2020 Report to ASCP Membership: A Year in Review

By Molly Strzelecki - February 02, 2021

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At the beginning of 2020, we had no idea the challenges we would face over the coming 12 months. The novel SARS-CoV-2 virus, and ensuing COVID-19 pandemic, pushed us into unprecedented times, and forever changed the way we live and work. At the same time, COVID-19 pushed the laboratory into the spotlight like never before, as testing for and diagnosis of the virus became of paramount importance.

While COVID-19 dominated our lives in 2020, it wasn’t the only issue that impacted the laboratory. The global fight against the pandemic still rages, but we understand that there are additional pressing concerns our members face. We know that you show up every day for patients, and because of that, ASCP remains committed to providing you with the resources you need to advance in your career, and to grow your knowledge. Before, during, and after this pandemic we are dedicated to advocating on your behalf. Pathologists and laboratory professionals are the cornerstone of healthcare, and without you, patient care would truly suffer.

In this year’s Annual Report, we recognize all that you, our members, have helped us achieve. Some of these include:

  • ASCP launched a series of live Town Hall events featuring experts in the field discussing the latest information surrounding the testing and diagnosing of COVID-19. Topics covered the need for a national testing strategy, serology testing, convalescent plasma, and more. ASCP CEO Blair Holladay was joined on September 23 by special guest Dr. Anthony Fauci for a fireside chat to discuss the state of the pandemic and the path forward.
  • Our continued advocacy efforts have helped increase laboratory recognition and elevate our status as pathologists and medical laboratory scientists in healthcare. ASCP engaged with government officials in regular two-way communication, and during the early days of the pandemic secured authorization for clinical laboratories to perform coronavirus tests.
  • The continuing COVID-19 pandemic meant moving the highly anticipated ASCP 2020 Annual Meeting to an all-virtual event. ASCP 2020 Virtual was a great success, with more than 6,000 attendees, and more than 130 sessions that addressed issues the laboratory currently faces, and what we can expect in the future. Attendees were able to connect virtually, and access world-class education offered by the ASCP Annual Meeting.

Know that these accomplishments would not be possible without you, our members. Your time, knowledge, and expertise have helped save lives by providing our patients with the right diagnosis, thereby allowing their providers to render the treatment they need. The impact you have on countless lives is critical, and we at ASCP are humbled to be a part of that. We look forward to working with you into 2021 and beyond. We look forward to being STRONGERTOGETHER.

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Dr. Sanford
Headshot_Blair 
Dr. Holladay

Kimberly W. Sanford, MD, MASCP, MT(ASCP), 2020-2021 ASCP President

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






KNOWLEDGE

A strong foundation is essential for building your expertise throughout your career. 2020 brought unprecedented ­challenges, but through it all, ASCP continued to provide its members with educational resources and relevant content to help keep pathologists and laboratory medicine professionals at the top of their profession. Our unparalleled offerings help advance knowledge in every aspect of the laboratory, and further the expertise our members need to provide high-quality patient care.

ASCP 2020 Goes Virtual

In Spring 2020, as much of the country went under a stay at home order, ASCP made the decision to move its Annual Meeting to a virtual setting. Canceling was out of the question—the ASCP Annual Meeting is a highlight for members, and provides world-class education and networking opportunities. ASCP 2020 Virtual kept attendees engaged, connected, and informed, and addressed issues the laboratory is currently facing, as well as looked ahead to prepare for what is on the horizon. More than 6,000 people attended this year’s Annual Meeting, which featured more than 130 education sessions that included interactive round table discussions and live Q&A. Members can access this content for free until March 2021.
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Singer/songwriter/producer Rita Wilson, and CNN correspondent Chris Cuomo kicked off the meeting as keynote speakers, sharing their stories of being diagnosed with COVID-19 early on in the pandemic, and the critical role the laboratory played in their diagnosis and recovery.

Ms. Wilson and Mr. Cuomo were followed by health and wellness keynote speaker Shimi Kang, MD, who shared the latest in scientific frameworks to help attendees better understand wellness, mental health, motivations, and addictions, and practical, evidence-based tools that can help navigate the uncharted waters of living through a pandemic. Watch the 2020 Keynotes at www.ascp.org/2020.

The 2020 General Session Clinical Lab 2.0: Why lab? Why now? Journey from Volume to Value, garnered much attention from attendees, as our profession looks to the future of the laboratory. Speakers Khosrow R. Shotorbani, MBA, MT(ASCP), James M. Crawford, MD, PhD, FASCP, Myra L. Wilkerson, MD, FASCP, and Mark Dixon, RPh, MHA, FACHE, discussed the significance of the laboratory in value-based healthcare and population health, and the attributes of Clinical Lab 2.0. Leadership in this new era is critical, and taking an active seat at the table with stakeholders and key partners is a must.

Kimberly W. Sanford, MD, MASCP, MT(ASCP), was installed as the 2020-2021 ASCP President during ASCP 2020 Virtual. A longtime volunteer with ASCP, Dr. Sanford first joined ASCP in 1991 after passing her certification exam as a medical laboratory scientist, and began volunteering with the Society in 2008 when she entered pathology practice.

Knowledge_LM50Laboratory Medicine Celebrates 50 Years

This past year also ushered in the 50th anniversary of Laboratory Medicine. For half a century, this peer-reviewed journal, indexed by the Library of Medicine, has been a valued resource for the laboratory community, publishing original scientific research and taking a deep dive into patient cases that provides insight for other laboratory professionals to apply in their practice. Starting in January 2020, the journal moved from a quarterly to a bimonthly publication, and each issue during the anniversary year featured a brief editorial on the history of the journal since its inception.

Journals Outreach Increases Profile

Over the past year, the ASCP Journals team has made a concerted effort to elevate the profile of both Laboratory Medicine and AJCP via social media. This outreach effort has played a significant role in improving the awareness and profiles of the journals, and has increased Altmetric scores for significant articles published within each journal. While you may be familiar with the Impact Factor—the measure of how much impact scientific journals have on their field of practice based on how often papers within that publication get cited by other researchers—you may be less familiar with the Altmetric score. In essence, the Altmetric score measures other areas of influence, such as news reports, Wikipedia, social media such as Facebook and Twitter, and blogs. The more mentions an article receives on these types of platforms, the higher the Altmetric score. The launch of journal-specific social media channels last year has given the Society an opportunity to give research published in the journals a wider audience. And that outreach has proven effective: In 2020, AJCP had five of the top 10 highest Altmetric scores for pathology-related papers. Visit academic.oup.com/labmed/pages/­articles_with_impact and academic.oup.com/ajcp/pages/articles_with_impact to find out more about the most-noticed articles from the respective journals for 2020.

Continued Certification Support

In ASCP’s continued effort to aid its laboratory professional members seeking certification, a new Board of Certification (BOC) MLS/MLT Study Guide and Interactive Practice Exams for the ASCP BOC launched in 2020. This new resource takes the BOC Study Guide online, and allows individuals the chance to challenge themselves in preparation for the certification exam. Participants can create their own exams to focus on specific areas (eg, chemistry, microbiology), and see how their scores compare to their peers. Program directors can also benefit from the online product to gauge where their students are excelling or where extra help might be needed.

Self-Study and Ready Reference

ASCP recognizes that reliable just-in-time learning on the job is an everyday need. ASCP continues to provide textbooks for self-study and ready reference. In 2020, the classic Carson Histotechnology self-study text and a companion workbook were released in heavily refreshed editions, continuing to set the standard for learning both in and out of traditional classrooms. The Gulati Blood Cells peripheral blood reference atlas was released in an expanded new edition. A definitive new text on Human Parasitic Diseases builds upon the classic Atlas of Human Parasitology, and two new releases for desk reference in Bone Marrow—a bench atlas from Dr. Gulati and a comprehensive desk reference by Dr. Foucar, et al—keep pace in the rapidly evolving understanding of hematologic disorders.

Innovative Education

Providing comprehensive education is critical to ASCP’s continued support of its members. In 2020, ASCP received independent medical education grants to help fund education that would give our learners the knowledge they need to provide outstanding patient care. ASCP received a grant from Pfizer to fund “Tales from the Trenches: COVID-19 Testing and Pandemic Preparedness,” and from that grant the Society produced an online module that launched October 2020, as well as six live Town Hall events which took place in Spring 2020, with subject matter experts discussing critical issues the laboratory has faced during the pandemic, including biosafety procedures, serology testing, understanding risk factors and comorbidities around COVID-19, multiplatform testing, and more.

In response to notices from Pfizer and Janssen offering independent medical education grants supporting education on testing and diagnosis in patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), ASCP was awarded funding of an educational initiative in NSCLC to include a tumor board simulation, twitter chat, and bi-monthly education/mentorship series through Project ECHO. The project, “Guiding the Appropriate Diagnosis and Testing of Patients with Advanced NSCLC: A Pathology-Driven Approach” helps pathologists, laboratory professionals, and other members of the cancer care team in the U.S. and Western Europe increase their awareness of current and emerging treatment options for patients with NSCLC, develop and apply effective testing algorithms for patients with advanced NSCLC (aNSCLC). Additionally, the grant aims to guide medical oncologists and other multidisciplinary team members on their use to ensure appropriate treatment selection.

“Leading Change in the Delivery of Immuno-Oncology Biomarker Testing and Care,” a Bristol Myers Squibb/IC-ONC Collaborative grant, brought ASCP and Q Synthesis, LLC together to implement an educational systems-based quality improvement (QI) program designed to engage pathologists, laboratory professionals, and other members of the cancer care team as they expand their use of immuno-oncology (I-O) biomarker testing in community settings. This independent medical education grant funded educational activities that included an online module on I-O Biomarker Updates and Testing Challenges; an online peer-to-peer learning collaborative that will enable participants to develop leadership skills, serve as effective change agents within their own institutions, and form/lead a team to develop and implement a QI project focused on improving I-O delivery in their institution; and an online resource hub to improve I-O delivery in community practice.

CERTIFICATION

Standards are the keys that unlock the expertise of the laboratory, and through ASCP credentials, your standards are set, recognized, and highly regarded. They are created and enhanced with your career and commitment to continually improving patient care in mind. In 2020, the ASCP Board of Certification (BOC) furthered its mission of providing excellence in certification for laboratory professionals, setting the gold standard for knowledgeable, discerning laboratory personnel.

Expanding Certification

Having seen a need for qualified laboratory professionals in the biorepository space, in April 2020 the ASCP Board of Certification launched the Qualification in Biorepository Science (QBRS). This credential targets those laboratory professionals who work in various areas of a biobank and who are involved in any phase of a formally managed biospecimen collection including specimen processing and storage, data management, laboratory safety, compliance and business operations. As of October, 11 individuals have earned this credential, with several more in process.

The BOC is also developing a Diplomate in Medical Laboratory Immunology. This PhD/MD-level certification is the first BOC certification at this level, and once developed, the Board of Certification will seek HHS approval as the certification board for laboratory directors of high complexity testing.

Advancing Advocacy Efforts

The ASCP Commission on Science, Technology, and Public Policy and the ASCP Board of Certification continue to push for strong support for federal legislation to provide student loan forgiveness/support for laboratory and other healthcare professionals engaged in the fight against COVID-19. Federal support for laboratory training programs and student loan forgiveness is one of the key elements of ASCP’s National COVID-19 Diagnostic Testing Strategy.

Additionally, ASCP and the ASCP Board of Certification sent letters to every state governor and public health department director, as well as responses to Executive Orders issued in Tennessee and New York State, expressing concern over the possible waiving of licensure and/or personnel standards of laboratory personnel in the states’ efforts to fulfill the demand for personnel to perform COVID-19 testing. The ASCP Board of Certification offered these entities assistance to find licensed personnel to meet the need.

Ensuring that the future of the profession is stable requires training programs across the country remain open to students. In 2020, ASCP and the Board of Certification protested the closure of clinical laboratory science programs at East Carolina University and Portland Community College.

Recognition

Our members are the heart and soul of this Society. We are pleased to once again recognize those members who have given back so much to the profession, their colleagues, and to ASCP.

2020 ASCP 40 Under Forty Honorees

Since 2014, ASCP has recognized the top 40 high-achieving ASCP member pathologists, laboratory professionals, and pathology residents under the age of 40 for their achievements and leadership and who are affecting change in pathology and laboratory medicine. From this select group of 40 Under Forty, ASCP has honored a Top Five cohort, but in 2020 recognized a Top Six, based on public voting and committee selection.

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

Christian Horrocks, MBA, DLM(ASCP)CM, Certified Six Sigma Green Belt

Dr. Horrocks is the laboratory services director for the University of Utah Health, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Stephanie McGregor, MD, PhD, FASCP

Dr. McGregor is a faculty member at the University of Wisconsin, and strives to improve specimen processing and interpretation in a manner that facilitates the best possible patient care.

Karen Moser, MD, FASCP

Dr. Moser is an enthusiastic pathology educator and, in addition to clinical teaching of pathology residents and fellows, she co-directs a first-year medical student course in hematology and basic molecular and cancer biology at the University of Utah.

Abigail Skerritt-Jones, PA(ASCP)CM

Mrs. Skerritt-Jones is the sole pathologists’ assistant for three Cleveland Clinic hospitals, and she is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in health science.

Milad Webb, MD, PhD, FASCP

Dr. Webb is currently the associate medical examiner at the Hillsborough County Medical Examiner’s Office in Tampa, Florida.

Sarah Wheeler, PhD

Dr. Wheeler is currently the medical director of the automated testing laboratories for UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, UPMC Mercy, and associate medical director of Clinical Immunopathology.

Recognition_CW_logoChoosing Wisely Continues to Impact Test Utilization

Since 2012, ASCP been a leader in the Choosing Wisely campaign initiated by the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) Foundation. As in years past, in 2020 ASCP released an updated list of recommendations for laboratory tests that are commonly ordered but not always appropriate in pathology and laboratory medicine as part of this campaign. This year’s list includes five targeted, evidence-based recommendations and expands ASCP’s existing list to 35 recommendations that are designed to support conversations between patients and physicians about what care is really necessary.

These new recommendations include:

  1. Do not generally use swabs to collect specimens for microbiology cultures on specimens from the operating room. For optimal recovery of microbes, tissue or fluid samples obtained in the operating room should be submitted, when available and adequate.
  2. Avoid Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) screening in annual well-visits for asymptomatic adults, regardless of age.
  3. Don’t perform urine cytology for routine hematuria investigation.
  4. Do not order a Type & Crossmatch for patients undergoing procedures that have minimal anticipated blood loss, historically low fraction of transfusion use, and a low transfusion index (ratio of transfused units to patients).
  5. Do not monitor anti-platelet agent inhibition of platelet activity using platelet function or genetic testing.

ASCP also recognized a new group of Choosing Wisely Champions in 2020, for their commitment to the Choosing Wisely campaign and their implementation of the Choosing Wisely initiative in their own practice. This year’s Champions have made significant contributions in the effort to reduce test overuse and waste in healthcare.

Recognition_CW_GuptaSachin Gupta, PhD, MBA, MT(ASCPi)MB, Lean SSBB

In his role as Laboratory Quality and Informatics Lead at BayCare Health System in Clearwater, Florida, Dr. Gupta manages and makes improvements in laboratory processes. For the past five years, Dr. Gupta has been involved in more than 20 quality improvement initiatives at BayCare Health System. Dr. Gupta and the quality improvement team at BayCare Health System often utilize Choosing Wisely recommendations as part of evidence-based, best practice guidelines.

Recognition_CW_GehrieEric A. Gehrie, MD, FASCP

Dr. Gehrie is an assistant professor of pathology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, in Baltimore, Maryland, where he is also the medical director of the Blood Bank, associate director of the Pathology Residency Program, and associate director of the Patient Blood Management Program at Johns Hopkins Hospital. His research recognizes the importance of reducing unnecessary platelet transfusions; patients are exposed to fewer donors, hospital platelet inventories remain intact for critical patients, and the financial budget for the blood bank remains fiscally solvent.

Quest Lab Stewardship Reference Program, Quest Diagnostics

The Quest Lab Stewardship Reference program supports the implementation of Choosing Wisely guidelines in clinical practice settings across the country. Quest Diagnostics has provided access to the Choosing Wisely recommendations through links and citations in the complimentary products they offer, as well as referencing these rules as part of a utilization review of ordering practices. The Quest Lab Stewardship platform provides health systems a concrete, near-time measurable view into their adherence to codable guidelines. Orders are directly measured against adherence.

REACH + INFLUENCE

In 2020, the laboratory was launched into the spotlight like never before as the COVID-19 pandemic became national news, and testing for the virus became a critical need for patients. During this time, ASCP capitalized on the opportunity to broaden the reach of the laboratory, bringing new knowledge to consumers, and providing members of our profession new ways to engage with ASCP and their colleagues.

Docuseries Goes Behind the Scenes

In March 2020, 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. The result was a five-part docuseries that looked at the challenges laboratories faced, how different labs were handling the ensuing pandemic and meeting the needs of patient, and the heroic efforts of pathology and laboratory professionals. The sites included NorthShore University Health System, the Cleveland Clinic, the University of Washington, Seattle, the UCLA Health System, and the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Watch the docuseries at www.ascp.org/battling-covid-19.

Town Halls and Podcasts

The COVID-19 pandemic took away the many opportunities for people to meet, learn, and network in person, but ASCP countered that with two new offerings for pathology and medical laboratory scientists to engage with peers and subject matter experts.

In April, we launched ASCP Virtual Town Halls, a series of free, credit-bearing webinars that addressed major concerns impacting the laboratory team during the pandemic and beyond. These one-hour events featured insight from top experts, and took a deep dive into topics including blood transfusion, clinical testing strategies, health equity and diversity, and more. On September 23, 2020, ASCP CEO Dr. Blair Holladay was joined by special guest Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and voice of the Coronavirus Task Force, to discuss curbing the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 2,000 healthcare professionals took part in the Town Hall to listen to Dr. Fauci’s insights on how the country was trending in terms of the positivity rate for COVID-19, when a vaccine would become available, and how to prepare for future pandemics. The Town Halls can be viewed at www.ascp.org/townhall.

September 2020 ushered in another new offering from ASCP, the Inside the Lab podcast focusing on current topics for laboratory professionals , residents, and pathologists. Each episode centers on a different topic, such as mentorship, burnout, patient care, health disparities, and more. Since its launch, the podcast has exceeded 3,000 downloads, and has become a go-to source of knowledge and insight for the laboratory. The podcasts can be found at www.ascp.org/insidethelab.

Driving Mentorship

Connecting with others in your field can sometimes be a challenge, but ASCP understands that mentorship is critical to a successful career. There are myriad benefits to mentorship, whether as the mentor or mentee, including improving leadership skills, capitalizing on key talents, expanding your network, and improving job satisfaction. That’s why we launched the ASCP Mentorship Program in February 2020, with the mission to connect ASCP members for professional guidance and support. Participants are matched up through different criteria, and are then able to connect for mentoring sessions, whether in person, via email, or teleconference. Sign up today at www.ascp.org/mentorship.

ASCP Advocates for YOU

Advocacy is an essential part of ASCP’s activities. We are committed to representing you—and your patients—and creating a better environment for pathologists and medical laboratory professionals. ASCP’s advocacy efforts in 2020 were not without their challenges, but safe and effective patient care is not something that can be compromised. Your dedication to making a difference in patient health fuels our drive to make a difference in healthcare for you.

ASCP Engagement Influences COVID-19 Response

The COVID-19 pandemic dominated many of ASCP’s advocacy efforts in 2020, and perseverance helped us achieve significant forward motion for the laboratory.

In March, as the pandemic began sweeping the nation, ASCP worked successfully to help expand the network of clinical laboratories that can test for the novel Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-2019). During the course of ASCP’s advocacy on this issue, the Food and Drug Administration, in coordination with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, released policy in March authorizing clinical laboratories outside the public health laboratory network to conduct testing for SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for the COVID-2019.

Over the course of the year, ASCP was in regular contact with officials in the White House, Department of Health and Human Services, Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. As part of this, ASCP Commission on Science, Technology and Public Policy Chair Gary Procop, MD, MS, MASCP, was tapped to advise the Administration on testing issues via its National Testing Implementation Forum, a forum similar to what ASCP urged be developed during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. ASCP has also been in contact with the Administration regarding on a number of issues, including developing a national testing strategy, prioritizing COVID-19 testing, and addressing supply shortages.

Leveraging this bi-directional communication, in April ASCP called on the federal government to develop a comprehensive COVID-19 Diagnostic Testing Strategy to enable clinical laboratories address the COVID-19 pandemic. ASCP’s advocacy was recognized by the AMA, which joined ASCP in calling for a national testing strategy. In support of the Strategy and related policy recommendations, ASCP released four action alerts resulting in more than 67,000 letters being sent to policymakers. Shortly after unveiling ASCP’s strategy, Congress enacted legislation including several of ASCP’s recommendations and the Trump Administration unveiled its own strategy, which included several elements of ASCP’s strategy. During a May CDC National Laboratory Community Call, Dr. Procop was also invited to present the ASCP’s Call for National COVID-19 Strategy.

ASCP also urged congressional leadership to support hazard pay—a key element of ASCP’s National COVID-19 Diagnostic Testing Strategy—and other benefits for clinical laboratory staff and other health professionals who are putting their own health at risk when providing COVID-19 testing or treating COVID-19 positive patients. Also, throughout the pandemic ASCP has opposed several efforts to loosen training and supervision requirements pertaining to laboratory medicine.

Advocating Significant Changes to Critical Proposals

Though the COVID-19 pandemic has been at top of mind for so many, there are other challenges facing the laboratory that ASCP had steadily advocated. ASCP has submitted three comment letters to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, outlining its concerns and recommendations on issues related to payment and quality policies addressed in its Proposed Rule on the Physician Fee Schedule. We have repeatedly urged changes of the Agency’s Evaluation and Management proposal, which could impose draconian cuts in pathology reimbursement rates next year, and its Quality Payment Program, which includes numerous impediments that adversely affect the ability of pathologists to meaningfully participate in the program.

ASCP Identifies Barriers and Facilitators to Strengthen the Clinical Lab Professional Workforce

ASCP and the University of Washington Center for Health Workforce Studies (UW CHWS) partnered on an 18-month project to identify the existing approaches and strategies in place to recruit and retain clinical laboratory technicians and technologists, barriers and facilitators to strengthening the pipeline and current supply of clinical laboratory technicians and technologists in order to meet demand, and outline a blueprint for action to address existing barriers. Funding for this collaboration and its activities has been provided by the Siemens Foundation.

Specifically, this study aims to:

  • Aim 1: Identify how stakeholders are currently addressing recruitment and retention
  • Aim 2: Identify the barriers and facilitators, and factors contributing to successful models, for recruiting and retaining a qualified and diverse clinical lab professional workforce.
  • Aim 3: Recommend future approaches including those related to education/training, credentials (e.g., certification and licensure); employment environment policy/regulation; and marketplace issues to address these barriers and facilitators.
  • Aim 4: Develop a strategic blueprint of interventions, supported by philanthropy, to be implemented by ASCP (and any potential partners) to address these challenges and strengthen the clinical laboratory professional workforce, based on the research findings.

The clinical lab professions in this study include: (1) Medical Laboratory Technician (MLT) or Clinical Laboratory Technician (CLT), (2) Phlebotomist (PBT), (3) Histotechnician (HT), and (4) Clinical Laboratory Assistant (CLA)/Medical Laboratory Assistant (MLA). Activities performed included One-on-One Interviews by the UW CHWS with stakeholders, individuals and leaders in the field, and Focus Groups by the ASCP research team with a mix of program directors, educators, students, laboratory professionals who are already working in the field, including laboratory managers and supervisors, and personnel from the human resources department. The final report will be included in the blueprint for action and shared with the laboratory community.

GLOBAL COMMUNITY

As part of the global community, ASCP is dedicated to improving healthcare worldwide. In 2020, 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 for better patient care.

Global_EquipmentEquipment and Supply Donations Continue

While the COVID-19 pandemic paused many of the typical in-person activities the Center for Global Health partakes, we were still able to improve access to diagnosis and care for cancer patients in Africa, thanks to our members. In 2020, ASCP members and partners donated equipment and supplies, including tissue cassettes, and cases of frosted glass slides, which will be distributed to pathology labs in Haiti, Uganda, and Rwanda. An ASCP member also donated two Aperio CS2 whole slide imaging scanners, as well as paired computer, monitor, and keyboard for each instrument, to the University Teaching Hospital in Lusaka, Zambia and Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST) in Mbarara, Uganda. With the support of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), ASCP provided diagnostic test kits for SARS-CoV-2 and nasopharyngeal swabs to the Government of Mozambique.

Global_UICC logoASCP Hosts UICC 2021

After its February Board meeting, the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) selected ASCP to host the 2021 World Cancer Leaders’ Summit in Boston, MA, in October 2021. The annual invitation-only event brings together key decision makers including prime ministers, ministers of health, city, and industry leaders, senior executives, and other influential players from around the world to facilitate debates about emerging issues related to cancer control. More than 400 global influencers and leaders in cancer control and public health from across governments, United Nations agencies, academia, nonprofit organizations, and the private sector are expected to make their way to Boston in October 2021. The Summit will occur the day before the ASCP 2021 Annual Meeting, to be held October 27-29, in Boston. The Summit is held in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and is hosted by a UICC-member organization from the region.

ASCP HIV Initiative

In March, ASCP completed a five-year cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to strengthen laboratory systems and build workforce capacity to support the diagnosis, care and treatment of HIV-positive patients around the world. Over the course of this five-year project, ASCP staff and volunteers trained 2,091 laboratory professionals in 80 workshops covering laboratory quality management systems, quality control, biosafety, flow cytometry, and molecular diagnostics. ASCP supported 7 laboratories to receive ISO 15189 accreditation and assisted three laboratories to receive ISO 17043 accreditation.

Through a subcontract from the Association of Public Health Laboratories, ASCP began a project in Mozambique this April to provide mentorship to 14 molecular biology laboratories, which conduct critical testing for HIV viral load and early infant diagnosis. With ASCP’s assistance, these laboratories have increased their testing throughput and efficiency and reduced turnaround time.

COLLABORATION

When we work together, we have the ability to make great strides in affecting change for patients and for healthcare overall. Throughout 2020, ASCP worked with multiple stakeholders to collaborate for increased access to the knowledge and resources needed for your practice, and to leverage connections that make us STRONGERTOGETHER.

Collab_ClinicalLab-logoASCP Partners with Clinical Lab 2.0

By working with other organizations, ASCP is able to expand the breadth of knowledge and expertise we provide for our members. In 2020, ASCP co-sponsored Clinical Lab 2.0, an initiative of the Project Santa Fe Foundation, and a business model with the mission of ensuring the clinical laboratory is prepared for the future, taking into account the ever-changing landscape of healthcare. As healthcare moves quickly from a volume- to value-based approach, changes happen fast due to technology and innovation, and are further impacted by changes to reimbursement, education, and a workforce shortfall. The laboratory has great potential to impact healthcare, and this year’s virtual meeting focused on the COVID-19 response, the ability to create new norms, and the laboratory’s vital relationship with public and population health. More information can be found at www.cl2lab.org.

Collab_CLMA-logoMOU with CLMA

In November 2020, the Clinical Laboratory Management Association (CLMA) signed an MOU with ASCP that brings the two organizations together to help support the integrity of the clinical laboratory, and promote the value of the laboratory across the healthcare continuum. Under terms of the partnership, all CLMA and ASCP members will receive free registration at the virtual KnowledgeLab 2021 event, which CMLA and ASCP will co-host. Additionally, ASCP and CLMA can share and expand upon their current and future educational offerings, and share resources that will aid and guide laboratory managers and directors throughout the trajectory of their career.

Global_JointCom-logoThe Joint Commission Virtual Roundtable

2020 saw almost all organizations move annual meetings from in-person to online. The Joint Commission held its annual Laboratory Roundtable Conference virtually this year, and featured ASCP CEO Dr. Blair Holladay as a keynote speaker, who discussed the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic. Key takeaways from the event included lessons learned from this public health crisis and how laboratories can continue to strive for high performance—while still dealing with the pandemic, and insights on laboratory preparedness, and optimizing resources for improvement.

DIVERSITY + INCLUSION

Recognizing the critical need to increase the racial and ethnic diversity within pathology and laboratory medicine, in Spring 2020 ASCP launched a Diversity and Inclusion Initiative with the mission of fostering a diverse and inclusive profession, led by ASCP Past President Melissa Upton, MD, FASCP. Workplace diversity is an important topic in healthcare, and the facts are clear: companies with above-average diversity scores report higher innovation revenue, and ethnically diverse companies are more likely to outperform their competitors in terms of profitability. And as diversity and inclusion continue to rise in importance, pathology and laboratory medicine can be at the forefront of affecting change. It is essential that pathology and laboratory professionals reflect the communities they serve, in order to address disparities, engage patients, and improve outcomes.

Diversity_Upton“If we’re going to serve our patient populations well, both in terms of ASCP and our individual workplaces, it’s impossible to do that unless we have the voices of those populations at the table and in our laboratories. We have to have that,” said Dr. Upton in a March 2020 ASCP News article.

Through this initiative, ASCP has worked to increase engagement and empowerment of women and underrepresented minorities, which is necessary for the endurance of the profession. African Americans, Latin Americans, and Native Americans make up less than 15 percent of the laboratory professional workforce. African Americans and Latin Americans make up less than 7 percent of the pathology workforce, and no data was available for Native Americans. While women outnumber men in the laboratory workforce, they hold fewer than 20 percent of healthcare leadership roles. We’ve created strategies to increase awareness, improve recruitment, expand talent development, and develop partnerships that will better establish inclusive workplaces.

Educational Resources

Part of the mission of our Diversity and Inclusion Committee is to develop educational resources that will empower laboratories and their employees to establish and develop inclusive and diverse workplaces. Over the past year and a half, we’ve developed content and training materials around topics such as implicit bias, cultural competency, talent management, and leadership development. These resources can help increase diversity and inclusivity in the workplace now, and in the future. Additionally, the Diversity and Inclusion Education Workgroup was instrumental in developing several featured courses for ASCP 2020 Virtual, providing a new track for the ASCP Annual Meeting. These included the sessions, “Implicit Bias—Maximizing Diversity and Minimizing Prejudices”; “Job Satisfaction, Well-Being, Burnout, and Diversity in the Laboratory”; and “Health Equity: Complete Well-Being for All.” If you haven’t accessed these courses, please visit www.ascp.org/2020 to review the sessions, which members can access until March 2021. More information on the Diversity and Inclusion initiative can be found at www.ascp.org/diversity.

ASCP FOUNDATION

The ASCP Foundation provides an opportunity to join others in making a difference in pathology and laboratory medicine. In 2020, ASCP Foundation donors helped supply scholarships, advance global health, and so much more.

Foundation_2ASCP Foundation Provides Help to Chiari, Italy

One of the most critical accomplishments through the ASCP Foundation in 2020 was being able to assist the town of Chiari, Italy, at the height of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Patients in this small, northern Italian town in the Lombardy region had been hit hard by the pandemic. Essential medical supplies were dwindling, and a surge of patients from surrounding communities were seeking treatment for the virus. Augusto Pellegrini of the Fondazione Pellegrini Forlivesi, which provides support to the local hospital in Chiari, reached out to ASCP CEO E. Blair Holladay, PhD, MASCP, SCT(ASCP)CM, requesting support as the scale of the outbreak became apparent.

Staff from the ASCP Center for Global Health identified U.S.-based suppliers of continuous positive airway pressure masks and were able to procure and export them to Chiari within 6 days. This supportive care was essential to helping patients avoid intensive care, and getting them back on the road to health.

Scholarship Update

The ASCP Scholarship Fund continues to provide financial support to outstanding students to expand their knowledge and skills. In 2020, 10 students received scholarships of $1,000 each to put toward educational activities.

REPORT OF THE TREASURER

Download the ASCP Audited Financial Statements for 2020 (PDF).

Molly Strzelecki

ASCP Communication Director