By Jerry A. Phipps, BS, BHS
President, NAACLS Board of Directors
As many NAACLS volunteers and blog subscribers know, I will be representing NAACLS in Doha, Qatar on June 13 when the MLS program at the University of Qatar celebrates its 30th year of NAACLS accreditation and will be awarded a seven (7) year continuing accreditation award. I have been asked to give a short talk on the qualifications of their Biomedical Sciences Program. This is a great honor for NAACLS and me, to be included in a celebration for a successful program as well as to visit an exotic location not on my usual travel itineraries. While considering my comments for the celebration, I was suddenly (and pleasantly) inspired with thoughts which would cover both that assignment and my President’s Message for the Blog. Trust me when I say that developing a topic for these blog postings is not easy for me, a circumstance shared with several past NAACLS Presidents (good luck, Fred Rodriquez!).
On the surface, a program being compliant with the Standards and being accredited is a major accomplishment. The program director and attendant officials have completed the arduous and onerous task of marshalling personnel, space and equipment into the proper configurations with the appropriate processes in place to direct the activities. These components are all appropriately documented and demonstrated to NAACLS and the review process winds to a conclusion with an accreditation award granted for a positive review. Administrators are pleased, the program director retains her/his job, and the program moves forward accepting and educating new classes of students. That is the surface view. But there is a much bigger picture below the surface, much like a large and stately tree. The aspects that we can’t readily see have extensive connections and interactions with myriad surrounding communities, working in concert to strengthen the fabric of life.
Program accreditation assures students, their families and sponsors that they will receive a quality education and be provided entry level knowledge and skills for a profession and a career. The profession gains competent practitioners to maintain and advance the profession. Institutions that employ the graduates are improved by the capabilities of the new lab professionals. Patients and the general public are the direct recipients of the program graduates, with improved health care and quality of life. These accomplishments, while highly valuable in their own right, contribute in concert to improve the nation. Returning full circle, the educational institution with the accredited program is improved in stature and capability. This provides confidence to establish additional programs in other fields, using the templates of the successful program to build on, thus advancing and improving the institution.
Meeting the Standards for Accreditation is a major accomplishment with far reaching effects. NAACLS is proud to provide structure for this stately tree of education and to help each program be as successful as possible. Each existing and new tree adds greatly to our world.