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Outside the Lab Profession

A Community of Equals

This past week, I had the honor and pleasure of seeing many familiar faces at the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)’s annual meeting. Some of you I had met at previous conferences. Others, I had spoken with by phone or had conversations with via email. Some of you I knew only by your Twitter handles. Still others first crossed my path when they appeared on this year’s Power List (1). And some of you were friends of friends, people I had heard mentioned in cases or announced in newsletters or lauded for poster presentations.

Throughout my many interactions, I noticed something quite remarkable: it seemed to make very little difference which group each of you fell into. With everyone at the conference, conversation was easy, educational, and convivial. We discussed key problems facing laboratory medicine; we discussed the education and recruitment pipeline in the field; we even discussed how some of you prefer to make (or not make) your beds.

And, equally remarkable, through all of those conversations, there was a distinct lack of hierarchy. I spoke to medical students, residents, faculty members, chairs, and society presidents – on some occasions, all at once. Each person was listened to with equal respect and importance, regardless of their rank or their years of experience. It was clear to me that, at least among laboratory professionals, everyone has a voice, and every voice deserves to be heard. ASCP CEO E. Blair Holladay says that “it takes a village” to ensure optimal health care (see here) – but I’ve found that laboratory medicine is a special kind of village. It’s a warm and welcoming community.

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  1. “The Power List 2018”, The Pathologist, 46, 18–40 (2018). Available at:
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