American Association for Clinical Chemistry
Better health through laboratory medicine
NACB News and Views

 

NACB President's Report - April 2010

 
Robert Murray, PhD, JD, FACB
President

The NACB has a strategic plan that was carefully drafted, and continues to serve us well. Our mission has been, and remains, “to advance clinical practice and research, promote education and professional development in clinical laboratory medicine, and to serve as the Academy of AACC.” The third element may occupy a disproportionate share of attention in 2010, as NACB is entering the fifth and final year of its transition into an enduring merger into AACC, becoming permanently the Academy of AACC. The Academy’s leadership, in 2005, incorporated a five-year transition period into the merger agreement, expecting that the transition would allow both organizations to develop the working relationships that would enhance the agreement from both points of view. In this last year or the transition, I hope and anticipate that we will finalize some of the strategies that have worked to carry out our vision. A very visible example of this is the Academy’s efforts to spotlight the best scholarly research in AACC’s abstracts presented at the Annual Meeting. After introducing and highlighting the Distinguished Abstracts program during the past several meetings, NACB will continue to look for ways to bring the best of the Abstracts to the attention of all meeting attendees in Anaheim. Look for these excellent examples of research and scholarly presentation at the meeting this year! I hope that you will not need to search high and low to find the Distinguished Abstracts publicity.

The Academy’s Board of Directors held its initial meeting of 2010 in mid March, and a topic on the agenda focused on health care reform. We all see this legislative milestone as an important change for all health care providers. While we cannot foresee precise changes that await us, the elected Academy leaders are aware that opportunities to advance the Academy’s mission can be buried in the implementation of one or more of the provisions of the health care reform legislation. For example, the health care reform bill promotes “comparative effectiveness,” which is strikingly similar to our pursuit of evidence-based laboratory medicine studies. The Academy will keep as much distance as possible from the politics of health care reform, but promoting improvement in patient care, as it relates to laboratory medicine, is completely consistent with our strategic objective, and we will seek opportunities to succeed in this effort in 2010. Speaking for myself and for the board, we welcome input from all fellows who understand the details of health care reform better than us.

The next Beckman Conference, with planning and leadership provided by NACB, will be held in San Diego on April 12 and 13, 2011. Facilitated by Stephen Kahn and Robert Christenson, representing the Academy, and by Lisa Dunay, AACC staff member, this conference, on the subject of tight glycemic control, will be co-located with the American Association of Clinical Endocrinology (AACE), who is also a co-sponsor. Other organizations are currently being contacted to play a role in this conference. It will be held immediately prior to the opening of AACE’s annual meeting. This accomplishment of encouraging dialogue between clinicians and laboratory scientists advances the Academy’s vision of “. . . advancing the science and practice of clinical laboratory medicine,” as well as the original Arnold O. Beckman goal of meetings that spanned the joint interests of clinical and laboratory groups.

The Academy will continue to devote energy to the development of Laboratory Medicine Practice Guidelines (LMPGs), and as has consistently been the effort, these will be based on rigorous analysis of high quality published evidence. However, when a situation arises that demands a quicker response than what a full, evidence-based study would allow, the Academy will consider development and publication of white papers or consensus statements, both guidelines which lack the full evidence that LMPGs require, but which can be developed on a shorter time line.

These thoughts attempt to outline the shape of my goals for 2010. Success will be measured by how effectively the NACB can exploit and manage the considerable talent and experience of Academy members. This is the challenge that I see facing us, and I welcome and encourage all Fellows to communicate with the leadership of the Academy (www.nacb.org) if and when you have thoughts or suggestions for advancing our vision and mission. I expect that I will be writing my retrospective analysis at the end of the year, and I hope that I can report that we have indeed moved in the direction that I have described.

Robert Murray

President, National Academy of Clinical Biochemistry