them with the knowledge they need.

Raising Visibility of the Laboratory

At the start of the pandemic, ASCP CEO Blair Holladay, PhD, MASCP, SCT(ASCP)CM traveled to several laboratories around the country to highlight the work of ASCP members battling COVID-19 on the front lines in a docuseries. In April 2021, Dr. Holladay revisited those same sites to see how they had weathered the COVID-19 pandemic for part two of the docuseries. In four episodes, “The Scientists Who Saved the World: The Fight Against COVID-19,” looks at how the laboratories survived the past year, and how they are preparing for challenges ahead. Each episode discusses a critical component of this pandemic, including burnout, healthcare equity, the laboratory’s new role as educators for the public, and how to prepare for the next pandemic. Watch the docuseries at www.ascp.org/scientists-who-saved.

ASCP also produced a patient-facing video based on the docuseries that was released in a targeted social campaign to help educate the public about the role of the laboratory, with the aim of garnering interest in the profession.

To continue elevating the visibility of the laboratory, ASCP participated in several campaigns in conjunction with USAToday/Mediaplanet. ASCP Immediate Past President Kimberly Sanford, MD, MASCP, MT(ASCP) contributed an editorial, “Understanding the Role of Pathology in Breast Cancer Diagnosis and Care,” to the Breast Health campaign to promote breast cancer research, treatment, and survivorship. Dr. Sanford also contributed to the campaign on Transforming Cancer Care, which focused on educating the public about how advancements in diagnostics and pathology are transforming the way cancer is screened for and diagnosed, treated, and surveilled post-treatment. Her editorial, “The Laboratory’s Role in Transforming Cancer Care” discussed the unique and essential role pathologists and medical laboratory scientists play in cancer care.

Finally, ASCP took part in the USAToday/Mediaplanet Infectious Disease campaign, which sought to provide readers with up-to-date information on infectious disease threats and combat current and future outbreaks, as well as inspire readers to join in the fight against infectious diseases now and in the future. ASCP contributed an editorial (“The Lab Profession You Need to Join”), infographic, and video that looked at the critical role of the laboratory in fighting infectious diseases, and promoting careers in laboratory science. The editorial and infographic reached more than 600,000 readers, and the video had more than 100,000 views.

Launch of the Red Blood Cell Database, Meeting Patient Needs

This year, ASCP, under the direction of ASCP Immediate Past President Kimberly Sanford, MD, MASCP, MT(ASCP), initiated the development of a national red blood cell (RBC) database. Its purpose is to meet the transfusion needs of patients with difficult cross-match, in particular, the critical population of sickle cell patients. We foresee that the RBC database will eventually include allo-antibody, antigen, and genotype data. ASCP convened a group of experts to identify challenges and barriers to implementation of such a database, advocate for the creation of the database on behalf of patients, and identify and engage critical partners.

ASCP Workforce Study Highlights Need for Laboratory Professionals

ASCP and the University of Washington Center for Health Workforce Studies completed a study examining staffing issues, increased demand on the laboratory workforce, and growing vacancy rates in the laboratory. The study, Clinical Laboratory Workforce: Understanding the Challenges to Meeting Current and Future Needs, was funded through grants by the Siemens Healthineers Fund, and focused on six groups: histotechnicians, medical laboratory assistants, medical laboratory technicians, phlebotomy technicians (also known as phlebotomists), histotechnologists, and medical laboratory scientists. The study assessed barriers and pathways leading to laboratory careers, opportunities for professional development, and factors that support clinical laboratory workforce diversity and retention.

Results from interviews and focus groups conducted by this study strongly emphasized that meeting future workforce needs will require actions by, and collaboration among, education and training programs, employers, and professional organizations. The COVID-19 pandemic has further impacted education, training, and practice.

Study results also show where there are opportunities to leverage the pandemic’s spotlight on the laboratory, as well as other findings from this study, to call attention to areas where there are opportunities to improve recognition of the clinical laboratory workforce and enhance careers in the field.

Driving the National Conversation

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, ASCP has advocated for a more aggressive response by federal, state and local governments, as well as businesses and schools, to address the pandemic. The Biden Administration’s plans are consistent with several of ASCP’s recommendations to expand access to testing and to encourage the uptake of approved coronavirus vaccines.

In July, ASCP signed a joint statement with more than 50 medical societies supporting a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all healthcare and long-term care workers. We followed that in August with a position analysis and call for all responsible parties with an interest in public health and a responsibility to the American people, including policymakers, employers, event organizers, businesses, nonprofit leaders and others, to make COVID-19 vaccination mandatory. We spoke, and the White House listened, as ASCP was recognized by the White House Vaccine Coordinator, Bechara Choucair, MD, for our stance and efforts in encouraging vaccination.

These efforts were amplified by media campaign advocating for a mandate that all Americans must be vaccinated against COVID-19 which reached more than 12 million people across the United States. The media campaign particularly targeted audiences in southern states where vaccination rates are low and rates of COVID-19 cases remain high and in LatinX communities where vaccine hesitation is prevalent. Twenty-four interviews were conducted and aired 2,167 times to an audience of 12-plus million listeners. ASCP garnered national media coverage on NBC News Radio, Radio Bilingüe and Hispanic News Service. The vaccine mandate was also promoted on statewide networks in Alabama, Georgia, Texas, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia, and it aired on the #1 ranked News Talk information station in Los Angeles.

Completion of MACRA Grant

In 2018, ASCP was awarded a $2.1 million cooperative agreement by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) entitled the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) Funding Opportunity: Measure Development for the Quality Payment Program. The project goal was to create seven pathology-specific eCQMs for inclusion in the Quality Payment Program. The cooperative agreement ended on September 13, 2021.

By the end of the project period, five of the seven measures ASCP worked to develop were removed from the project scope due to various challenges encountered during testing. The two remaining measures were submitted to the Measures Under Consideration List (MUC) in June 2021 to be considered for inclusion in the QPP; however, both measures were rejected.

Over the course of the project ASCP expressed concerns that there was still much to be understood by CMS about pathology and the development of measures that truly drive quality improvement.

Certification

ASCP BOC logoEstablishing standards are critical to leverage expertise and showcase the laboratory’s dedication to patient care. Certification is key to facilitating this foundation, and throughout 2021 the ASCP Board of Certification (BOC) continued to provide excellence in certification for laboratory professionals while setting the gold standard for competent laboratory personnel.

CMP COVID-Related CE

The BOC recognizes the vital work of laboratory professionals in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the critical professional development it necessitated. Because of concerns about obtaining continuing education during the pandemic due to increased workload and/or limited availability of in-person training or conferences, the BOC is offering a time-limited opportunity to use COVID-related activities performed within the normal scope of work or outside normal job duties for recertification.

Publications and Podcasts

In 2021, the BOC published several articles that helped promote the value of certification as well as identify and address issues around certification. These include: “Value of Certification Qualitative Survey: Comparison of Multi-Organizational and BOC Responses” (Critical Values, October 2021 and 2021 ASCP Annual Meeting Poster); “Beware of Ethical Violations in Laboratory Professional Certifications” (Critical Values, April 2021); “2020 BOC International Survey—Philippines Report” (Critical Values, May 2021 and 2021 ASCP Annual Meeting Poster). Additionally, members of the BOC Board of Governors (BOG) were part of a panel discussion on ASCP’s Inside the Lab podcast. The July 6, 2021 episode, “The Making of a BOC Exam,” discussed the duties of the exam committees, the anatomy of an exam question, and the development and maintenance of exam questions. On the November 1, 2021 episode of RVN Television’s Morning Coffee Expert Series, Karen Elzey, associate executive director at Workcred, and Patricia Tanabe, executive director of the ASCP BOC, discussed the importance of certification of laboratory professionals.

BOC Gets Social

In 2021, the ASCP BOC launched two new social channels on LinkedIn and Instagram. Leveraging these channels has helped the BOC broaden their reach to laboratory professionals who are already credentialed, and, importantly, those laboratory professionals who want to become credentialed. Several campaigns were launched across the BOC social platforms this year.

The BOC promoted a series of seven videos from newly credentialed individuals to help promote ASCP credentials and provide insight on prepping for the credentialing exam. The campaign was socialized on Facebook and YouTube.

This year also saw the launch of the Lab Heroes Award contest, which spotlighted BOC-credentialed laboratory professionals who were nominated and recognized by colleagues for going above and beyond in their laboratory. Award recipients received $100 to be donated to the healthcare charity of their choice. The BOC highlighted the 2020 recipients during Lab Week, April 18-24, 2021, on the BOC Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn pages.

The Pass the Baton campaign for 2021 was designed for retired and soon-to-be retired medical laboratory professionals to share their thoughts with the next generation of laboratory professionals on the importance of the profession and on having a BOC credential to the. Participants were able to share their own insight, as well as read others’, and create a community of knowledge for people across the spectrum of their careers.

Global Community

As part of the global community, ASCP is dedicated to improving healthcare worldwide. In 2021, our Center for Global Health continued its support of humanitarian efforts that provided resource-limited countries with the equipment, supplies, training, and mentorship they needed to improve patient care for all.

PEPFAR Engagement in Mozambique

Despite COVID-19-related travel restrictions ASCP was still able to provide assistance and guidance to laboratories and laboratory professionals in Mozambique. These activities were funded through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) in partnership with the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL).

ASCP’s local team of laboratory mentors provided high-quality technical assistance to ten molecular biology laboratories in Mozambique. These laboratories play a critical role in the Mozambican laboratory network by providing viral load testing for people living with HIV. The ASCP team provided much-needed support as the laboratories adjusted to increased testing demand as COVID-19 testing joined their existing molecular testing portfolios.

Through engagement with the Mozambican Ministry of Health, ASCP continued facilitating a Project ECHO telementorship program for all 15 HIV-1 viral load testing laboratories in Mozambique. This curriculum for this program was co-developed by ASCP, MoH, CDC-Mozambique and key local stakeholders with the focus of addressing technical and QMS laboratory gaps and areas for strengthened training across molecular biology laboratories. The platform has also been instrumental as a way for MoH to provide: national testing guidance for both COVID-19 and HIV-1 viral load and early infant diagnosis (EID) testing, in-country procurement updates to mitigate reagent stockouts, share recommendations on VL sample redistribution practices to mitigate specimen backlogs, and other key updates to support coordination of laboratory activities across the laboratories.

ASCP collaborated closely with the Mozambican Ministry of Health’s Biotechnology & Genetics Laboratory Group to develop a comprehensive HIV-1 viral load training curriculum and begin delivery of this new training program to 13 of the 15 viral load testing laboratories. This represents a significant achievement in supporting the Ministry of Health’s vision for viral load training for molecular biology laboratorians and required significant coordination support from ASCP in order to ensure that trainings were conducted in a way that was effective but also safe. ASCP mentors were instrumental at both co-developing content as well as co-facilitating both theoretical and practical portions of the training. ASCP also provided critical review of MoH’s paired training manual.

ASCP supported Mozambican Ministry of Health to develop critical guidelines, tools, training modules, and job aids to support overall implementation of HIV-1 viral load testing using plasma and plasma separation cards, as well as adoption of high-throughput testing platforms, standardize practices for sample referral in the case of specimen backlogs, and other key guidelines for improving throughput of viral load testing and reducing testing delays.

ASCP and Partners for Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment in Africa

ASCP continues to guide Partners for Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment in Africa, leveraging knowledge and expertise to help patients and laboratory professionals in Sub-Saharan Africa. In 2021, we launched a virtual course, Laboratory Quality Management Systems in conjunction with Pathologists Overseas, which included 30 hours of instructional time over 10 weeks and resulted in 485 completion certificates for laboratory professionals in Africa.

ASCP partnered with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York to deploy two telepathology systems to sites in Nigeria, three in Ghana deployed by ASCP, and one telepathology system deployed by ASCP in Haiti. In collaboration with Quest Diagnostics and BIO Ventures for Global Health, ASCP donated 24 microscopes to 13 sites in Uganda, Kenya, Cote d’Ivoire, and Nigeria.

Continued Support of Collaborative Efforts

In 2021, ASCP collaborated with several outside organizations to better patient health around the world. Our continued support of the City Cancer Challenge (C/CAN) resulted in multiple technical consultations, workshops (in collaboration with ASCO), and document reviews with Colombia, Georgia, Ghana, and Paraguay. Multiple in-process projects with BIO Ventures for Global Health, World Health Organization, the Clinton Health Access Initiative, the American Cancer Society, the International Cancer Control Partnership, and the International Collaboration on Cancer Reporting continued as well.

Collaboration

Throughout 2021, ASCP worked with several key organizations on initiatives that strengthened the pathology and laboratory community. In doing so, we were able to increase access to resources and expertise our members needed to continue providing high-quality care for patients and raising the voice of the laboratory in healthcare.

CLMA logoCLMA Aligns With ASCP

In December, ASCP and the Clinical Laboratory Management Association (CLMA) announced that CLMA will join the ASCP as a division of ASCP, thus aligning the organizations. The agreement includes full integration of CLMA’s offerings, governance, and membership into ASCP. Both organizations worked to develop and mutually approve an alignment agreement that preserves CLMA branding, support for CLMA state chapters, and a governance structure to ensure the voice representing Laboratory Directors and Managers is critically supported. The CLMA Board of Directors will transition to a newly formed CLMA Advisory Group within a divisional structure of ASCP. The alignment was ratified by a majority vote of the CLMA membership and members will be invited by ASCP to continue their membership, both at the state and national levels.

SBP logoASCP Helps Launch the Society for Black Pathologists

In February 2021, the Society for Black Pathologists (SBP) officially launched. This non-profit organization’s mission is to encourage more Black and underrepresented minorities to enter pathology, enhance leadership development, and conduct research to examine healthcare issues that pose greater risks to people of color, with the overarching goal of providing more equitable care.

ASCP provided SBP with seed money to become incorporated in the State of Illinois. Additionally, ASCP will manage certain activities of SBP to promote mutual interests in education and diversity and inclusion, and assisted SBP in planning its inaugural event at ASCP 2021 Boston.

Leading Laboratories

ASCP partnered with The Joint Commission on a new laboratory recognition program. Launched in October 2021, Leading Laboratories is a new designation for Joint Commission-accredited laboratories that recognizes laboratories that demonstrate an exemplary focus on leadership, mentorship, and innovative best practices, and ultimately positively impact patient outcomes.

Leading Laboratories exhibit excellence in four key areas:

  • Elevating Quality Outcomes
  • Supporting Professional Development
  • Cultivating Trusted Leadership
  • Promoting Laboratory Visibility

The designation provides public recognition for a laboratory’s meaningful achievements in improving patient outcomes; evidence of a laboratory’s commitment to necessary ongoing professional development of its team; and proof of laboratory leadership’s dedication to their team and patients. Leading Laboratories also provides a roadmap to help laboratories achieve this designation, and is supported by ASCP and The Joint Commission’s shared mission of patient safety and quality while simultaneously confirming the essential role of the laboratory in patient care across all settings. 

ASCP CEO E. Blair Holladay, and Brian Enochs, Executive Vice President of Business Development and Marketing for The Joint Commission, announce the launch of Leading Laboratories at ASCP 2021 Boston.   
ASCP CEO E. Blair Holladay, and Brian Enochs, Executive Vice President of Business Development and Marketing for The Joint Commission, announce the launch of Leading Laboratories at ASCP 2021 Boston.  

Diversity, Equity + Inclusion

Increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion in the laboratory has recently become a trending term across many industries and organizations, but for ASCP, focusing on broadening our reach to those underrepresented groups has long been in our DNA. The ASCP Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, founded by ASCP Past President Melissa Upton, MD, MASCP, in Spring 2020, has focused on infusing the importance of DE+I into the fabric of pathology and laboratory medicine and education, with the understanding that pathologists and laboratory professionals must reflect the communities they serve to best address disparities and improve outcomes.

Mentorship

In 2021, the DE+I Committee focused on mentorship, and connecting with underrepresented minorities in medicine, supporting young professionals with people and tools that can help them navigate the nuances of their journey to becoming practicing pathologists and medical laboratory professionals.

Education

Diversity, equity, and inclusion played a leading role at ASCP's Annual Meeting in Boston. Many sessions at this year's Annual Meeting focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Thursday's General Session featured a keynote by Dr. Vivian Pinn, MD, who shared her experiences as the first Black woman to chair a pathology department and her role as the first director of the Office of Research on Women's Health at the National Institutes of Health. A panel discussion on ASCP's efforts to address diversity, equity, and inclusion within pathology and laboratory medicine followed.

Additionally, 2021 saw the formation of a DE+I special interest group that will be instrumental in the creation of scientific and non-scientific content that will help influence a deeper understanding of the need for increased diversity within the laboratory.

ASCP President-Elect Dr. Marsha Kinney moderates a panel on the need for diversity, equity, and inclusion in the laboratory at ASCP 2021 Boston.   
ASCP President-Elect Dr. Marsha Kinney moderates a panel on the need for diversity, equity, and inclusion in the laboratory at ASCP 2021 Boston.  

Awareness Campaigns

In coordination with ASCP, the Committee also launched awareness campaigns to recognize various groups within the pathology and laboratory medicine community. They included:

  • Celebrating Black Voices in Pathology and Laboratory Medicine (February)
  • Women Leaders in Pathology and Laboratory Medicine (March)
  • Honoring Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the Laboratory (April)
  • PRIDE in the Laboratory (June)
  • Spotlighting the Latinx Community in Pathology and Laboratory Medicine (September/October)
  • Honoring Indigenous People in the Laboratory (October)

These campaigns included profiles with leaders that addressed health disparities within minority communities, and how the laboratory can be an advocate for better patient care for these groups.

ASCP Foundation

ASCP Foundation logoThe ASCP Foundation is the philanthropic arm of ASCP with the mission of promoting excellence in laboratory medicine on behalf of patients, pathologists, and laboratory professionals across the globe. Even in the face of personal and professional changes and COVID-19 challenges, ASCP members continue to support the Foundation.

The ASCP Foundation strives to have a real impact for members and the field. In 2021, the ASCP Foundation provided $500,000 to our members and laboratory science programs through:

  • Travel Grants
  • Medical Laboratory Science Program Director Education Grants
  • Laboratory Student Scholarships
  • Phlebotomy Student Scholarships
  • Resident Subspecialty Grants

ASCP Foundation Supports Global Health

The ASCP Foundation is committed to not only providing support in the United States but worldwide. In 2021, the Foundation’s Global Health Fund continued to support the efforts of our Partners for Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment in Africa initiative by helping cover the costs associated with establishing and enhancing laboratories and training local personnel in resource-limited areas of the world. The Partners project now supports 20 sites in 16 countries with telepathology assistance.

In the past year, the Foundation also collaborated with a group of global oncology organizations to establish the Coalition for Implementation Research in Global Oncology (CIRGO) to improve the coordination of cancer care systems in low- and middle-income countries, particularly Africa. Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS) provided more than $550,000 in funding.

Through the pandemic, the ASCP Foundation supported the continued collaborative work with multiple groups to provide online courses and infrastructure to West Africa (more than 1000 participants).

Committed to Local Communities

The medical laboratory science community is important to the Foundation. The ASCP General Fund provides a way for the Foundation to direct funds to critical areas. The Foundation also launched targeted campaigns to raise funds to to help with recovery following catastrophic events in 2021.

Working with Partners in Health and their sister organization in Haiti, Zanmi Lasante, the Foundation helped secure needed supplies and equipment following the August earthquake that impacted the country. All funds raised will be used to purchase additional supplies to help rebuild their infrastructure.

Shortly after the earthquake in Haiti, the United States was impacted by Hurricane Ida, a category 4 hurricane that impacted the state of Louisiana and surrounding areas. The storm caused catastrophic flooding across the Northeastern United States. With donations from ASCP members, grants will be available to help members address needs they have experienced.

ASCP Foundation and SBP

The ASCP Foundation provided assistance to the Society of Black Pathologists (SBP) by providing seed money for this new organization to become incorporated it the State of Illinois. The non-profit SBP is dedicated to addressing barriers to diversity and inclusion, and will provide mentorship to support career and leadership development. The newly formed society will also help address recruiting and supporting Blacks and other under-represented minorities in the profession, and expand representation.

Report of the Treasurer

Download the ASCP Audited Financial Statements for 2021 (PDF).

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