NACB News and Views

 

NACB President's Report - May 2011

 
Ronald J. Whitley, PhD, DABCC, FACB
President

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve as your President this year and to work closely with other Academy officers and directors. I see a lot of wisdom and talent on the Board, and together we pledge our continuing efforts to ensure that NACB remains strong and effective.

Celebrate! Yes, 2011 is a special year for NACB as we permanently become the Academy of AACC. For some of us who have been around NACB for a long time (30 years for me), this merger is applauded as the next forward step in uniting our efforts to advance the practice and profession of clinical biochemistry. If you are coming to Atlanta this July for the AACC Annual Meeting, please join us Wednesday noon, the 27th, for the NACB awards luncheon and celebration party. As we expand our mission as the AACC Academy, we will need to identify current fellows (and recruit new ones) who can serve on scientific advisory groups, offer advice on position papers/statements, represent the Academy on appropriate AACC committees, represent AACC on committees of other professional societies, and help with other strategic initiatives. To this end, I have asked our Membership Committee to join me in creating a searchable database of fellows with expertise/interest in specific subject areas. Stay tuned for details as this project unfolds.

Have you blogged recently? Don’t know how? Then visit our website and join the conversation. Since the January launch of the NACBLOG, we have had over 53,000 hits with “Jurassic Lab” still holding the record - over 3800 hits! If you are unfamiliar with our blog, it is a weekly online discussion of scientific issues and challenges to contemporary clinical lab practice. We are always looking for new topics and authors, so ‘come blog with us’.

One of the highlights of our annual meeting is awarding colleagues for outstanding contributions in research, to our profession, and to the Academy. This year I was delighted to inform Susan Evans and Maria Pasic that they would receive the Dubin and Grannis awards at the noon luncheon on July 27th. Peter Nowell will receive the joint AACC/NACB research award, and all three awardees will be recognized at the AACC Plenary Session on Monday the 25th.

This year we will continue to spotlight good science and noteworthy research presented at the annual meeting. Our NACB Distinguished Abstract Awards will be announced during the AACC Plenary Session on Tuesday the 26th. I would encourage you to visit the poster sessions, look for the blue ribbons, and congratulate the recipients. Some of these Distinguished Abstracts will also be presented on Tuesday afternoon from 2:30-5:00 PM in an oral session titled “What’s Novel in Biomarkers?” Since this event is not listed in your registration materials, be sure to add it to your meeting calendar.

Your Academy leadership continues to look into new areas of activities and to reassess long-standing practices. A few weeks ago the Board met near the Chicago O’Hare airport for its spring meeting. AACC President Ann Gronowski also joined the meeting by teleconference and shared several AACC strategic initiatives designed to increase the visibility of our profession. The NACB Board offered its enthusiastic support of these novel initiatives, and reaffirmed its commitment to collaborate with other professional clinical associations in developing patient-care guidelines.

Laboratory Medicine Practice Guidelines (LMPGs) remain a focus of Academy effort and attention. Ten have been published in the last five years and are available online for free. Eight are archived, and several have been translated into other languages. An update to the “Diabetes Mellitus” guideline is now complete and will be published on our website this summer, with co-publication in CCJ and Diabetes Care. It has become clear that we will need to update our procedures for guideline development, and this effort will be spearheaded by the joint AACC/NACB Evidence Based Laboratory Medicine Committee.

The Board plans to update at least two guidelines (“Thyroid Disease” and “Biomarkers of ACS”), and will explore development of a “Glycemic Control” LMPG as an appropriate next step to this year’s Beckman Conference. The latter, by the way, was held last month in San Diego, and program evaluations indicate that this conference was one of the best ever! Planning and leadership were provided by several NACB fellows, so a big thanks to Steve Kahn and others on the organizing team.

The problem of finding champions to author rigorous and time-consuming evidence-based LMPGs remains a concern. Recently, the Board reflected on the development of white papers and consensus statements requiring less effort to produce. An exciting new NACB product emerged from our discussion “Expert Opinion in Laboratory Practice.” We will soon select topics and identify Academy fellows to help author these expert opinions. Again, stay tuned for details.

Have you ever used the Nominal Group Technique for brainstorming ideas? Try it sometime. To get you started, here is a helpful website: http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/evaluation/pdf/brief7.pdf. This technique seemed to work at the recent Board meeting, and we were able to identify and prioritize over 50 topics for future LMPGs, white papers, Beckman conferences, and annual meeting symposia.

Did you know that NACB has not increased dues since 1990? Overseeing the Academy budget is one of the jobs of the Board, and, alas, the time has come for a modest increase in dues, from $60 to $80 beginning in 2012. Once every 22 years is not so bad I think.

This spring newsletter is one of three to be published in 2011. Uttam Garg is our new editor assisted by Doug Stickle. Our thanks go to Alex Rai for his many years of faithful service in this role. Alex, however, is not out of a job, and he has agreed to serve on the refocused Media and Publications Committee. So many others - the chairs & members of our vital committees, the officers & members of the Board, and the NACB staff - are all making amazingly significant contributions to our Academy. Thank you for your loyal service. Particular thanks also to NACB Executive Director Penny Jones, who is one of the most gifted and wonderful individuals I have known - it is a privilege to work with her.

 

See you in Atlanta!

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