Robert Murray, PhD, JD, FACB
The approaching end of the year brings with it the end of my term as Academy president, always a good time to review what the Academy has accomplished, and to lay out our goals for the future. The future will develop, of course, under the capable leadership of Dr. Ronald Whitley, who will take over as Academy President on January 1, 2011.
In my opinion, the highest current priority of the Academy has been to achieve a successful transition from acting as an independent body to one that functions as the academy of the AACC. I see progress in this transition, as we have melded the separate NACB awards with the AACC awards without serious disruption. The academy will retain several of its distinct awards, while merging another with AACC. This outcome advances our role. Additionally, the Academy’s support for oral presentation of abstracts has been fused into a revamping of AACC’s poster and oral presentations, the outcome of which highlights good science and noteworthy research. The Academy’s selection of Distinguished Posters will continue independently of the oral presentations.
Perhaps NACB’s most important accomplishment was the publication of the LMPGs Use of Tumor Markers in Liver, Bladder, Cervical, and Gastric Cancers, edited by Catharine Sturgeon and Eleftherios Diamandis, and Laboratory Analysis and Application of Pharmacogenetics to Clinical Practice, edited by Roland Valdes Jr, Deborah Payne, and Mark W. Linder. In addition, Guidelines and Recommendations for Laboratory Analysis in the Diagnosis and Management of Diabetes Mellitus was posted in early November for a final comment period; publication in early 2011 is anticipated. Obviously NACB’s efforts in LMPG development are continuing, even as the Academy has joined AACC’s parallel efforts in Evidence-Based Medicine, resulting in the formation of a joint Evidence-Based Laboratory Medicine Committee (EBLMC).
Finally, the Academy is undertaking a new direction in advancing its mission to facilitate professional communication by establishing a blog. Discussions regarding blogs have been an education for me personally, as I thought that a blog (from “web log”) was a digital soliloquy, a diary of sorts. What the academy is planning is being called a blog, but it incorporates features of what is generically called an internet forum. It will start with a comment/statement/essay/editorial by an Academy fellow, but then comments on the thoughts expressed in the initial posting will be allowed, both by fellows and others. These will be monitored, meaning that they will be reviewed for appropriateness (no commercial messages, no denigrating statements, etc.) before they appear online. Others may post their agreement or disagreement with a prior commenter’s statement, and so on. At a certain point, the blog and its comments will be frozen, still available online, but the posting of new comments will not be allowed indefinitely. NACB’s blog differs from other online discussion sites (variously called an internet forum, a message board, chat room, or a listserv) in that this blog will start with a comment on a defined topic, and comments will need to relate to that topic. Additionally, comments will be required to have the writer’s name and affiliation listed; comments will be monitored so that inappropriate comments are not posted.
This new blog will be named the NACBLOG, so when you see a reference to the NACBLOG, this is what is referred to. Evolution of the blog will require attention and effort, as we monitor its success, and work to achieve the most efficient process. I am excited about this development because it is novel and creative, and offers us an opportunity to use technology to achieve one of the purposes of the Academy.
For the future, I anticipate that LMPGs will remain a focus of Academy effort and attention, and we will continue to refine the relationship between the Academy and the EBLMC. You’ll see the NACBLOG up and running in early 2011. Under the heading of “Possible Activities” is closer involvement in Laboratory Tests Online (LTO). Dr. Robert Dufour attended the Academy Board Meeting in July, to discuss his plans and hopes for the future of LTO, and the Board offered its expertise in supporting Dr. Dufour’s ideas.
Overall I see the Academy’s continuing success in programs it does well, and progress in new directions, and this bodes well for our future.