Celebrating National Medical Lab Professionals Week 2021
Apr 16, 2021 · By Lenny
We are not makers of history. We are made by history.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.
Medical Laboratory Professionals Week (MLPW) provides the profession with a unique opportunity to increase public understanding of and appreciation for clinical laboratory personnel.
MLPW, which takes place the last full week in April each year, is coordinated by a collaborative committee with representatives from 17 national clinical laboratory organizations, including ASCLS. Now in it's 44th year, it is important to reflect on the important history of MLPW.
Let’s take a look at the evolution of The American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science (ASCLS) and examine how our industry has been made:
1930s — Inception
The ASMT was first organized in 1933, and incorporated three years later. Through its first decade of existence, the organization worked hard to establish its credibility and qualification as a society with high standards. Early members had to get certified by the Board of Registry of the American Society of Clinical Pathologists (ASCP) to prove this high standard. They established a journal, their constitution and bylaws, opened state charters, and began educating the general public about their profession.
1940s — Growth
Through the 1940s, membership grew, but the organization still had to fight for their professional independence. Many meetings were held alongside physicians. The first ASMT independent convention was held in 1947.
1950s — Scientific Advancements
The 1950s saw notable advancements such as the first paper on quality control and the creation of the ASMT Education and Research Fund. During this decade, ASMT also worked to gain professional recognition from the military.
1960s — Professional Growth
During this decade, the group upgraded professional qualifications. As of 1962, requirements to be a clinical laboratory scientist (medical technologist) changed to include a baccalaureate degree, forming a new category of lab technician. Also in this decade, the ASMT joined the International Association of Medical Laboratory Technologies.
1970s — Expanding Membership & Education
In the 1970s, ASMT membership grew to over 30,000. The group introduced the Professional Acknowledgment for Continuing Education (PACE) program. They also created the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Science (NAACLS), an independent accreditation agency for university- and hospital-based education programs in clinical laboratory science and related healthcare professions. They partnered with Central Michigan University to provide graduate programs for laboratory professionals to earn master’s degrees in administration or education.
1980s — Political Involvement
The 1980s saw more national political involvement from the ASMT. The group increased their involvement in national politics, such as testifying in front of congressional committees. They also moved offices from Houston, TX to Washington, D.C. to become more involved in legislative advances for the laboratory profession. Other notable events in this decade include the failed attempt to join ASMT and AMT; initiation of the Clinical Laboratory Educators Conference (CLEC); and initiation of the Legislative Symposium.
1990s — Established & Respected
ASMT changed their name to The American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science (ASCLS) in the 1990’s. They partnered with the American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC) to present one of the largest meetings of laboratory professionals. In 1995, the ASCLS worked with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to recognize medical technologists as “professional employees.”
LabReady recognizes the significant contributions of ASCLS, and honors all Medical Lab Professionals during #LabWeek21!
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Leonard (Lenny) founded Vax-Immune in 2015 with a vision to innovate how we diagnose infectious diseases. As a neonatologist for 40 years, Lenny watched babies die due to misdiagnosis and after realizing that the problem lay in the way samples were being transported, “retired" to develop the first specimen transport system with specimen multiplier technology, eliminating the need for traditional transport and preventing misdiagnosis.
The son of Holocaust survivors, Lenny was born in a displaced persons camp in Germany, came to America and went on to graduate from West Point. After completing Airborne, Ranger and Air Defense Artillery schools, he served 24 years in the Army as an academic neonatologist, where he discovered and developed the breakthrough drug for Medimmune, which sold to Astra Zeneca for $15B. After retiring from the Army, Lenny joined the faculty at Baylor College of Medicine where he served as the Chief, Newborn Service, Texas Children’s Hospital, where his vision to build a women’s hospital became the Women’s Pavilion. While at TCH, he spearheaded the birth and care of the world’s first surviving set of octuplets and was featured in The New York Times, CNN, Today Show and in the international media.