Abbott (ticker: ABT, exchange: New York Stock Exchange (.N))
News Release -
National Laboratory Associations Come Together in Support of 'Labs Are Vital' InitiativeInitiative elevates role of laboratory professionals and focuses on finding new solutions to address the growing workforce shortage in the nation's clinical labsABBOTT PARK, Ill., Oct 02, 2007 /PRNewswire via COMTEX News Network/ -- Clinical laboratory associations
across the country are coming together in support of an initiative to raise
national awareness of the role of clinical laboratory professionals in health
care. Through a program called "Labs Are Vital(TM)", sponsored by Abbott
(NYSE: ABT), eight national organizations are working together to elevate the
important role of lab professionals and to recruit new laboratorians as the
industry faces a severe workforce shortage.
Organizations supporting the initiative include the Clinical Laboratory
Management Association (CLMA), American Society for Clinical Laboratory
Science (ASCLS), American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP), American
Medical Technologists (AMT), American Association of Bioanalysts (AAB),
American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC), Association of Public
Health Laboratories (APHL), and American Association of Blood Banks (AABB).
"The union of these organizations to support a single issue is a strong
testament to the importance of 'Labs Are Vital' to our profession and
healthcare in general," said Chris Damon, executive director, American Medical
Laboratory tests are the most cost effective, least invasive source of the
objective information used in clinical decision-making. It is estimated that
laboratory services drive 60 to 80 percent of clinical decisions from
diagnosis through therapy and prognosis, while comprising less than five
percent of a typical hospital budget. While they infrequently meet the
patients who depend on their care, lab professionals are indispensable
partners to clinicians in the delivery of that care.
"Lab professionals have long been the unsung heroes of medical facilities
throughout this country," said John Ball, executive vice president, American
Society for Clinical Pathology. "Their contributions save lives, reduce
morbidity, and help control the cost of care in thousands of healthcare
facilities on a daily basis. For example, treating early-stage cervical
cancer, detected through clinical lab tests conducted by these skilled
professionals, costs more than $16,000 less per patient than treating a
late-stage of the disease. Aside from the pain and anguish averted by early
detection and faster treatment, rapid diagnosis could dramatically reduce the
economic burden facing our healthcare system. It is important that we work
hard to support clinical laboratorians as we move toward a preventive
To address this issue, the eight organizations have joined Abbott in a
commitment to support new "Labs Are Vital" initiatives designed to improve
clinical and economic outcomes for patients by enhancing the role laboratories
and laboratorians play in the delivery of healthcare. The first step in this
process is to highlight the vital -- but often underappreciated -- role
laboratorians currently play in the delivery of care. Program components
include the development of educational materials targeting hospital executives
and other leaders in the healthcare community.
This year, "Labs are Vital" has turned its focus to finding new solutions
to address the critical and growing workforce shortage the nation's clinical
laboratories are facing. According to statistics compiled by the ASCP, there
currently may be as many as 40,000 unfilled clinical laboratory jobs in the
United States. The U.S. Department of Labor projects approximately
13,800 medical laboratory professionals will be needed every year through 2012
to fill vacant positions. Unfortunately, fewer than 5,000 professionals are
graduating from training programs each year.
"A top priority of the 'Labs are Vital' initiative is to inspire the
exploration of new solutions to address how the nation's clinical laboratories
can respond to this critical and growing shortage of qualified laboratory
personnel," said Elissa Passiment, executive vice president, American Society
for Clinical Laboratory Science. "On this issue, all of our interests overlap.
Without new laboratorians entering our field, the future is grim. We've come
together to speak with a single voice on this most vital issue. It is
important to ensure current and future generations understand the importance
of the work lab professionals do everyday in order to recruit qualified
individuals to the field."
"Labs Are Vital" will launch a robust recruitment effort this fall,
including a sponsored group and scholarship competition on the popular online
networking site Facebook. Other recruitment activities include a recruitment
video that is being developed in partnership with the ASCLS, a mentorship
program engaging both students and current professionals, and the ongoing
public awareness ad campaign launched in 2006.
"With a focus on both the leaders in the health community and the next
generation, we are confident this program will make a difference," said Scott
Becker, executive director, Association of Public Health Laboratories.
About "Labs Are Vital(TM)"
"Labs Are Vital" is a multi-pronged, multi-year education and awareness
initiative designed to highlight the critical role that laboratory
professionals play in healthcare and to address the issues facing laboratories
today. The program includes a public awareness campaign, an instrument
donation program, and a variety of Web-based resources for laboratory
professionals and focuses attention on the life-saving work medical laboratory
scientists provide that aid in diagnosing disease and improving health
outcomes. For more information on the "Labs are Vital" program, please visit