UTMB Laboratory Professionals are celebrating National Medical Laboratory Professions Week, April 24-30.

Laboratory Professionals are behind-the-scenes detectives who aid in prevention, detection and treatment of disease.
Scientists are board certified through the American Society of Clinical Pathology. They are involved in the collection, processing and analyzing of biological specimens, and instrument maintenance and interpretation of data. They can work in hospital, industrial, forensic and public health laboratories, as well as research and product development and in specialty laboratory positions such as phlebotomy, histotechnology, and cytogenetics.

Camille St. John, UTMB Clinical Laboratory Sciences professor, has been teaching at the UTMB School of Health Professions for 38 years and says she enjoys the constant change of the laboratory. 

“To work in a laboratory, you have to understand the analytes and physiological changes associated with them, you have to know the environmental factors and how instruments operate, when it’s going out of control, and what to do about it,” St. John said.  She added that laboratory professionals can be a great resource to physicans and nurses to aid in the care of their patients.

Laboratory science is a critical health care field essential for detecting diseases such as cancer, heart attacks, diabetes, infections caused by bacteria and viruses, and drug overdoses. With the increased development of new laboratory tests, the laboratory is in constant demand. 

In 2008, there were over 172,000 medical laboratory scientists in the United States. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, medical laboratory scientists are projected to have a 14 percent employment increase by 2016. Medical laboratory scientists are quickly becoming the hidden workers of health care, ranking third among health care professions.
In honor of Laboratory Professions Week, a design contest was held, in which the winner’s design will appear on a t-shirt. The winner of the contest was Melinda Broadway, whose design was chosen because of its unique depiction of the individual laboratory sections