From the ASCP CEO -- October 2021

By Blair Holladay - September 28, 2021

CV October_CEO

Leadership is a topic that has been well-discussed over the past year and a half. The pendulum swings of the pandemic have exposed the multitude of issues within healthcare. Pathologists and medical laboratory scientists have stepped up to help lead their colleagues as well as patients through evolving knowledge and research to ensure they are getting the care they need. To be a leader, in or out of a pandemic, is a powerful responsibility. To be a guiding force for others means putting the greater good ahead of personal needs or ambitions.

In this issue of Critical Values, we explore the many ways leadership manifests through the laboratory, starting with our annual celebration of a new generation of healthcare leaders—ASCP’s 40 Under Forty honorees. These young leaders include pathologists, pathology residents, and medical laboratory professionals from around the world who are making significant contributions to the profession, and setting the bar for how the laboratory will remain a leader in healthcare.

In the final installment of our three-part series "COVID-19: A Year in Review," Critical Values Editor Molly Strzelecki explores the changes in education as the world transitioned from in-person to online learning. When stay-at-home orders went into effect, institutions had to quickly pivot to provide the needed education for its students, and organizations like ASCP did the same, to ensure the pathology and laboratory community had the information and education needed to provide knowledge and leadership during such an unknown time. “It was a struggle for many students to adjust,” she writes, “but for pathology and laboratory medicine students, the challenges presented by virtual education also gave way to what had been hovering on the horizon, as well as a wealth of opportunities.”

In her article, “Changing the Carbon Footprint of Clinical Laboratories,” ASCP’s Executive Editor of Journals, Kelly Swails, looks at how laboratories impact climate change, and discusses with experts how we can lead a change of course. Ilyssa Gordon, MD, PhD, associate professor of pathology at Cleveland Clinic notes in the article, “The greenhouse gas emissions we produce contribute to the indirect health burdens of climate change. As we go about delivering health care with a mandate to do no harm, we must identify ways to deliver that care with a smaller environmental footprint.”

ASCP’s RISE (Resident In-Service Examination) Committee recently conducted a survey of approximately 2,500 pathology residents on how the COVID-19 pandemic affected how residents experienced pathology training over the past 18 months. Dr. Jonathan Genzen, Dr. Melissa Hogan, and Mr. Jay Wanger discuss the findings in the article, “Residency Through COVID: How the Pandemic Affected Resident Experiences.” From reduced interaction with faculty to remote work to a pivot to digital pathology—the pandemic touched every area of residency, and three residents share their insight as well.

Mounting stress takes its toll on pathologists and medical laboratory scientists, and resiliency is critical to continue delivering high-quality, patient-centric care. Drs. Prayson, Rowe, and O’Toole, in their article, “Finding Resilience: Ten Personal Strategies,” explore how laboratory professionals can best deal with stress and burnout. “Resilience is comprised of a group of personal qualities that allows an individual to adapt and thrive in the face of stress and adversity,” the authors write, and use resilience as an acronym of strategies to help embody this quality.

As we move into the next act of the pandemic, with the ever-fluctuating line of progress and setbacks, it is imperative that leadership does not wane. Members of the pathology and laboratory medicine community can provide the insight and authority that is needed to move out of this pandemic once and for all.

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

Blair Holladay