In 1922, when the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) was founded, the world—and medicine—was a very different place. Diseases that are unheard of today ravaged populations. Various treatments and testing that we rely on today for diagnosis were in nascent stages—or did not yet exist at all. The past 100 years have brought countless innovations in medicine that have changed the way we provide treatment and care for patients. The last century has shifted how we care for patients, putting them at the center of all we do, to ensure they are receiving the highest quality care, always.
2022 marks the 100th anniversary of ASCP, and we’ve filled the calendar with a host of events and recognition for all that we have accomplished. In this issue of Critical Values, we’re looking at a century of progress and innovation, as we celebrate 100 years of ASCP.
Much has changed in the way of research over the last 100 years, and Dr. Steven Kroft and Dr. Roger Bertholf, editors of AJCP and Laboratory Medicine, respectively, provide a retrospective on the enormous progress we have seen over a century of time in the field of pathology and laboratory medicine research. In their article, “A Century of Progress,” the editors look at historical essays written by members of their editorial boards, tackling a number of topics, from the evolution of our understanding of hemostasis and thrombosis to the development of modern blood banking, microbiology, breast cancer research, and so much more. These essays are published on Critical Values online, and I encourage you to read them and learn some intriguing history of our profession.
In his article, “What Have We Learned in 100 Years? We Must Leapfrog Diagnostics in Emerging Economies,” ASCP Chief Medical Officer Dan Milner discusses the technology that has allowed for dramatic improvements in providing patient care in low- and middle-income countries, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa. ASCP has been integral in providing both the necessary tools and equipment as well as the training needed for pathologists and medical laboratory professionals in these countries to provide care to patients. We have led the charge on bringing essential testing to the areas that need it most and leveraging the skills of our members around the world along with leapfrog technology to help get patients the right diagnosis, faster. But our contributions can’t end there. As Dr. Milner writes, “Although many emerging economies are developing cancer care programs that include diagnostics, the majority are in their infancy relative to Western facilities. Moreover, the rapid pace of new cancer treatment and diagnostic developments in Western settings means that these emerging economies will always be behind unless we take a fundamentally different approach.”
Since its inception, ASCP has been active in advocating for pathologists and medical laboratory scientists to protect not only the work they do, but also the patients they serve. In the early years of ASCP, there were no mandatory standards for clinical laboratories or laboratory personnel. It was ASCP that recognized the need for standards in the laboratory, and began implementing them, putting a heavy focus on quality of training—a focus that has continued throughout the years. Pathology and laboratory medicine has faced many challenges over the decades, from licensure to gene sequencing to the current workforce shortage. In the article, “100 Years of Advocating for Laboratory Medicine, Pathology, and Quality Patient Care,” ASCP President Dr. Henry Rinder notes, “ASCP will continue to support our members with all of the tools necessary to maintain and improve on the important work of pathology and the laboratory. Underlying all ASCP’s efforts is our focus on improving the delivery of patient care, through improved patient safety, diagnostics, and pathology and laboratory staffing.”
Celebrating 100 years is an incredible milestone for ASCP, and we are proud of the strides we’ve made and hopeful about the accomplishments to come. As we celebrate this century of innovation, education, advocacy, and research, we know that it is because of the dedication and commitment that our members show not only to ASCP but to pathology and laboratory medicine. It is because we are StrongerTogether that we have been able to accomplish so much in the last 100 years, and why we will continue to do so for the next 100.
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. Dr. Holladay is CEO of ASCP.