Although laboratory employees generally have limited interaction with Veterans, the impact these employees have can represent a critical juncture in beneficiary health care. Their efforts can assist front-line health care providers in determining the correct lab tests to administer and ensuring the proper collection method for thousands of samples annually.

Upon receipt of a specimen, laboratory professionals will analyze, interpret and report the results to pathologists who confirm the findings, something which can directly impact health care.

Medical laboratory scientists and clinical laboratory scientists have a variety of academic pursuits, ranging from four-year bachelor’s degrees to advanced studies. Medical laboratory professionals are generally trained in microbiology, virology, parasitology, mycology, immunology, chemistry, hematology, urinalysis, molecular testing, blood bank and serological testing.

They also provide practical applications in testing methodology, disease processes and clinical and the laboratory presentation of diseases.

Laboratory professionals play critical role

“National Medical Laboratory Professionals Week provided an opportunity to increase public awareness and understanding and appreciation for laboratory professionals,” said Gulf Coast VA Assistant Chief of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine Service, Marthena Moffett. “Medical Laboratory Professionals Week honors laboratory professionals by showcasing their invaluable contributions which directly impact clinical and public health. The men and women who staff the laboratories are often unseen but play a critical role in Veteran health care through their capability of running, reading and reporting laboratory results, something directly impacting patient care.”

Moffett added that the 2022 theme of Giving the Gift of Health is particularly apt. The ongoing global health crisis created an increased need for medical laboratory services, something the laboratory team took in stride.

Persevered through most challenging public health issues in generations

“We saw an increased demand for our services during the past two years and the concerted efforts of our team provided invaluable data for our front-line providers to determine care options,” Moffett said. “Their dedication and perseverance through some of the most challenging global public health issues faced in generations is a testament to the care we provide to our Veterans, and I am very proud of the GCVHCS laboratory team.”

Gulf Coast VA is comprised of the Biloxi VA Medical Center and the Mobile, Pensacola, Eglin and Panama City community-based outpatient clinics (CBOCs). Headquartered in Biloxi, Mississippi, Gulf Coast VA provides a variety of medical outpatient services to more than 82,000 Veterans and other eligible beneficiaries along the Mississippi, Alabama and Florida Gulf Coast.

By Bruce Cummins is a public affairs specialist for the Gulf Coast VA

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Published on May. 12, 2022

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