1991 Outstanding Contributions in Education
Marge A. Brewster will receive the 21st AACC Award for Outstanding Contributions in Education. The award is sponsored by SmithKline Beecham Clinical Laboratories.
Dr. Brewster is a native of Arkansas. She worked as a clinical laboratory assistant while earning a B.S. in chemistry magna cum laude from Little Rock University and becoming certified in chemistry by the Board of Registry of the College of American Pathologists (CAP). While pursuing graduate degrees in biochemistry, she continued to work with the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) Clinical Laboratory and taught in the School for Medical Technology. After attaining an M.S. in enzymology in 1966 and a Ph.D. in lipoprotein metabolism in 1971, she remained affiliated with that laboratory as clinical biochemist and served as a faculty member in the Departments of Biochemistry and Pathology. As a faculty member in the Biochemistry Department, Dr. Brewster taught medical and graduate students and instituted a graduate program in Clinical Biochemistry (in collaboration with the Pathology Department). This program, which operated until 1985, graduated five M.S. and four Ph.D. candidates. The program emphasized an understanding of medicine and the interactive role of clinical biochemists and physicians in researching the human reactions to injury and disease. In 1978, Dr. Brewster established a metabolic laboratory for diagnosis of inborn errors of metabolism at Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock, the pediatric teaching hospital for UAMS. She served there as clinical biochemist for 10 years and directed the Metabolic Laboratory. Her interest in prevention of mental retardation and other developmental disorders led to the establishment in 1980 of the Arkansas Reproductive Health Monitoring System, an epidemiology program for surveillance of adverse pregnancy outcomes. She has directed this program since its inception.
Dr. Brewster has been very active in state and national continuing education activities for laboratorians CLINICAL CHEMISTRY, Vol.37, No. 7, 1991 1315 and physicians by presenting lectures, workshops, and symposia on biochemical hematology, nutritional assessment, pediatric clinical chemistry, gas chromatography, inborn errors of metabolism, environmental toxicology, and reproductive epidemiology. She has written several self-teaching/self-assessment texts used widely in preparation for certification examinations. The most recent of these is the second edition of Clinical Chemistry Self-Assessment, co-authored with C. Patrick Turley and Alan Wu. Her 1971 programmed text in Laboratory Calculations will soon be published in a second edition. She has also written chapters about vitamins for several textbooks in clinical chemistry. Dr. Brewster’s research interests have centered on the effects of genetics, nutritional imbalances, and environmental toxins on child health. Most recently, she has investigated methods to determine exposure to chemical classes or mixtures. Working with Dr. Carol Hogue of the Centers for Disease Control, she has proposed a nonspecific battery of urinary tests as a first-stage screen for exposure to xenobiotic compounds. She has authored or co-authored approximately 90 scientific publications. Dr. Brewster has been active in the AACC since 1972, serving on the Professional Relations, Education, and Nominations Committees; she currently serves on the Books Committee. She was also a member of the first management team for the Nutrition Division. She assisted in the development of water-quality standards for NCCLS. From 1980 to 1981, she served as President of the National Academy of Clinical Biochemists, striving to develop a “sister” relationship between that organization and the AACC. Since 1988, she has been an inspector for the CAP/AACC Forensic Urine Drug Testing Program. In 1974, she was certified by the National Registry in Clinical Chemistry (NRCC) and by the American Board of Clinical Chemistry (ABCC). She served on the NRCC Board of Directors from 1976 to 1984, and as President for the latter four years. Dr. Brewster has been instrumental in developing the “certification ladder” concept between NRCC and ABCC.
Currently, Dr. Brewster is a professor in the Departments of Pathology and Pediatrics at UAMS, where she continues to teach house staff and medical students, directs the Metabolic Laboratory and the Reproductive Health Monitoring System at Arkansas Children’s Hospital, and conducts research in epidemiology and environmental toxicology.