The number of hemoglobin variants (i.e., hemoglobinopathies) discovered to date totals more than one thousand. The vast majority do not cause any clinical or hematologic problems, while others are associated with varying degrees of morbidity and mortality (e.g., sickle cell anemia, beta thalassemia major). Given what laboratory leaders know and understand about the structure of blood, including hemoglobin and its variants, they can be a valuable asset in diagnosing and managing disorders of hemoglobin structure. This presentation will address how lab leaders can work with others on the healthcare team (such as blood bank personnel and hematopathologists) to improve the clinical interpretation of hemoglobinopathies and anemias in the context of clinical findings, how the process from test order to patient intervention can be improved, and how lab leaders can work outside the laboratory to affect the care of patients with anemias and disorders of hemoglobin structure.
Trefor N. Higgins, MS, FCACB
Mr. Higgins is a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Clinical Biochemistry, and is currently Director of Clinical Chemistry at DynaLIFEDx and Clinical Professor, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Professor Higgins completed his undergraduate degree in education in the United Kingdom and then moved to Edmonton and the University of Alberta where he completed his masters of science degree. In 2005, Mr. Higgins was awarded a Fellowship by Special Distinction by the Canadian Academy of Clinical Biochemistry. This was the first time this fellowship was ever awarded. His recent awards include the American Association for Clinical Chemistry Outstanding Speaker Award (2009); the Canadian Society of Clinical Chemists International Exchange Grant (2009); the Canadian Society of Clinical Chemistry Excellence in Education Award (2008); and the Canadian Society of Clinical Chemists International Visitor Award (2005). His areas of clinical and research expertise are: HbA1c, hemoglobinopathies and thalassemias.