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President’s Report: NAACLS – New Dawn

By Peter Hu, PhD, MS, CG(ASCP)CM, CLS CM, MB CM, FACSc, FASAHP

Greetings, colleagues! It is hard to believe almost another year has gone by since I wrote the last “President’s Report.  While the world may still be under an ongoing pandemic, NAACLS has been moving forward with its strategic plan and maintaining the same services as it has always been.  So let us take a closer look at the new strategic plan. 

As you know, NAACLS has been working on a long-term strategic plan.  The NAACLS Board of Directors appointed a task force, chaired by Board member Dr Julie O’Sullivan to develop a strategic plan to guide NAACLS into the future. The Board of Directors adopted the plan during April’s board meeting.  The plan focuses on 5 areas:

  1. Promote program excellence and innovation.  We will be looking at innovative delivery methods and using various educational strategies to support this process.  We will be exploring new programs to expand our current inventory.
  2. Promote and market the value of NAACLS’ accreditation.  This will be done by leveraging the vast experiences of our program directors to increase the presence of NAACLS throughout the clinical laboratory community and beyond.  Experiences from NAACLS program directors on increasing enrollment and other timely topics will be featured in publications and presentations.
  3. Maintain and improve quality accreditation services.  Identify innovative ways to share experiences on recruitment and maintaining clinical affiliate placements.   NAACLS will publish at least two NAACLS News content (article and/or podcast) addressing the education needs of new program directors annually.
  4. Support and enhance the professional development of staff, volunteers, and program personnel.
  5. Maintain stable financial position through strategic investments and fiscally respirable spending to achieve NAACLS mission.

The strategic plan was presented at the Clinical Laboratory Educators Conference and recent Joint Annual Meeting conference.

The NAACLS Board has charged a new task force called Future and Emerging Professions Task Force to identify new program disciplines to be added to the existing inventory.  NAACLS Board of Directors member Karen Brown chairs the task force, which also includes members Dr. Hassan Aziz, Dr. Dianne Cearlock and me.  We have had a few preliminary meetings but will soon be contacting volunteers with specific subject matter expertise to focus on the development of new program types.  Stay tuned!

Regarding site visits, we will continue to offer virtual for now!  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 canceled in Spring of 2020.   To determine the viability of the virtual site visits for the fall cycle, 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 evaluation results were found to be nearly identical.  As a result, the BOD has extended the pilot program through the fall cycle. The Board of Directors will make a long-term decision on virtual site visits at a later date.

As always, NAACLS cannot do its job without dedicated volunteers, especially this year under the ongoing pandemic. I want to thank all of the volunteers for their services to NAACLS and maintaining the quality of these processes.  We will continue to seek volunteers to be self-study reviewers, site visitors, RCAP/PARC/DRC committee members, and board members. If you have any interest, please check the information on the NAACLS website. We look forward to others joining the team. One of the benefits of volunteering is 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 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 apply. NAACLS will announce which positions are eligible for nomination later this fall on the NAACLS News.

Lastly, as I will be stepping down soon as the President of NAACLS, I want to thank all the volunteers, NAACLS staff, and Dr. Cearlock for their support, guidance, mentorship, and friendship for the past nine years serving on the Board.  I hope I am leaving NAACLS in better shape than when I joined, and it sure was a pure pleasure watching this organization grow and thrive.

Farewell,

Peter

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