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NACB President’s Report - September 2011


Ronald J. Whitley, PhD, DABCC, FACB

Thanks to all who joined us in Atlanta for the 2011 Annual Meeting! It was my honor, on behalf of the Academy, to announce recipients of this year’s NACB Distinguished Abstract Awards during Tuesday’s Plenary Session at the Georgia World Congress Center. This year 30 abstracts were selected for distinction, which represented the work of scientists from around the world with more than half from outside the U.S. 

I hope you found time during the AM week to visit the poster sessions and congratulate our ‘blue ribbon’ winners. Some of these distinguished abstracts were also selected for 15-minute oral presentations during the afternoon symposium titled ‘What’s Novel in Biomarkers?’ I must admit to being a huge fan of oral presentations. To be sure, poster presentations are efficient and allow authors to meet informally with interested viewers. However, they frequently deprive observers of hearing the thoughts/questions/responses of others, and they lack the excitement (and tension!) of having the investigator present and defend the work before a large audience. I will encourage our Annual Meeting Organizing Committee, or AMOC, to provide this valuable opportunity again in 2012 to as many investigators as possible.

Our annual Awards Luncheon was a sold-out event this year! We began by celebrating our transition from an independent body to one that functions as the Academy of the AACC. To commemorate the occasion, we gifted attendees with a 2 GB flash drive inscribed with our Academy logo. We also installed 27 new Fellows into the Academy and honored all of our awards recipients. Be sure to visit the NACB website and view some photos of this event:

In my spring newsletter, I reported on the continuing efforts of your NACB leadership to ensure that the Academy remains strong and effective. So how are we doing? 

. The launch of our NACBLOG in January was a huge success and has proved to be an excellent platform for presenting opinions and current scientific information on a variety of lab issues. But we still need your help! With a new topic being posted every Tuesday, we are looking to you, our Fellows, for topics and authors. So ‘come ‘blog with us’, and be sure to thank our editorial board (Patti Jones, Mary Lou Gantzer, Bill Winter, and Alison Woodworth) for their outstanding efforts.

Searchable Database.
  As the AACC Academy, the NACB will increasingly tap its Fellows for active duty in a variety of ways:  serving on advisory groups, representing the Academy on AACC committees, offering advice on position papers/statements, representing AACC on committees of other professional societies, and helping with other strategic initiatives. But how will your interests and expertise be identified? Answer: by using the AACC online membership directory as our database. Your name, address and contact information have already been placed in this searchable database, but we need for you to add your personal bio. So I’m calling on ALL Academy Fellows to update their directory information with a biographical sketch as soon as possible. Be sure to incorporate specific areas of interest and expertise in your bio. Here is a link to the membership directory to get your started:

Our proposal for a 2013 Beckman Conference on “Renal Markers” was approved last month by the PCC (Program Coordinating Committee). Since collaboration with other professional societies is a key strategic initiative, we will attempt to recruit a clinical association (such as the American Society of Nephrology) as a program co-sponsor. Many thanks to Mary Lou Gantzer for initiating this proposal...she will serve as conference chair. NACB has also submitted two timely proposals to the 2012 Los Angeles AMOC for half-day symposia: 1) “State-of-the-art and frontiers in clinical decision support systems”, moderated by Doug Stickle; and 2) “Effective implementation of expert decision support for system monitoring dashboards and rules-based autovalidation/autorelease of laboratory results”, chaired by Ken Blick.

Clinical Practice.
The Academy continues to evolve processes for preparing and publishing its Laboratory Medicine Practice Guidelines, or LMPGs. These guidelines have been our signature program, and revision of the LMPG SOP is a priority task of the Evidence-Based Laboratory Medicine Committee. Other methods exist for identifying/reviewing the evidence for effective lab medicine practices, and 15 of your NACB leaders participated in an interactive workshop this summer to better understand CDC's methods for its systematic reviews. Many thanks to Rob Christensen, Paul Epner, the CDC/Battelle folks, and our NACB staff (Penny Jones and Betsy Garman) for organizing this work session on short notice.

No matter how you cut it, gathering and reviewing evidence for a LMPG requires considerable time and effort from our volunteers. For this reason, the Board feels there is a place for papers that address issues of a more limited scope, that reflect the views of selected content experts, and that can be produced in a matter of months. We're referring to these white papers as 'Expert Opinion Statements', and we will need your help in producing them. Stay tuned for further developments this fall.  

Ronald J. Whitley, PhD. DABCC, FACB

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