With which professional societies/organizations (e.g. AACC) are you involved? AND How did you get started in these organizations and what advice do you have for young people wanting to get involved?
*Provincial: Prenatal screening Ontario I am the laboratory director for prenatal screening (since 1998 and there is no end date yet!). Given the complexity of the program, I was interested in the development of technical guidelines when I began my career in 1998. My involvement with the guidelines granted me access to the prenatal screening steering committee 14 years ago. I took on the leadership role of the chair of the sub-committee on chemistry issues for 6 years (2003-2009), with implementation of education sessions.
Advice: Be passionate about science, to become a content expert. Be rigorous about knowledge translation, to rely on evidence-based medicine!
*Provincial: Quality Management Program- Laboratory Services – committee on endocrinology, immunology, prenatal screening (EQA provider, Ontario, Canada) My involvement with Prenatal screening Ontario was beneficial and I was recruited first as a committee member (in 2003), then selected to chair the EQA committee on endocrinology (2009-2012).
Advice: Be skilled at time management, to be able to commit to committees and challenges at levels beside local involvement!
*Canadian: Canadian Society of Clinical Chemists (CSCC) and Canadian Academy of Clinical Biochemistry (CACB) CACB is the organization that is responsible for the training, credentials, certification and continuous development of clinical biochemists in Canada. CSCC is the organization that promotes clinical biochemistry in Canada and beyond. I became involved with the CACB because of two main reasons 1) my goal of personal continuous development and my interest in ensuring the rules and regulations being developed will meet my expectations ; 2) my general goal of highest quality standards for clinical biochemistry throughout the country. My involvement was appreciated and I became the Chair of the CACB board of directors from 2009 to 2011.
Advice: Be a role model for your colleagues by contributing your ideas at the inception of new programs and at regular intervals for their revisions, to become a reference on the management of the continuous improvement cycles!
* Canadian: Canadian College of Medical Genetics (CCMG) CCMG is the organization that is responsible for the training, credentials, certification, and promotion of medical genetics in Canada. I became involved with the certification committee, in the sub-specialty of biochemical genetics in 2004. The committee required a francophone examiner, and I kindly accepted. In 2006, I became the chair of the sub-specialty committee. My participation was for three cycles (one cycle every two years). Hence my term as the chair was 2006-2010. The role of examiner is extremely important. The selection of topics for the exam is an art!
Advice: Be involved in the certification committee in your specialty field, to ensure you keep abreast of all new methodologies and markers discussed and implemented over the years.
*American: AACC, Pediatric and Maternal Fetal Division (PMF), Annual Meeting Organizing Committee (AMOC) 2009 and 2013. I was invited to become a member at large on the PMF division in 2001. This was the best opportunity to get to know colleagues with the same interest and with similar laboratory and clinical issues. Over the years, my involvement kept increasing. I was elected as the chair elect 2008-2009, then became the division chair 2010-2011. My involvement as a board member will be completed with my role as nomination chair 2012-2013. AACC is hosting a wonderful annual meeting with a phenomenal number of attendees. I was privileged to be invited as the brown bag coordinator on the AMOC 2009 team. Lots of work, yes, but the number of friends that you make is worth all the effort you put. When you commit and your work is appreciated, you get invited a second time, hence my involvement with the AMOC 2013!
Advice: Join one or more AACC divisions and take on responsibilities, to become a content expert and to build important network with colleagues around the world! Once you are known at the division level, expect to be contacted for other AACC duties, and consider every opportunity!
One final advice:
What were some of the most rewarding and/or challenging moments of your career so far?
Science comes first, rigorous work comes second. Once you are a content expert, communication of your invaluable skills will open doors!
In my role of chair of the AACC Pediatric and Maternal Fetal Division, I was honored to give a tribute for two recipients of “Outstanding Contributions to the Pediatric and Maternal-Fetal Division”. The recipient for the 2010 award was Dr Ed Ashwood, and for the 2011 award was Dr Vijay Grey. These two persons are exceptional, their contributions to the field are outstanding and I even present them as my friends!
Similarly, in my role of chair of the CACB Board of directors, I was honored to give a tribute for two recipients of “CACB award for outstanding contribution to the profession of clinical biochemistry”. The recipient for the 2010 award was Dr Wolfgang Schneider, and for the 2011 award was Dr John Krahn. Their role in education and certification are remarkable. In preparation for my tribute, I had the privilege to discuss with their staff in the laboratories. What an excellent way to discover how these persons are appreciated in their own working environment!
The field of biochemical genetics is incredibly stimulating. New methodologies, new markers, new diseases are part of the landscape. However there are challenging moments, when abnormal laboratory profiles end up on your desk for interpretation, and when results are provided to patients and families.