By Peter Hu, PhD, MS, MLS(ASCP)CM, CGCM, MBCM, FACSc, FASAHP
President, NAACLS Board of Directors
Greetings, colleagues! It is hard to believe it has been nearly a year since I wrote the previous “President’s Report” for the NAACLS Blog. Many things have happened, and some we are still living through. Nevertheless, clinical laboratorians are tough, resilient, and can critically think their way through just about any situation. Below is a summary of some of the top NAACLS activities during this past year.
As you know, the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) recognizes NAACLS. Like us, they are always looking for ways to improve their quality assurance processes. CHEA’s requirements for transparency, including accreditors and programs posting outcomes and program accreditation award details, are constantly evolving and will become more prescriptive in the future. To accommodate this requirement, NAACLS may have to make some policy and standard changes in the future.
Another project NAACLS has been working on is the long-term strategic plan. The taskforce is chaired by Board member Dr. Julie O’Sullivan Maillet. The taskforce is currently looking at the overall structure of the strategic plan focusing on five key areas. Once created, the taskforce is hoping to maintain a “live” version of the report. This strategic plan will help chart the course of the organization for the next five to 10 years.
With respect to our continuation of workshops, NAACLS recently subscribed to CVENT and ZOOM. We will host the fall NAACLS workshop via webinar on November 13th 2020 using Cvent for registration and Zoom for the webinar. NAACLS staff has been recently trained and has been working diligently with presenters to finalize the webinar. If you are interested in attending the NAACLS workshop webinar, please visit www.naacls.org.
The Accreditation Management System (AMS) project is currently paused awaiting a Board appointed task force to review the current state of the project and its future direction. The initial meeting took place in December 2019, and a second meeting occurred in January 2020 with recommendations to the Board. Rest assured, we will move forward.
Regarding site visits, we have gone virtual! Temporarily, in any case. Since March of last year, COVID19 created challenges for NAACLS to review programs in our traditional manner. To help avoid an unmanageable number of postponed site visits, the NAACLS Board of Directors launched a pilot program of virtual site visits over the summer. These site visits were for programs that had their site visits cancelled in the spring of 2020. To determine the viability of the virtual site visits for the fall cycle, the NAACLS Board of Directors compared the results of the virtual site visit evaluations for summer of 2020 against the traditional face-to-face site visit evaluations. The findings of these sets of evaluations were nearly identical. As a result, the BOD extended the pilot program through the fall cycle. A long-term decision regarding virtual site visits will be made at a later date.
This year, for the first time, we have named a NAACLS Volunteer Lifetime Achievement Award recipient. Dr. Shauna Anderson has dedicated decades of volunteer services to NAACLS, holding many positions and participated in key changes that shaped this organization. Dr. Anderson has been invited to the Fall Board 2021 meeting where she will be presented with the award. Congratulations!
As always, NAACLS cannot do its job without dedicated volunteers, especially this year while dealing with the ongoing pandemic. I want to thank all of the volunteers for their services to NAACLS and maintaining the quality of these processes. We continue to seek volunteers not only to be self-study reviewers and site visitors, but review committee members (RCAP/PARC/DRC) and board members. If you have any interest, please check the information on the NAACLS website. We look forward to others joining the team. Benefits of volunteering not only include ensuring quality laboratory education around the world, but also learning how others have created high quality programs accredited and approved by NAACLS. We would like to see as many nominations as possible for these review committee and board of director positions so they are well contested. This year, we will have many vacancies to fill, so when you see the call out for committees, please reach out to your colleagues and encourage them to self-nominate. Nominations can also be directly emailed to Mark Spence, Volunteer Services Manager (firstname.lastname@example.org) . A detailed list of positions open for nominations will be on the NAACLS Blog before the holidays.
These are unprecedented times with continuing challenges. However, we will get through this together. I wish all of you stay safe and looking forward to meeting you in the near future.