National Medical Laboratory Week, April 20-26, is a time to honor the more than 280,000 medical laboratory professionals across the nation who perform and interpret laboratory tests that save lives and keep people and animals healthy. The more than 30 pathologists, laboratory technologists and assistants at the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital are among the many unsung heroes of human and veterinary health care.
Using state-of-the-art technology and instrumentation, laboratory professionals help to prevent disease by detecting unknown health problems and aid in the diagnosis and treatment of existing conditions by giving accurate, timely test results. Results of laboratory tests often identify the presence of disease in its earliest stages, when the possibilities of a cure are greatest and treatment is least costly. Clinical laboratories at the teaching hospital include Chemistry, Hematology, Microbiology, Virology, Parasitology, Immunology and Histology. The teaching hospital treats 30,000 animal patients a year.
To celebrate National Medical Laboratory Week, laboratories across the country will host events to acquaint the public and other health care professionals with the workings of the medical laboratory. The clinical laboratories here at the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital will celebrate Lab Week with a poster display in the Small Animal and Large Animal clinic admission areas that shows a glimpse of what happens in each department.
"We are proud of the work we do," said Kiyoko Fleshman-Kubodera, a clinical laboratory scientist in Microbiology, who is also organizing the events. "We have to be painstakingly meticulous in performing our jobs to provide dependable answers to our veterinarians. At the same time, I feel that we are the last ones in the health care field who are recognized for our work because we are not exposed to the public as nurses and doctors are. This is a great opportunity to improve public awareness of this underexposed, underappreciated field."
Fleshman-Kubodera adds, "There is a huge shortage of clinical laboratory scientists and medical technologists (CLS/MT) nationwide, especially in California. Far fewer people are training as CLSs/MTs than the number of people retiring every year. We encourage college students interested in science to explore the many career opportunities of medical technology as they earn their undergraduate degrees."
For more information about National Medical Laboratory Week, visit the American Society for Clinical Pathology, www.ascp.org/general/labweek
To learn more about medical technology training in the Sacramento area, contact Jiunn Huang, director, School of Clinical Laboratory Science, UC Davis Medical Center, 916-734-0231, http://pathology.ucdavis.edu/education/meditech/.