March 2009 Mentor of the Month Q&A Session: Alex Rai
Welcome to SYCL's Mentor of the Month.  Questions and Answers will be displayed below...

I really appreciate you what you are doing in clinical laboratory.My question is you know in this country, Ethiopia, there is no clinical chemist; even the subject is given in master level in this country. And people are not interested to work in clinical chemistry Lab. So, what is your suggestion to attract people to our Lab.?
Ethiopai, Addis Ababa

Alex Rai
Good question. Although you have posed this question very specifically to your situation, the issue of how we attract new individuals to our field is an important one. It becomes even more important over the next few years, as medical technologists will be retiring and training programs are decreasing in number and hence the number of new recruits to replace the retiring staff wanes. One thing I have always been a proponent of is actively going into the scientific community to talk to people about what we do- in fact, this is how I was recruited into the field and now, I try to speak to as many individuals as I can to tell them about what I do. Many students coming out of basic science research programs don''t have any idea of clinical chemistry as a field and the advantages it can afford: stability, the opportunity to participate in clinical service as well as research, possibilities for teaching, and the application of basic science in an applied and translational manner. Because of these possibilities, one thing that you may want to do is to try to recruit individuals from diverse backgrounds, specifically both basic science as well as clinical scientists/clinicians. Each one of these groups of individuals has a different expertise but they can all contribute to our field by using their background and expertise to push the field forward. With regard to your particular situation, although there may not be classes in clinical chemistry that are offered in your country, there are certainly classes or lectures in clinical biochemistry or clinical pathology that are offered at any medical school or hospital. You should certainly try to present lectures at these forums. The important thing is to get the word out that our field exists and can provide numerous opportunities, that it is growing and that there is great future potential particularly in this day and age of science where the recent advances put us in a great position to design new and better tests for disease management. You should try to reach out and speak to as many students and trainees as possible. I have found this group to have a lot of energy, is willing to learn, takes initiative, and are looking for opportunities. Good Luck!

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