By Susan Montgomery - October 04, 2022

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ASCP 2019 Annual Meeting to Promote Education, Advancement, and Discovery

The health care environment is rapidly changing, with new technologies and practices revolutionizing the diagnostic medicine profession. The ASCP 2019 Annual Meeting, Sept.11-13, in Phoenix, will provide you with strategies to keep your lab on the forefront of the field, while learning appropriate laboratory stewardship techniques to improve outcomes, become more cost effective, and enhance patient care.

Join us on Sept. 11, when Her Royal Highness Princess Dina Mired of Jordan, President of the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC)—one of the world’s most powerful female voices in the global fight against cancer and noncommunicable diseases—sets the stage for the Annual Meeting as speaker of the Grand Opening General Session.

The mother of a cancer survivor, HRH Princess Dina has been a trailblazing force behind the King Hussein Cancer Foundation in Jordan, serving as Director General for 15 years and transforming the nonprofit into an internationally known leader in the global movement for people affected by cancer. She is also a leading figure advocating for early detection and screening of breast cancer for women in Jordan, and served as the Honorary Chairperson of the Jordan Breast Cancer Program from 2006 to 2016.

HRH Princess Dina has served in many high-profile international positions. In 2011, she was honored to have been chosen to deliver the keynote speech on behalf of civil society at the first ever United Nations High-Level Meeting on noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). Then, in 2018, she was chosen again to speak at the third High-Level Meeting on NCDs as “Eminent Champion of the fight against noncommunicable diseases” on the prevention and control of NCDs. The meetings focused attention of world leaders on critical concerns about NCDs—including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and chronic respiratory illnesses—which are responsible for more global deaths than all other causes combined. Leaders of nongovernmental organizations, civil societies, academia, and the private sector attended the hearing to develop a focused strategy for the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases.

“We are honored to welcome Her Royal Highness Princess Dina at ASCP’s 2019 Annual Meeting,” said ASCP President Melissa P. Upton, MD, FASCP. “She has been a tireless and courageous advocate for patients in addressing the challenges of cancer, and an inspiration in empowering patients and other leaders to improve access to and quality of cancer care, research, and preventive efforts in low- and middle-income countries.”

UICC is the largest and oldest cancer-fighting organization in the world. Through its collaboration with UICC, ASCP has been working to enhance global health by exploring, identifying, and implementing innovative methods that improve laboratory practices that, ultimately, strengthen the delivery of patient care.

Gain Practical, Personalized Knowledge from Valuable Scientific Education

Leveraging innovative, customizable education, the meeting will support attendees’ current practices and prepare them for future success, help them to develop skills that can be applied on the job today, show them the practices that will shape the profession tomorrow and set them on course to lead the direction of diagnostic medicine in the future. Ninety-five percent of the educational content of the meeting is brand new. Additionally, there are specific sessions designed by laboratory professionals for laboratory professionals. New this year, ASCP has developed a targeted track for laboratory professionals in four identified areas: Hematology/Coagulation, ­Microbiology, Transfusion Medicine/Blood Banking, and Clinical Chemistry.

“The ASCP 2019 Annual Meeting is directed to the entire pathology team—not just the pathologists, not just the trainees, not just the laboratorians, not just those interested in a specific area of pathology, like neuropathology or microbiology. It is the one meeting where team education is a goal,” says Amy Chadburn, MD, FASCP, Co-Chair of the ASCP Annual Meeting Education Committee with Mamatha Chivukula, MD, FASCP. “We have a wide variety of sessions directed to different interests, and we try to design tracts for these interests. We also encourage sessions that are either taught or directed to all levels of physicians and laboratory professionals. In this spirit, we strive to have new and exciting courses for the attendees. This year, 95 percent of the educational content is new.”

Several unique sessions focus on the importance of pathologists and lab professionals attending to their own personal development so that they can then give their patients the best care. Highlights include:

Incorporating the Yogic Practices of Mindfulness, Movement, and Breath in Modern Health-Care Practice, to be presented Sept. 13 by Tiffany Yu, MLS(ASCP)CM. This session examines how occupational stress experienced in the modern clinical laboratory is a risk factor for burnout and physical illness and how yoga can be beneficial to laboratory professionals by building flexibility and strength in a low-impact way. The consequences of workplace stressors—time pressure, long hours, increased workload, and staff shortages—can negatively influence relationships with coworkers, the ability to function as a team, and the quality of patient care. As laboratories become more automated, repetitive stress injuries are a common complaint, for which a regular yoga practice can be used therapeutically to ease these chronic physical issues.

A Seminar for Women in Pathology and Laboratory Professions: Navigating the Waters of Career Development and Dependent Care, to be presented Sept. 13 by Krisztina Hanley, MD, FASCP, Bojana Djordjevic, MD, FASCP, and Lynnette Chakkaphak, MS, MT(ASCP). This interactive session will address the challenges of raising young families or caring for other dependents, sparsity of professional role models, overcoming traditional gender stereotypes when seeking leadership roles, lack of adequate childcare or dependent-care support, and feeling the need to please everyone, leading to over-commitment and burnout.

The Human Interface: Promoting Civility, Resilience, and Wellness to Prevent Burnout to be presented Sept. 11 by Edward C. Klatt, MD, FASCP. Difficult interactions create stress that reduces our effectiveness on the job, impedes reception of our information and our services, and contributes to career burnout. This workshop will focus on methods that laboratory professionals can use to enhance and improve the workplace environment to reduce anxiety.

Fulfill CMP or CC Requirements

Choose from a wealth of educational sessions offering credits toward your Credential Maintenance Program (CMP) or Continuing Certification (CC) (formerly known as MOC) requirements and complete your requirement in just three days. Pathologists under CC can earn up to 20 hours of SAMs CME credits at the ASCP 2019 Annual Meeting. With the majority of our educational sessions offering SAMs CME credits and 100+ sessions offering you up to 22.5 total CME credits, the ASCP 2019 Annual Meeting has the education you need to stay current.

For laboratory professionals, the ASCP 2019 Annual Meeting makes earning CE credits toward CMP easy, with up to 22.5 Continuing Medical Laboratory Education (CMLE) credits available throughout the meeting. Choose from sessions covering every topic area needed to meet your three-year recertification requirement.

Career Ambassador annual meeting

ASCP Career Ambassador Lindsay Brown, MLS(ASCP)CM, gives a science presentation to area high school students at NEXTPO during
the ASCP 2018 Annual Meeting.

Career Ambassadors 2.0 and Pathology Ambassadors Take Outreach a Step Further

As part of ASCP’s commitment to build the future medical laboratory workforce, volunteer Career Ambassadors and Pathology Ambassadors give presentations about the profession at career fairs, STEM fairs and to student groups and schools in their communities. ASCP plans to identify STEM and Career Fairs happening throughout the year and connect current Ambassadors to volunteer at fairs taking place in their communities. ASCP will coordinate logistics and has developed a STEM Career Fair brochure and enhanced as tools for Ambassadors.

Recently, ASCP introduced two new activities for Career Ambassadors. Career Ambassadors are encouraged to host students at their laboratories for a few days so they get to see what it’s like to work in a laboratory. Additionally, these dedicated volunteers are encouraged to host a networking event for ASCP members and nonmembers alike to learn about the Career Ambassador program and the value of ASCP membership.

Infused in these activities is a focus to reach out to minority groups to spark their interest in pathology and laboratory medicine. ASCP is committed to developing relationships with organizations and individuals that are passionate about diversity and inclusion and creating equitable work environments. As part of this initiative, ASCP is launching a summer internship program for Chicago public high school students in underserved communities. This past spring, ASCP took part in a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) career fair at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta.

WHO Invites ASCP to Participate in Global Cervical Cancer Care Program

Pathologists and laboratory professionals have been invited by the World Health Organization (WHO) to participate during the WHO’s initial meetings and ongoing discussions in its initiative to eliminate cervical cancer globally. ASCP Chief Medical Officer Dan A. Milner, Jr., MD, MSc(Epi), FASCP, and Mohan S. Narasimhamurthy, Assistant Program Director in the Pathology Department at the School of Medicine of the University of Botswana, recently participated in an informal WHO group consultation on current cancer programs and diagnostics because of the new WHO cervical cancer program and WHO pediatric cancer program.

Dr. Milner also met with WHO Technical Officer Andre Ilbawi, MD, a cancer surgeon by training whose work at the WHO includes supporting the WHO global action plan for the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases and development of a work plan on childhood cancers, as well as programs aimed at improving health systems particularly as they relate to cancer care. There are several ASCP members who have also participated in the almost daily working group calls about cervical and pediatric cancer. WHO’s recognition of the importance of pathologists and laboratory professionals in the cancer continuum of care stems from the core concept that diagnostics are the primary pathway to oncology care around the world.

ASCP Foundation Builds Endowment Scholarships

You don’t have to be a millionaire to create a lasting legacy. By helping endow an ASCP Foundation laboratory student, medical student, or resident scholarship, you can realize immediate benefits of your gift while knowing that you are providing support for future laboratory professionals and pathologists for years to come.

ASCP members Kathleen Becan McBride,EdD, MASCP, MLS(ASCP)CM, and Diana “Didi” Garza, HT(ASCP), have teamed up to establish an endowed scholarship through the ASCP Foundation to support students who want to become phlebotomists. Their goal is to award two scholarships per year.

“We’re really excited about this scholarship,” said
Ms. Garza. “Kathy and I both taught in the clinical laboratory program at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston. During that time, Kathy and I collaborated, writing educational materials for phlebotomists. We really feel that phlebotomy is a key link for the pre-analytical process. We want to bring recognition to the medical laboratory profession and support students who want to go into laboratory medicine.”

Meanwhile, Barbara M. Castleberry, PhD, MASCP, MT(ASCP), retired Vice President of the ASCP Board of Registry (now the Board of Certification) is taking the lead to build up the ASCP Foundation’s Cindy Johns Endowed Scholarship, which honors the legacy of the late Ms. Johns, MSA, MASCP, MLS(ASCP)CMSHCM, a longtime ASCP volunteer and a leader in the medical laboratory profession. The scholarship will be given to the top student of all applications for the ASCP Foundation Laboratory Student Scholarship.

If you are interested in starting an endowed scholarship, please contact Harry Bauer at or call (312) 541-4846.

ASCP Aligns with AMA on Network Adequacy and Transparency

ASCP, the American Medical Society (AMA), and other medical societies have written to congressional leaders to express concern about surprise billing and insurance network adequacy to protect patients from undue, unanticipated health care costs. Instances of surprise billing—in which a patient may receive a bill for care or service that they erroneously thought was in-network and covered by their insurance—are increasing. Members of Congress and the administration have also expressed concern.

The letter aligns with the principles and recommendations contained in an ASCP policy statement released in 2017. The topic of surprise billing and insurance network adequacy has gained even more momentum since then. Both the letter and ASCP’s policy statement attempt to protect patients from undue financial harm and address their legitimate concerns around insurance network adequacy while considering the needs of physicians in negotiating insurance network contracts.

Two men looking over a paper
ASCP Patient Champion Anthony Reed, right, talks with Dr. Joseph Vassalotti, Chief Medical Officer of the National Kidney Foundation, about the critical role the medical laboratory has played in diagnosing his chronic kidney disease.

ASCP CLIA Proposals Gain CLIAC Support

The Clinical Laboratory Improvement Advisory Committee (CLIAC) met April 10, 2019, to consider changes to the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988 (CLIA) personnel rules for high and moderate complexity. Many of CLIAC’s recommendations closely follow ASCP’s recommendations which were presented by ASCP member Barbara Caldwell, MS, MASCP, MLS(ASCP)CMSHCM. The CLIAC meeting largely followed the recommendations of its CLIA Regulations Working Group, chaired by ASCP Past President Lee H. Hilborne, MD, FASCP, MPH, DLM(ASCP)CM.

One of the major issues considered by CLIAC concerned what baccalaureate degrees should be required of personnel who perform high complexity testing. Currently, CLIA requires individuals qualifying on the basis of a baccalaureate (or higher) degree to have that degree be “in a chemical, physical, biological or clinical laboratory science or medical technology.” Of course, this language has been contentious lately, as the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services opined that a nursing degree is a biological science.

Patient Champions Collaborates with NKF

The ASCP Patient Champions program has expanded its efforts through a collaboration with the National Kidney Foundation to highlight one of the newest Patient Champions, Anthony, and showcase the medical laboratory’s key role in a chronic kidney disease patient’s journey from diagnosis to successful transplant. Almost 75 million Americans are at risk for developing chronic kidney disease as a result of hypertension or diabetes. Approximately 30 million Americans have chronic kidney disease (CKD), but only about 3.6 million are currently aware that they have this condition. CKD progression can be slowed or halted if the disease, which often has no symptoms, is caught in its early stages.

The ASCP Patient Champions program includes more than 15 Champions who have each shared their personal story through videos to raise awareness of the crucial role the medical laboratory plays in patient care and to empower patients to ask the right questions and understand their diagnoses. As Champions, they share the importance of education, understanding your lab results, gathering second opinions, and advocating for loved ones.

Susan Montgomery

ASCP communications writer