Facing Massive Labor Shortage, American Society for Clinical Pathology Committed to Expanding Medical Laboratory Workforce

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Plan focuses on raising visibility of clinical laboratory careers, recruitment and retention, and strengthening diversity and inclusion in the laboratory

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“Creating a sustainable, diverse, and well-qualified workforce is imperative to ensuring that patients throughout the United States can obtain the quality testing services they need to enjoy optimal health.” — ASCP CEO Blair Holladay, PhD, MASCP, SCT(ASCP)CM

The clinical laboratory workforce that underpins the U.S. healthcare system is under siege. Laboratory professionals—providers of critical information to diagnose, treat, and manage disease—are retiring or leaving the profession in droves. This mass exodus is disrupting delivery of healthcare services for patients and healthcare providers.

This month, the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) is pleased to take action with the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), which convenes global leaders to create and implement solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. ASCP is committed to expanding and strengthening the laboratory workforce to ensure that patients have access to quality care. Through the Society’s alignment with the goals of the Clinton Global Initiative, ASCP has established a Commitment to Action, Developing the Next Generation of Laboratory Professionals: Resilient, Inclusive, and Visible, to develop the next generation of medical laboratory professionals, ensuring they are resilient, inclusive, and visible in all aspects of healthcare.

ASCP believes that a focus on diversity in terms of gender, age, and race/ethnicity will help make the laboratory workforce more representative of the general population. Building awareness of the importance of a diverse and inclusive workforce is a first step toward developing and implementing recruitment strategies that reach students and employees from underrepresented groups and encourage them to pursue careers in the laboratory profession.

Recently, ASCP, in partnership with the University of Washington Center for Health Workforce Studies (UW CHWS), conducted groundbreaking research that produced innovative strategies to bolster recruitment and retention of laboratory professionals, while also working to build a more diverse and inclusive laboratory workforce.

These strategies, known as the Clinical Laboratory Workforce: Understanding the Challenges to Meet Current and Future Needs Blueprint for Action, summarize the needs identified by the ASCP/UW CHWS report and recommend actions to address challenges and barriers associated with these needs.

Recommendations are grouped under the following categories:

  • strengthening recruitment and retention;
  • enhancing focus on diversity and inclusion in the laboratory; and,
  • improving visibility of clinical laboratory- occupations.

“ASCP is honored to take action with the Clinton Global Initiative,” said ASCP CEO Blair Holladay, PhD, MASCP, SCT(ASCP)CM. “Creating a sustainable, diverse, and well-qualified workforce is imperative to ensuring that patients throughout the United States can obtain the quality testing services they need to enjoy optimal health.”

The Society is developing a national coalition of organizational partners, representing a wide range of key groups and audiences, to assist with implementing the Blueprint for Action. These include laboratories, laboratory training programs, professional organizations, government institutions, academic community, and underserved community organizations.

“With ASCP’s background in building collaborative global health initiatives, the Society has the experience necessary to establish a new coalition to focus on developing the medical laboratory workforce of the future in our country,” Dr. Holladay added.

ASCP’s Commitment to Action with the Clinton Global Initiative will help ASCP and its participating partners raise the visibility of the laboratory and ensure the stability of the laboratory workforce for future generations through advocating for state and federal funding to support initiatives within the profession; identifying and collaborating with underserved community organizations; educating policy makers on the need and benefits of a diverse laboratory workforce, and more.

Resources:
ASCP Groundbreaking Research: https://ascpcdn.s3.amazonaws.com/static/ISTP/ASCP_UW_Clinical+Laboratory+Workforce_Report_2021.pdf

ASCP Blueprint for Action
https://ascpcdn.s3.amazonaws.com/static/ISTP/Siemens_Clinical+Laboratory+Workforce_Blueprint.pdf

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About ASCP
Founded in 1922 in Chicago, ASCP is the world’s largest professional membership organization for pathologists and laboratory professionals. ASCP provides excellence in education, certification, and advocacy on behalf of patients, anatomic and clinical pathologists, and medical laboratory professionals. To learn more, visit http://www.ascp.org. Follow us on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ascp_chicago and connect with us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ASCP.Chicago.
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About the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI):
The Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) convenes global and emerging leaders to create and implement solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. CGI works with partners to drive action through its unique model. Rather than directly implementing projects, CGI facilitates action by helping members connect, collaborate, and develop Commitments to Action — new, specific, and measurable plans that address global challenges. Through CGI, the community has made more than 3,700 Commitments to Action that have made a difference in the lives of more than 435 million people in more than 180 countries.

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Susan Montgomery
ASCP
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