MLA Day Coming Soon – Early-Bird Deadline Extended

This year’s Medical Laboratory Assistant Education Day is less than two weeks away. A full day of education and professional support, this year’s MLA Day takes place on Saturday, May 26, from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm at Douglas College in New Westminster. Educational sessions, tailored for MLAs, include

  • Glucose Tolerance and H. pylori testing, by Dr. John Heathcote, MD, of BC Biomedical Laboratories
  • Hepatitis, by Dr. Michael Moss, MD, of MDS Metro Laboratory Services
  • ECGs for MLAs, by Cathie Cousins, RN
  • Wellness, by Deirdre Goudriaan, MA, of BC Healthy Communities

Lunch is provided by BCSLS, and those who attend will also receive a free subscription to a BCSLS webcast of particular interest to MLAs. Door prizes will be awarded, and MLA day will once again be not only a unique educational resource, but also an opportunity for MLAs to network and get to know the profession better.

The early-bird registration deadline has been extended to May 17, at noon, so sign up now to get the reduced rate.

More information is available on the BCSLS website.

Sign up now online or using the mail-in form.

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BCSLS Hires New Executive Director

Malcolm Ashford has recently started work as the new Executive Director of BCSLS, replacing Kim Alves who served with distinction as Acting ED since late last year. Once a Histological Technician at Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria, Malcolm has decades of experience in designing and delivering professional training. He also has extensive management experience, especially with non-profit organizations like BCSLS. As President and CEO of the Pacific Rim Institute of Tourism, he developed training and certification programs for the hospitality industry from the ground up, represented small business on the Industry Training and Apprenticeship Commission, and was a founding director of the Canadian Tourism Human Resource Council.

A graduate of the UBC Faculty of Commerce and Business Administration, Malcolm has most recently worked as a consultant in marketing, communications, and management. About his appointment to BCSLS, Malcolm say, “I think my experience in developing training programs and managing major shifts in organizational culture will be of real benefit to BCSLS. I’m looking forward to working with this dynamic group that is on the brink of major developments in promoting and strengthening the laboratory technology professions.” You can read more about Malcolm on the BCSLS website, and reach him at

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Pennell Steps Down as VP – Board Nominations Announced

With a move from Fort Nelson to Nova Scotia, where he will be taking up a new position, Trent Pennell will be leaving BCSLS as Vice President on June 1. An active and devoted contributor to BCSLS, Trent will be missed. He leaves with the appreciation of the BCSLS Board and membership for his hard work and commitment.

Nominations are now open for BCSLS Vice President, as well as for MLA Director and Professional Development Director. The nomination form is available here. Nominations must be submitted before September 28, or at the AGM in Merritt.

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Apply Now for BCSLS Honorary Awards

Every year, BCSLS makes several honorary awards to members and students to recognize achievement and support professional growth. Applications for this year’s awards must be submitted by June 15. Details of the awards and application criteria can be found on the BCSLS website

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TeleHealth Wrap-up: Hepatitis Testing

In the May 10 BCSLS TeleHealth Video Broadcast, Dr. Luis Lasalvia, MD, offered a comprehensive look at the nature of viral hepatitis, and specific laboratory testing methodologies. Dr. Lasalvia is a recogized expert on the disease, as well as an authority on current laboratory approaches. In his position in Scientific Affairs at Bayer Diagnostics, he travels internationally and presents extensively, conducting scientific forums and grand rounds.

For BCSLS members who missed Dr. Lasalvia’s TeleHealth broadcast, his PowerPoint presentation is available on the BCSLS website, in the TeleHealth archives.

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June TeleHealth To Focus on Malaria Diagnosis

The next TeleHealth Video Broadcast, on June 21, will look at laboratory techniques in diagnosing malaria, a disease that causes as many as three million deaths each year. The presenter, Dr. Bakul Dalal, MD, is Clinical Professor in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at UBC and Associate Director of the Hematology Laboratory at VGH. A widely recognized international expert, he is an established clinical educator and the author of many scientific papers on hematology.

Details on the TeleHealth broadcast, which promises to be uniquely valuable to laboratory professionals, can be found on the BCSLS website.

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West Nile Virus Remains a Threat

West Nile virus, spread by mosquitoes and often resulting in serious neuroinvasive disease, appears to be on the rise again. Even though infection peaked in 2003, statistics for 2005 show a ten-fold increase in infection over the previous year. This continuing threat means that laboratory professionals should remain aware of West Nile virus, and the laboratory methods that diagnosis requires. Specifically, new developments by manufacturers have simplified and standardized testing procedures.

Source: Medical Laboratory Observer. Full text available here.

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C. Dificile Requires Immediate Improvements in Diagnosis and Treatment

The incidence and severity of C. dificile-Associated Disease, or CDAD, is increasing in Canada, the US, and some parts of Europe, said a panel of experts at a recent international conference in Germany. In response to this “rapidly emerging” threat, participants in a CDAD symposium at the 17th European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases called for increasing vigilance on the part of hospitals, as well as better diagnosis and treatment of C. dificile.

Molecular typing methods, especially rapid, real-time techniques, can detect the C. dificile gene directly, resulting in rapid diagnosis, even in asymptomatic patients.

Source: Infection Control Today. Full text available here

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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 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.

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