From the ASCP CEO April 2024

By Blair Holladay - April 08, 2024

Lav vials with red and blue caps


From the ASCP CEO - April 2024


In the medical laboratory, connections are everything.

Connections are the way we advance science and medicine for the betterment of patients, and they are how we open doors to collaboration. Connections provide us the opportunities that help foster innovation that allows pathologists and laboratory professionals to tackle complex challenges in diagnostics, treatments, and research. When we establish connections, we increase the potential to have a positive impact on patient outcomes.

Like many fields, the power of connection can play a positive role in how we advance in our careers. Visibility in the professional community helps establish a strong network that provides people with exposure to job or volunteer opportunities and career paths that they may not have otherwise considered. When we connect with others, we can access insight and information that foster a thriving and fulfilling career.

In this issue of Critical Values, our authors look at the way connections play a variety of roles in the medical laboratory. Communications writer Susan Montgomery looks at the many ways the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) offers members the chance to connect with others, both virtually and in person. Ms. Montgomery spoke with members about how their involvement with ASCP and how the connections they’ve made have helped them in their careers.

This issue also features an executive summary of ASCP’s 2022 Vacancy Survey. This biennial survey provides the latest data on the need for more people to enter the medical laboratory workforce and looks at what we are doing to help both recruit and retain people within the field. ASCP’s Workforce Steering Committee has been making strides in improving the visibility of the laboratory to healthcare organizations, Congressional leadership, and students to help promote careers in the laboratory.

In the article, “ASCP Explores Innovative Cancer Biomarker Testing Navigator Role,” a team of ASCP collaborators examined the feasibility of a new role called the Cancer Biomarker Testing Navigator (BTN), with the idea that a dedicated laboratory staff could focus on facilitating and coordinating key tasks in the testing process for in-house and/or send-out biomarker testing to ensure optimal and timely results. “Patient-derived pathology samples are precious resources and handling of tissue, cells, and other samples, is best done by trained laboratory professionals and pathologists,” the authors write, and share their findings from the project.

“Medical laboratory professionals conduct approximately 13+ billion laboratory medicine tests annually which provide up to two-thirds of all medical decisions made by physicians and other healthcare professionals from cradle to grave,” says Rodney Rohde, PhD, MS, SM (ASCP)CM, SVCM, MBCM, FACSc, Global Fellow, Regents’ Professor, Texas State University System, University Distinguished Chair and Professor, in the College of Health Professions, Medical Laboratory Science (MLS) Program. “Simply put, the lives of all Americans are in the hands of our professionals.” The connection that medical laboratory professionals have with patients is in part what prompted Dr. Rohde to take on shifting the name of their program at Texas state from Clinical Laboratory Sciences (CLS) to Medical Laboratory Sciences (MLS), as he discusses in the article, “What’s in a Name Change? Why Texas State University’s Program Is Moving from CLS to MLS.” Doing so, Dr. Rohde says, is “to get professionals and alumni to adopt the term ‘medical laboratory professional’ and use these terms more purposefully so that it gets accepted.”

The importance of connections both inside and outside of the laboratory cannot be overstated. Actively engaging with your professional community brings professional and patient-centric opportunities; it’s not just a networking strategy, it is an investment in yourself and your patients, and is what makes us STRONGERTOGETHER.

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