ASCP NEWS -- April 2023

By Susan Montgomery - April 03, 2023


Show Your Team Spirit: Join ASCP’s 2023 Lab Week Photo & Video Contest

Lab Week is just around the corner, April 23-29, 2023. In honor of Lab Week, ASCP is celebrating the laboratory team and their impact in the diagnosis of diseases with the 2023 Saved by the Lab Photo & Video Contest! How do you and your team work together to affect patient care? Now is the time for your entire laboratory team to come together and be creative in coming up with ideas for your video or photo contest entries!

To get started, upload your photo or video by 2 p.m. CDT on Friday, April 7, 2023. Vote for your favorites during Round One of voting by 2 p.m. CDT on Thursday, April 13, 2023. The five entries in each category (photo or video) receiving the highest number of votes will move on to Round Two of voting, which begins at 2 p.m. CDT on Monday, April 17, 2023, and ends at 2 p.m. CDT on Thursday, April 20, 2023.

Alloantibody Exchange Receives HHS Equity Award

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced that the Alloantibody Exchange, which has been promoted by ASCP and others in the blood bank community, has received its “Challenge on Equity” award. The goal is to have the Alloantibody Exchange up and running in the next two years.

ASCP is particularly pleased by this significant development as the efforts to create a nationwide red blood cell database began under ASCP Past President Kim Sanford, MD, MASCP, MT(ASCP) and continued with ASCP Immediate Past President Henry Rinder, MD, FASCP. Under the leadership of these two past presidents, ASCP convened an ad hoc coalition that brought together many thought leaders in the blood bank community, including colleagues from the American Society of Hematology, the Association for the Advancement of Blood and Biotherapies, the American Red Cross, Yale University, and others.

The project is one of 24 projects selected to “advance equity in programs, policies, and processes across the agency,” as noted in a November 2022 announcement from the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health. This represents an important patient-centric win on a policy issue ASCP has long advocated.

In addition, in partnership with AABB and colleagues at Yale University, a recognition program has been created to recognize early adopters of the Alloantibody Exchange. In this work, the program will focus on blood bank information system vendors and hospitals as front-line allies. This initiative will improve transfusion medicine safety and care for individuals who receive frequent blood transfusions. ASCP will continue to monitor developments as they come.

Lutheran Hospital of Indiana is Second U.S. Laboratory to Achieve Leading Laboratory Designation

Lutheran Hospital of Indiana is the second U.S. laboratory to be designated a Leading Laboratory by ASCP and The Joint Commission. The first laboratory to receive Leading Laboratory recognition was Torrance Memorial Medical Center in California in 2022.

The Leading Laboratory status signifies a laboratory has achieved the gold standard for laboratory excellence and made meaningful achievements in improving patient outcomes. The recognition also serves as proof of a laboratory’s trusted leadership and commitment to its team’s ongoing professional development, which is critical to the continued delivery of effective, high-quality care.

In its application, Lutheran Hospital of Indiana demonstrated high-value initiatives such as promoting laboratory visibility to its patients and the community through strategies such as having their phlebotomists provide cards to patients with links to videos about the hospital laboratory, testing information, and a patient satisfaction survey. In addition, they highlighted their proactive leadership through innovative staffing models. They also demonstrated their investment in the future workforce by creating and sustaining relationships to invest in future laboratory professionals, including volunteering, career shadowing, and clinical training opportunities.

“The Leading Laboratory program serves as a model and roadmap to help laboratories on their journey to achieve this designation,” says Ali Brown, MD, FASCP, ASCP Chief Officer, Medical Quality. “The Leading Laboratories program supports ASCP’s and The Joint Commission’s shared mission of patient safety and quality while providing another way to confirm their essential role in the continuum of care across all health care settings.”

ASCP Members Help Secure Key Legislative Wins

ASCP members’ advocacy efforts made a significant impact as a well-organized laboratory community blocked Congress from enacting the flawed VALID Act. ASCP members also scored other victories as Congress wrapped up its legislative session in December 2022. The massive Omnibus spending bill, signed into law by President Joe Biden, provided advocacy wins on payment and workforce issues, and pandemic preparedness. Here’s a snapshot:

  • ASCP and other laboratory stakeholders successfully urged congressional leadership to oppose the VALID Act (Verifying Accurate Leading-Edge IVCT Development Act), which would have given the U.S. Food and Drug Administration expansive authority over laboratory-developed tests (LDTs). Additionally, an ASCP Action Alert prompted members to send more than 10,000 letters to members of Congress to stress the importance of LDTs to patient care.
  • ASCP triumphed in getting congressional leadership to include the PREVENT Pandemics Act in the Omnibus spending bill. The measure is a package of bipartisan proposals designed to strengthen the nation’s public health and medical preparedness and response infrastructure.
  • The Society implored Congress to block significant cuts to the Clinical Laboratory Fee Schedule that were planned by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Instead, Congress extended a 2022 moratorium on laboratory payment cuts by CMS through 2023. Congress also extended a prohibition on CMS requiring clinical laboratories to report payment rate and test volume data. ASCP worked closely with the American Clinical Laboratory Association and other laboratory and pathology organizations to get congressional leaders to address laboratory payment issues.

For more updates on ASCP’s advocacy efforts, visit

UConn MLS Students Triumph in Second Annual Cell Bowl Competition

Medical Laboratory Science students at the University of Connecticut became the champions of the second annual Cell Bowl on their first time participating in the event!

Created by YouTuber Tiffany Gill, MA, MLS(ASCP)CM, aka, “Medical Lab Lady Gill,” and sponsored by ASCP, the “Cell Bowl” tests the scientific knowledge of MLS and MLT students nationwide. The Cell Bowl, which took place last fall, offered an engaging way for medical laboratory students to enhance their knowledge of blood cell morphology and build professional networks while preparing for the ASCP Board of Certification exams. CellAVision, another sponsor, provided the prizes.

“Our students had an awesome experience,” says Bruce E. Blanchard, PhD, MLS(ASCP), assistant clinical professor and director of the MLS program at UConn. “It was a nice ‘break’ from the day-to-day ‘grind’ of our MLS program. The students were learning outside the classroom setting.”

“The team had a few star participants. Our first perfect score was submitted by Bethany Lafontaine; our team captains, Ruth-Ann Lambert and Lakshmi Manne, consistently improved during the competition,” Dr. Blanchard says. The Super Cell Bowl winning score of 19.8 seconds was submitted by Lakshmi. It was the first time that a response time under 20 seconds was submitted for the Cell Bowl and earned Lakshmi a hematology backpack from Professor Gill.

Dr. Blanchard says, “Ultimately, it is all about the students. The faculty, and I continue to try to educate and challenge the students to be the best they can be. The students have worked very hard to effectively learn the information, regardless of the mode of instruction.”

Stay tuned for details of the next Cell Bowl!

Innovative ASCP HER2-low Breast Cancer Education Adapts to Learners’ Needs

Recent advances in research are leading to new approaches for the diagnosis and clinical management of patients with breast cancer. ASCP has developed an award-winning portfolio of education to ensure pathologists and laboratory professionals are current in the latest clinical practice recommendations and best practices to ensure optimal diagnosis, testing, and treatment for patients with breast cancer.

This education portfolio incorporates a variety of innovative learning approaches, including microlearning, Twitter-based education, peer-to-peer learning collaboratives, downloadable resources, and podcasts, as well as traditional online modules and recordings.

“ASCP is striving to meet learners where they spend their time online,” says Ali Brown, MD, FASCP, ASCP Chief Officer of Medical Quality. “Members have said, for example, that they want more options for learning on the go. So, ASCP is adapting to their needs with education that is shorter, more focused, and can be accessed when it is most convenient to our members.”

The microlearning series, titled Challenges in Testing Across the HER2+ Breast Cancer Spectrum, entails emailing several questions per week related to HER2-low breast cancer to learners so they can respond at their convenience. The series takes an in-depth approach to help learners hone their diagnostic skills. Hence, learners are provided cases with accompanying questions and have to make the correct diagnosis. The response to this approach has been so positive that ASCP recently developed a similar series on interstitial lung disease.

The social media-based education includes “Twitter chats” and “Tweetorials,” which are tutorials hosted on Twitter. The use of social media allows learners to engage with each other while discussing “hot topics” on the latest science in the field.

Another recent approach ASCP has adopted is an online learning collaborative called Pathology Trailblazers, which involves small group virtual discussions to help learners develop leadership skills needed to implement necessary changes around HER2-low testing in their own clinical practices.

Participants will claim CME/CMLE credit upon completing the various modalities in ASCP HER2-low breast cancer activities. More information on ASCP's HER2-low Breast Cancer Education Portfolio can be found on the website at

These activities and resources have been provided by ASCP in partnership with Q Synthesis, LLC, and were funded by independent educational grants from Astra- Zeneca Pharmaceuticals and Daiichi Sankyo, Inc.

Advance Your Career! Nominate Yourself or a Colleague for the ASCP 40 Under Forty Program!

The ASCP 40 Under Forty program recognizes members under the age of 40 for their achievements and leadership qualities impacting pathology and laboratory medicine. Nominations for this year’s 40 Under Forty program are now being accepted.

Past honorees have described this honor as opening doors for new professional experiences, validated career decisions, enhanced the ability to network collaboratively with experts, and provided additional credibility to the recipient’s professional endeavors and goals.

Now, it’s your turn to apply! Individuals who are chosen as a 40 Under Forty honoree will receive numerous benefits, including:

  • Complimentary access to one of ASCP’s Certificate Programs: Lab Management University, University of Pathology Informatics, or Leadership Institute
  • A professionally-crafted press release for employers and personal networks
  • A story featuring an individual bio in ASCP’s renowned Critical Values
  • Top 5 honorees receive recognition at ASCP 2023

To learn more or apply, go to

ASCP Patient Champion Advocates for Laboratories to Provide Gender-Affirming Care

Gender-Affirming Care  

ASCP is pleased to welcome its newest Patient Champion, Julie Papango, MLS(ASCPi)CM. As a trans woman who is a medical laboratory scientist, Ms. Papango has joined ASCP’s Patient Champion program to bring awareness to the many ways that the laboratory is involved with gender- affirming care, whether as a laboratory professional or a patient.

Ms. Papango began her medical transition at age 24, while living in the Philippines. Unable to find a genderaffirming medical provider, she felt forced to find her own hormone therapy. Hormone replacement therapy affects organ systems throughout the body. Hence, it is critical for the laboratory to closely monitor the treatment through routine blood tests, to ensure the hormones in a person’s system are responding appropriately.

Ms. Papango made sure to have monthly blood tests in order to monitor her treatment. As a laboratory professional, she was able to monitor her hormone levels and organ function. Later, after she moved to the United States, she found an endocrinologist who could provide her with the proper care.

Even then, she found it challenging to find a clinician in the U.S. who had experience treating trans patients. Ms. Papango often had to advocate for herself and ask for specific tests that she knew were affected by her treatment. Now that she and her doctors have found treatment that works for her, she makes sure she gets annual blood tests to monitor her hormones and organ function.

“The laboratory saves my life every time that rainbow of draw tubes is collected to check if my organs are functioning well with all the medications I am taking with hormone treatment,” she says.

Today, Ms. Papango is dedicated to actively advocating on behalf of other trans patients to help make laboratories a more trans-affirming space. She emphasizes that the lab is an essential part of the tool kit of care and it is essential for medical laboratory professionals to demonstrate understanding and sensitivity when working with trans patients. Ms. Papango notes that it can be very hurtful for a patient to be misgendered during a blood draw or have the wrong gender marker on their medical record.

To read more about Ms. Papango’s story, visit

Susan Montgomery

ASCP communications writer