NACB News and Views


NACB President's Report - December 2009

Stephen E. Kahn, PhD, DABCC, FACB

Seems that the older we get, the faster each year flies by. That definitely applies to my past year in which I’ve had the privilege and pleasure to serve as President of NACB. It seems like there was so much in planning, so many activities to transpire and then, amazingly quick, it’s time to turn over the reins to the next incoming NACB President.  

For better or worse (much better I think), that’s the way it should be.  All year long, I’ve used this newsletter to highlight what’s been going on in and around NACB as well as to mention numerous people involved with a multitude of NACB activities and issues that we’ve all addressed.   But this time, I‘ll offer some personal reflections and underscore a few key issues
In the late ‘70s, I joined AACC and it was a few years after NACB was formed.  I valued and deeply appreciated AACC membership immediately.  But it took me a few years longer to similarly recognize the value of being a fellow in the Academy. We should be grateful and appreciate those insightful and forward-looking founding members of both NACB and AACC.  Where would laboratory medicine be without those who got these groups started?  Would some of our rewarding and fulfilling careers exist at all? 

I must acknowledge the perseverance of three guys who helped me “see the light” in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s on being a fellow in NACB—John Sherwin, Larry Demers and Ingo Kampa.  I’m sure there were others, but these three showed me where to go (or told me where to go … I believe it was one of those …. ). Seriously, many friends and colleagues helped me to understand and recognize what the Academy stands for.  Plus the synergy that exists between NACB and AACC continued to be so highly valued, it caused many, many others to work equally hard towards both groups moving, evolving and growing closer to bring us to where we are today.

This past fall, as an invited guest at AACC’s board meeting, it was “déjà vu all over again” as I returned to a much loved venue that I’d spent so much time in during the ‘90s and earlier this decade.  But I was much more enthused and excited to discuss with AACC’s board what NACB was doing and planned to do, how we were growing, and how we were evolving.   No time or space to be able to mention all the issues here or even most of these activities.  But for 2010, there are three initiatives that deserve further mention because of their potential to greatly impact the practice of laboratory medicine and its influence on healthcare delivery. 

AACC, through a committee led by Greg Miller and Gary Myers, is planning a global consensus conference on international harmonization for the fall of 2010.  As the NACB liaison, I’ve been part of the planning group for what I believe will be a landmark session.  I’m also on the planning committee for the next Arnold O. Beckman Conference which is on “Tight Glycemic Control” planned for early 2011.  Of particular note, AACC and NACB have agreed to consolidate selected aspects and members from their former Evidence-Based Medicine plus Education and Scientific Affairs Committees into a new AACC/NACB Evidence-Based Laboratory Medicine Committee.  This group especially represents another milestone in the synergy between AACC and NACB. This committee will integrate efforts related to obtaining evidence-based assessments and promoting evidence-based research.  Equally important, it will also work toward the application of that research to the practice of laboratory medicine in ways that will build on past efforts to try to achieve more impact than ever before.    

I firmly believe that health care, laboratory medicine and, of course, AACC, need our Academy more so now than ever. The Academy often captures some of the very best efforts that any of us have to contribute to the field. I have no doubt that NACB, the Academy of AACC, will continue to do this in new and exciting ways.  Furthermore, due to the increasing challenges of the practice environment—partly due to extreme financial obstacles, but clearly much more than that alone—the Academy must continue to reinvigorate its own initiatives as well as to find new opportunities to make a meaningful impact in laboratory medicine.

With the rapid pace of change in science and healthcare, I gratefully understand and deeply respect the value of continuity in leadership. In 2010, a long-time friend and Chicago-area colleague, Bob Murray, will serve as NACB’s President.  Under his leadership, the Academy will continue to grow as well as to continue to make important and significant contributions in our field.  Through Bob’s leadership of NACB’s Board of Directors and the Academy overall, NACB will identify new areas of opportunity that will extend our activities and evolve our mission.
Despite my focus here toward our future, I again thank the many individuals who helped my presidential year pass in such a wonderful way for me.  I’m particularly grateful to have served, once again, with such a gifted group of colleagues on NACB’s Board of Directors.  I extend a special thanks to those board members rotating off after 2009 as well as a special welcome to those who are rotating on in 2010.  So many others, particularly several terrific members of our NACB staff, have made amazingly significant contributions as well.  But from my view, one person stands out.  NACB Executive Director Penny Jones is one of the most gifted and wonderful individuals that I have ever known.  It’s been my privilege to work with her on so many welcome occasions over the years. Thank you, Penny.

Bob Murray, along with the able support of the board, our staff, and so many others, will continue to help NACB advance scholarship in health care and laboratory medicine.  I hope that you’re looking forward to what’s coming next in 2010 as much as I am.  Thank you for all the ways that you helped me and more importantly, make NACB strong and active in this past year.
So now it’s come to yet another senior advisory role, this time as NACB’s immediate Past President. I wonder if Yoda ever felt the way that I sometimes do.  Best wishes to everyone and your families for a wonderful holiday season. May the Force Be With You.

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