This is a companion article to our November 2015 Inside Track, “Help Wanted.”
The American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) has a longstanding commitment to creating and implementing initiatives to address impending workforce shortages affecting the clinical laboratory community. Now, with findings of the society’s biennial vacancy survey for 2014 suggesting that labs will soon face an urgent and increasing need for skilled professionals, ASCP is once again ahead of the curve with an innovative program called “What’s My Next.”1
Developed by ASCP in partnership with global laboratory medicine leader Roche Diagnostics, Indianapolis, Ind, “What’s My Next” provides the essential first steps of a comprehensive approach to address the shortage of qualified laboratory professionals in the healthcare industry. The program was launched this October, in conjunction with the 2015 ASCP annual meeting in Long Beach, Calif.
“‘What’s My Next’ is targeted primarily toward science?oriented high school students,” explains ASCP CEO E. Blair Holladay, PhD, SCT(ASCP)CM.. “It is intended to expose them to exciting career opportunities in laboratory medicine and pathology, and to showcase the important lifesaving roles that lab professionals play.”
Students at Caddo Parish Middle Magnet School, Shreveport, La, were among the first to get an advance look at the “What’s My Next” program. “I am thrilled that ASCP is providing this rich educational opportunity for high school students,” says Natalie Howell, a science teacher at Caddo Parish School. “The laboratory plays an important role in patient care, and ‘What’s My Next’ shines a spotlight on this largely hidden field.”
In advance of the ASCP annual meeting, approximately 200 students from eight Southern California high schools became the first visitors to the society’s Web site. The site enables visitors to participate in a series of activities to learn about medical laboratory and pathology professions.
At the society’s annual meeting, the same students took part in “Nextpo,” an exposition extension of “What’s My Next” where the students had an opportunity to meet with a group of ASCP career ambassadors. The ASCP guides led the students in hands-on educational exercises and facilitated short talks and discussions about laboratory medicine and pathology.
“By inviting the students to take part in interactive experiments, exposing them to successful medical laboratory professionals and pathologists, and offering them educational exercises to learn about amazing, new scientific discoveries, we hope to expand their awareness of the exciting career opportunities that exist in laboratory medicine and pathology,” says Holladay.
To learn more about “What’s My Next,” visit www.whatsmynext.org.
- Garcia E, Ali AM, Soles RM, Lewis DG. The American Society for Clinical Pathology’s 2014 vacancy survey of medical laboratories in the United States. Am J Clin Pathol. 2015;144(3):432–443; doi: 10.1309/AJCPN7G0MXMSTXCD.