AndrewsThere’s something about Hollywood that draws our attention and sparks the imagination as nothing else can. So when William Petersen, star of the popular, award-winning television show CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, starred in a 15-second public service announcement saluting laboratory professionals, many of us recognized how these announcements could significantly increase the public’s awareness of medical laboratory science.

The American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) teamed up with Petersen to create the PSAs, which ran on CBS during National Medical Laboratory Week, April 18–24. In the announcement Petersen saluted pathologists and laboratory professionals for their heroic efforts in saving lives and solving crimes. He also mentioned the laboratory staffing shortage and encouraged those interested in a career in laboratory sciences to contact ASCP. ASCP has already received a lot of positive feedback from the PSAs, and it’s likely that when the final credits roll, this support from Hollywood will be listed as a factor in boosting interest in the laboratory profession.

In another influential arena, President George W. Bush sent a letter to ASCP acknowledging National Medical Laboratory Week and commending medical laboratory professionals for their hard work. In part, the letter said, “Laboratory professionals advance the quality of care for Americans. Their research and testing have led to better understanding, prevention, and treatment of many diseases. These breakthroughs are adding years to our lives and building a healthier future for our citizens. This year’s theme, ‘Laboratory Professionals: Working With You for Better Health,’ reflects the important role of laboratory professionals in our Nation’s health care system.… Our Nation is grateful for your dedication and expertise.”

Hopefully, this appreciation will lead to increased funding that will allow more training for tomorrow’s laboratory professionals and improved research, testing, and other services. Time will tell.

Carol Andrews
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