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Outside the Lab Profession

Giving to Others, and to Ourselves

The holiday season is traditionally one of giving. We give the tangible – money, food – and the intangible – time, goodwill – to those in need. We step outside ourselves and share what we have for the greater good, knowing as we do so that we are contributing to the success and happiness of others. Although the holiday season is a great reminder to donate, it’s worth remembering that, come January 1, these needs don’t stop – they are often long-term or sometimes even lifelong.

As a patient-centered organization, we spend much of our time focusing on how we can improve the patient experience and how we can contribute to fulfilling patients’ needs. We continually educate ourselves so we are up to date on the latest research that informs our pathology and laboratory science practice. We collaborate with peers and colleagues to share knowledge and ensure that we are providing patients with the right test, the right diagnosis, the right care plan, at the right time.

But, too often, we overlook how we can fulfill the needs of the people within our own profession.

In 2017, we launched the ASCP Foundation with a three-pronged intent: i) to support pathology and laboratory medicine students on their educational journey; ii) to increase the visibility of the profession; and iii) to improve global health by supporting increased implementation and improvement of diagnostics in underserved and underdeveloped countries.

Too often, we overlook how we can fulfill the needs of the people within our own profession.

Supporting those within pathology and laboratory science is crucial to our profession’s success. The scholarships the Foundation provides help lift a mantle of worry from students who are passionate about the profession, but struggle to pay for essentials like books and study materials. The Foundation also provides opportunities for travel to conferences and events that help shape a young professional’s career path and inform their practice. Foundation donations have helped the Partners for Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment in Africa Initiative enhance laboratories and train the personnel needed to create a sustainable workforce.

In the three years that the Foundation has been running, we have seen great success. We’ve had thousands of donations and have given away more than half a million dollars to fulfill the missions we established at its launch. The success we’ve seen lies squarely in the hands of the individuals and outside organizations who have embraced our mission and contributed both money and time to support those in our profession who need it most.

Donating to the ASCP Foundation is a fundamental and indispensable way that pathology and laboratory science professionals can help support each other. Together through the ASCP Foundation, we can – and do – foster the growth of not only our future colleagues, but also the profession as a whole. I invite and encourage you to contribute not just during this holiday season, but throughout the year: ascp.org/foundation.

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About the Author

E. Blair Holladay

CEO of the American Society for Clinical Pathology

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