BCSLS Scholarship Awarded at BCIT

BCIT student Carmen Sham was recently named the winner of the BCSLS Medical Laboratory Technology scholarship. Ms. Sham was honoured at the annual BCIT scholarship ceremony on November 6 with the $500 award, which BCSLS offers each year to recognize the achievement of a second-year BCIT student.

< top of page >

MLT Career Outreach in Terrace

As part of Science World BC's Science and Innovators in the School program for secondary schools, BCSLS members Mark Hawkins and Kirsten Earl met with Grade 11 and 12 students at Caledonia Senior Secondary in Terrace. Their October 26 visit to the school, part of the Opening the Door outreach effort, gave students a chance to talk with a panel of scientific professionals about their careers. Hawkins and Earl, who distributed CSMLS career information, fielded questions and found considerable enthusiasm and curiosity about careers in medical lab science. They encourage BCSLS members to get involved in the SIS program. For more information, see the SIS website, or contact Jennifer Scott, the Community Outreach coordinator, at Science World BC, jscott@scienceworld.ca.

< top of page >

SARS Commission Releases Final Report

January saw the release of the final report of the commision investigating the deadly 2003 outbreak of SARS. As you will recall, SARS first struck in Vancouver, but the commission points to “a combination of robust worker safety and infection control culture” at VGH as the reasons why the disease did not spread here. In Toronto, however, inadequate hospital safety allowed the second outbreak of the disease to take hold. Almost half of those infected in “SARS II” were hospital workers.

Foremost among the commission’s recommendations is recognition of the “precautionary principle”: Reasonable steps to control infection and protect worker safety in hospitals must not wait for scientific proof. Notably missing in the Ontario hospital system were adequate communications protocols and safety procedures for dealing with the outbreak of infectious disease. These procedures must be developed with adequate participation of hospital workers, and oversight by labour safety agencies.

The commission’s recommendations echo in large part the observations made by CSMLS in its 2003 brief to the National Advisory Committee on SARS and Public Health. CSMLS also emphasized the need to build capacity in the medical laboratory workforce to handle staffing needs in such an outbreak. Better communications and coordination, standardized specimen protocols, improved disease surveillance, and better protective equipment for laboratory personnel were also needs identified by CSMLS.

The SARS Commission report may be found here, and the CSMLS brief here

< top of page >

Setting and Maintaining Appropriate Professional Boundaries

As healthcare moves into the community and becomes more patient-centred, traditional patient/practitioner roles become more fluid and less predictable. And as patient information becomes more mobile and transferrable, practitioners need new models for guidance in record maintenance and confidentiality.

To help laboratory professionals understand and work successfully in this shifting framework, the CMLTO has taken a leading role with the online publication of its MLT Boundaries of Practice Guidebook. Designed as a practical tool for working laboratory professionals, the Guidebook offers a decision-making model to help practitioners analyse boundary situations in patient care, access to and disclosure of information, gifts and financial relationships, and dual relationships, where practitioners have other family or financial ties to patients.

BCSLS appreciates the care and effort that the CMLTO has put into this valuable publication, and CMLTO's agreement to allow us to link to it. CMLTO also publishes a related training case study.

< top of page >

BCSLS Recruiting Executive Director

With John Mabbott’s resignation as Executive Director late last year, the Board hired Kim Alves, formerly BCSLS treasurer, to fill in as Acting ED. The Board has now launched the hiring process to find a permanent replacement. Click here for details of the posting on the BCSLS website “Careers” page.

< top of page >

Congress Organizing Now in Full Swing

Exhibitor's Prospectus Now Available

Organizing for this year’s Congress in Merritt, from September 27 through 29, has begun in earnest. Exhibitors and sponsors provide invaluable financial support and help make Congress the exciting and educational event that it is. The Exhibitor's Prospectus for Congress has now been released, and is available on the BCSLS website. If you know of businesses and organizations that might benefit from being involved, let them know that there is a range of opportunities for participation. Leanne MacKenzie, this year's Congress Exhibit Chair, says that space for last year’s Congress sold out, and members should help promote the benefits of taking part in Congress now.

Contact Leanne MacKenzie, the Exhibits Chair, here.

< top of page >

Upcoming TeleHealth Events

Molecular Diagnostics - Mar. 15

Mark your calendar for the BCSLS March TeleHealth event. Next month’s session, on Molecular Diagnostics in the Clinical Laboratory, will be held on March 15. The presenter, Alana Bergstrome, MSc, has 15 years of experience in laboratory research and development and applied diagnostics. The author of 17 peer-reviewed publications, she holds a Masters degree in Medical Genetics from UBC and is certified in the U.S. as a Clinical Specialist in Molecular Biology. She is an experienced and enthusiastic teacher, and currently works as the Supervisor of Molecular Diagnostics, Operations, and Marketing for MDS Metro Labs.

Bergstrome will focus on how molecular technologies can be used along with traditional laboratory methods to optimize patient care. The seminar will review basic molecular theory and look at specific examples of testing methodologies and case studies. Previous molecular training is not required to benefit from the seminar.

More details and registration information are available on the BCSLS website. BCSLS members and other past TeleHealth attendees should also look for invitations by e-mail.

Click here for more information and registration.


The next event in our popular Crime Scene series, the Bioterrorism TeleHealth has been rescheduled for November. Check the BCSLS website for details as they are finalized.

< top of page >

Risk Factors in Chronic Kidney Disease

Journal Article Highlighted

Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors in Chronic Kidney Disease:Overall Burden and Rates of Treatment and Control

Nisha I. Parikh, MD, MPH; Shih-Jen Hwang, PhD; Martin G. Larson, ScD; James B. Meigs, MD, MPH; Daniel Levy, MD; Caroline S. Fox, MD, MPH

Archives of Internal Medicine 2006;166:1884-1891

Takeaway: Chronic kidney disease is associated with a significant burden of cardiovascular disease risk factors in the community. The diagnosis of CKD should alert the practitioner to look for potentially modifiable cardiovascular risk factors.

Source: Sask. Health Quality Council Health Clips

< top of page >

MRSA Growing Threat in Canada

“Superbugs” are a growing threat in Canadian hospitals, a study by the Canadian National Intensive Care Unit has found. The study, led by researchers at the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg Health Sciences Centre and National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg, found that on average one in five Staphylococcus aureus infections are resistant to the antibiotic methicillin. The incidence of these types of infections, called MRSA, is higher than previous estimates of 5 to 15 per cent. While a problem predominantly in hospitals, MRSA infections are also on the rise in communities.

Source: Merck Frosst Health Edition

< top of page >

Write for the Objective

Do you know something others should know about? Want to raise a topic for discussion? How about reviewing a book or web site?

We are looking for people to contribute articles, reviews, commentary, and reports on local happenings to this newsletter.

Just submit a short piece - no more than 300 words - to bcsls@bcsls.net with your name and position title. Please provide any relevant web site links, digital photos, or references with your submission.

Note: BCSLS reserves the right to edit or reject submissions for length, relevance, or misleading or objectionable content.

< top of page >