American Association for Clinical Chemistry
Better health through laboratory medicine
Ronald H. Laessig, PhD
1990 Outstanding Contributions through Service to the Profession of Clinical Chemistry

Ronald H. Laessig will receive the 25th annual AACC Award for Outstanding Contributions through Service to the Profession of Clinical Chemistry. The award is sponsored by Instrumentation Laboratory.

Dr. Laessig has served as Director of the State Laboratory of Hygiene in Madison, WI, since 1980. He holds a joint faculty appointment at the University of Wisconsin-Madison as Professor of Preventive Medicine and of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. He received a B.S. in chemistry and a Ph.D. in analytical chemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1965. Dr. Laessig received a Sloan Foundation Grant for postdoctoral work at Princeton University; he also did postdoctoral work at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta. Throughout his distinguished career, Dr. Laessig’s research interests have centered on the role of proficiency testing in quality assurance in the clinical laboratory.

Dr. Laessig is former chairman of the Food and Drug Administration advisory committee on In Vitro Diagnostic Products. He is past president of the National Committee for Clinical Laboratory Standards (NCCLS) and has served on the Board of Directors for both the NCCLS and AACC. For the NCCLS, Dr. Laessig was chairman of the Expert Panel on Methodological Principles and of the International Committee. He has been an active participant of numerous committees: the Standards Management Committee, the subcommittees on Control Materials and on Calibration and Reference Sera, and the ad hoc Committee on Nomenclature and Definitions. He was NCCLS liaison to the National Reference System in Clinical Chemistry. For the AACC, Dr. Laessig has chaired the Committee on Performance Evaluation and the subcommittee on Safe Laboratory Practices. He was co-chair of the AACC/CAP Conference on the Drinking Driver and the Conference on Drug Abuse Testing. He chaired the AACC Symposium on Data Processing and Quality Assurance. He has been a member of the Committee of Professional Relations for the AACC and the American Chemical Society. Representing both the AACC and ACS, he was a member of the Organizational Committee National Conference on Health Laboratory Services. An active professional, Dr. Laessig is also a member of the American Public Health Association, the Association of State and Territorial Public Health Directors, the Electrochemical Society, and Sigma Xi scientific research society. He has chaired the Symposium on Quality Assurance in Automated Chemistry, the Symposium on Government and the Laboratory, and the Symposium on Legislative Web and CLIA for the Technicon International Congresses. Dr. Laessig is certified by the National Registry for Clinical Chemistry and by the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs.

Dr. Laessig has written more than 100 articles and has lectured at national and international symposia on laboratory aspects of medical care. Twice in the last three years, Dr. Laessig has been selected one of the top 20 speakers by the AACC. He serves on the editorial boards for Analytical Chemistry, Health Laboratory Sciences, and Medical Electronics and Data. Dr. Laessig participates in numerous university committees and lectures to physicians’ assistants and students in medicine, medical technology, and environmental toxicology. An accomplished academician, Dr. Laessig is perhaps most distinguished by his achievements and contributions in continuing education, particularly for maintaining the knowledge base of laboratory analysts. Over the past 20 years, he has set the standard for effective communication between industry and the hospital laboratory through his manufacturer–user meetings. These annual meetings, attended by professionals, laboratory specialists, and industry representatives, have become the model for providing up-to-date information on instrument systems for laboratories. His courses in current topics also provide a forum for introducing laboratory personnel to new technologies and procedures.

As Director of the State Proficiency Testing Program in Wisconsin, Dr. Laessig has proposed a “no fault” proficiency program, aimed at improving clinical chemistry in the state laboratories. His outstanding service in a broad spectrum of areas relevant to clinical chemistry has improved and promoted the quality and reputation of the profession.