New MLA Course Moratorium Lifted

At its January 24th meeting the BCSLS Board decided to lift the moratorium on its approval of new MLA courses recognized for certification.

A moratorium was implemented in November 2003 due to the lack of clinical training placements for students. Laboratory employers have repeatedly indicated that adequate clinical training is a key element for MLA preparation, but many have found it difficult to offer such placement.

The BCSLS continues to be concerned about the lack of placements, but concluded that it would be better to require each new course provider to submit evidence of their ability to arrange them in accredited medical laboratories in Canada.

This decision follows the Board's decision of April 2005 to recognise clinical placements arranged by approved course providers in accredited laboratories outside BC.

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BCIT Hosts PCR Workshop

PCR - a simple acronym that has revolutionized molecular analysis. PCR stands for Polymerase Chain Reaction amplification: an elegant and versatile reaction platform that forms the basis for an impressive array of diagnostic assays allowing for the detection of specific DNA and RNA sequences.

A two-day PCR workshop is being hosted by BCIT Medical Laboratory Science Continuing Education on the following dates

  • Workshop A - March 4 and 11, 2006
  • Workshop B - March 25 and 26, 2006

The workshop will provide participants with the opportunity to perform basic PCR assays to amplify and detect DNA target sequences associated with disease. Emphasis is placed on the participant practicing proper technique to minimize the risk of DNA contamination in amplification reactions, correctly interpreting assay results and utilizing appropriate PCR controls to validate assay performance and result quality.

There will be a review of basic nucleic acid structure and chemistry to help with the understanding of the workings of PCR. DNA isolation methods are discussed in the context of successful PCR analysis as is the theory of selected automated and real-time (kinetic) PCR technologies.

You are invited to join BCIT for what promises to be a valuable 'hands-on' and fun two days. For more information, check out their workshop website

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Membership Renewal Information

Soon the BCSLS will be mailing membership information and forms to those who have not yet joined for the 2006/07 year. Please note that most people jointly renew their BCSLS and CSMLS memberships when they receive their CSMLS notice between September and December. However, the BCSLS and CSMLS have different membership years, which can be confusing.

  • CSMLS Membership Year: January 1 - December 31
  • BCSLS Membership Year: May 1 – April 30

When joining or renewing please keep in mind the following:

  • Those who have renewed their provincial membership through CSMLS for 2006 will be credited for continuing BCSLS membership to April 30, 2007.
  • A new BCSLS member (someone joining for the first time or someone whose membership lapsed for over a year) who joined BCSLS via the CSMLS for 2006 will be credited with BCSLS membership from January 1, 2006 - April 30, 2007.
  • A new member who joined BCSLS directly after January 1st, 2006 will be immediately credited for BCSLS membership to April 30, 2007.

If you haven't already done so, you can now renew or join BCSLS online or by printing the form from our website. Being a member does not mean that you are certified. MLT certification is obtained from CSMLS. MLA certification is obtained through a separate application to BCSLS.

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BC Health Care Bursaries

Interested in completing your health care diploma or degree? You may be eligible for a BC Health Care Bursary. If you intend to train in a health care field with a demonstrated shortage of skilled employees or to keep pace with changing technology or to address preventive care needs you could qualify for between $500 and $3500. Laboratory professionals should have few problems demonstrating one or another of these priorties. Check with your employer, education institution or Human Resources Development Canada office.

The next deadline is March 15 for eligible courses starting between May and August, 2006. There is a July 15 deadline for courses starting between September and December, 2006.

For more information contact the Ministry of Advanced Education. Application forms are available online.

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Health Council Calls for Accelerated Change

The Health Council of Canada has issued a report calling for sweeping changes to the way health care professionals are trained, how their scopes of practice are organized and how they are treated in the workplace. The Council's special report, Modernizing the Management of Health Human Resources in Canada: Identifying Areas for Accelerated Change (Executive Summary), was released on November 28, 2005.

"The Canadian population is aging, our needs are changing, and it is essential that there be enough well-trained professionals to meet increasing service demands," Council Chair Michael Decter said. "Working with health care and education stakeholders, the Council has developed an ambitious call for change." Decter said.

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Ontario's Chief Medical Officer Wants Public Labs Strengthened

According to a recent CTV report, Ontario's Chief Medical Officer Dr. Sheela Basrur reported to the provincial legislature that more medical health officers and strengthened public health laboratories are needed to help identify infectious diseases faster -- before they get out of control.

"When they are confronted with very, very high volumes, when samples pour in through every door… there is no way that they can keep pace."

She also warned that medical staffers are overworked, which could prove detrimental if a crisis were to occur.

With avian flu fears spreading faster than the actual disease, she reassured the public that the province is stockpiling anti-viral drugs in case there is an outbreak.

It is worth noting also that the Calgary Health Region announced recently that they will be acquiring full ownership of the private Calgary Laboratory Services (CLS) with its 1,100 employees.

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Riding the Rails in the Rockies

The BCSLS Congress 2006 committee invites you to come to the beautiful BC Rockies. If you have never travelled to the East Kootenays, you are in for a real treat. Congress ’06 will be held September 21-23 at the Prestige Rocky Mountain Resort & Convention Centre in Cranbrook. Our host city is situated on the edge of the Canadian BC Rockies and boasts a breathtaking view of these majestic peaks.

The committee has been working hard planning an exciting event. We will be having an Exhibits Trade Show running throughout the Congress, starting with a Reception on Thursday night. It is always great to meet the company reprsentative and learn about their latest innnovations.

Our Scientific committee has been busy planning lectures and workshops. A few of the confirmed speakers and/or topics are

  • Dr. Karen McClean, Infectious Diseases Specialist
  • Microbiology Case Studies ~ Canadian & African
  • Dr. Edith Blondell-Hill, BC Children’s Hospital ~ Microbiologist
  • Astrid Maguire, Royal Inland Hospital ~ BloodBank Hot Topics
  • Renal & Cardiac general interest sessions
  • Quality Systems ~ A practical & functional approach
  • MLA topics of interest

After spending the day expanding our minds, we want you to unwind, meet old & new friends and experience some of our local area. Just outside of the congress site are several areas to get out and stretch your legs. Friday night entertainment will be a lively Mystery/Dinner Theatre in the beautifully restored Royal Alexandra Hall located at the Canadian Museum of Rail Travel. Saturday’s “Casual Night” is still in the planning stages but we are “on track” with several great ideas.

The East Kootenay area has a very active arts community, and provides many great recreational opportunities, from hiking to golf to just soaking in the various natural Hot Springs. Consider coming early and staying late… and of course invite all your lab colleagues to join us. Keep updated through the BCSLS website

Congress ‘06.... A Rocky Mountain high is waiting for you.

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