Medical Laboratory Professionals Week (MLPW) provides our profession with a unique opportunity to increase public understanding of and appreciation for clinical laboratory personnel.
MLPW, which takes place the last full week in April each year, is coordinated by a collaborative committee with representatives from 17 national clinical laboratory organizations, including ASCLS. Now in it’s 44th year, it is important to reflect on the important history of MLPW.
Medical Laboratory Professionals Week originated in 1975 as National Medical Laboratory Week, or NMLW, under the auspices of the American Society for Medical Technology, now called the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science (ASCLS). In subsequent years, other organizations have served as cosponsors and campaign supporters. Learn more about MLPW here.
In the fall of 2005, NMLW was changed to National Medical Laboratory Professionals Week (NMLPW) to emphasize the person whose expertise is needed in the performance of laboratory testing. Beginning in 2010 the organizers decided to “brand” the event by using the same theme each year: Laboratory Professionals Get Results. In the summer of 2012 organizers deleted “National” from the title for brevity, and it became Medical Laboratory Professionals Week.
There are approximately 300,000 practitioners of clinical laboratory science in the United States. Since the development of this career group in the 1920s, the clinical laboratory science professional has played an increasingly vital role in the diagnosis and prevention of disease. Today, the clinical laboratorian is a key member of a health care team.
As team members of one of the largest industries in the United States, the dedicated efforts of laboratory professionals often go unnoticed by the general public, as well as by the very institutions employing their services. With the public now demanding the assurance of quality health care and professional accountability, organizations representing practitioners of this critical science have a responsibility to ensure that the public is well informed about clinical laboratory competency.