Advancing excellence in laboratory medicine for better healthcare worldwide

eNewsletter 2006 May-Jun


The Division has prospered and developed under the excellent chairmanship of Professor Gerard Sanders from the Netherlands. He stands down from this role in the summer of 2006 and must be congratulated on all he has achieved. I will succeed him in this challenging, but I�m sure rewarding, role. I have been a member of the Executive Committee of the Division for nearly two years and this has given me an insight into the contributions individual members make to its efficient running, to ensure that it can provide support to IFCC member organisations� educational needs in different parts of the world.

The Division needs to be representative of the international Laboratory Medicine community which includes the Diagnostics industry as well as healthcare and academic institutions. The Corporate Member representative on the EMD Executive Committee is fully involved in its business and Dr Leo Vankrieken extremely ably held this role until the end of 2005. Leo contributed greatly to the discussions and decisions of the Committee. His successor is to be Dr Rolf Hinzmann, who has previous IFCC experience, having been a member of the Scientific Committee. The other Executive Committee members, Dr Mary Burritt and Dr Leslie Lai, are looking forward to Rolf�s involvement in the work of the Committee.

Following the elections for the new Executive Board of IFCC, in July 2005, Dr Michael Thomas is to be the Board member who will provide liaison between the Division and the Board. Having worked with Mike on professional activities in the UK, I know that he will become actively involved in the work of the Committee.

When I take over the role of Chair, the EMD will call for nominations for a new EC member so, by the end of 2006, the make-up of the Committee will be very different to what it was in 2005. New people with new viewpoints but working towards the ongoing objectives of IFCC in the field of Education and Management. In reviewing the activities of the Division in 2005 and new initiatives for 2006 there is a recurrent theme that can be identified: quality.

The area of �quality�, in its broadest sense, is one in which clear needs exist for educational input from the Division and IFCC. Our attempts to address this highlight the different aspects of the work of the Division, effected primarily through its committees. The Committee on Analytical Quality (C-AQ) is involved in providing educational courses on EQA and IQC, in advising on the establishment and promotion of EQA in individual countries and IFCC regions as well as collaboration between EQA providers. Through the Visiting Lecturers (VLP) Dr Ken Sikaris, the committee Chair, has visited Nigeria to provide a series of lectures on EQA/IQC.

The remit of the C-AQ is set to broaden, with the interest of its members, in biological variation and the quality aspects of the post analytical process, including interpretation of laboratory results. Again through the VLP, Dr Xavier Fuentes Arderiu and Dr Callum Fraser presented lectures on these aspects of quality at the Uruguay and Chile national congresses in 2005.

Another aspect of quality is that relating to the organisation and management of the clinical laboratory service; quality systems, total quality management and accreditation of clinical laboratories. This is a subject for which the Division has received numerous requests for visiting lecturers to cover. In 2005, the VLP has funded lecturers to speak on quality improvement in clinical laboratories in Guatemala and Honduras and in early 2006, in Mexico.

The Committee on Clinical Laboratory Management (C-CLM) is aware of the worldwide interest for education and training on quality issues and is making one of its main initiatives the production of basic guidelines for total quality management and accreditation, based on ISO 15189. The Executive Committee is also formulating a strategy to establish a working group to develop and deliver workshops on Quality systems at International and Regional IFCC meetings and meetings of national societies, in collaboration with the C-CLM.

Moving onto the clinical aspects of our discipline, �quality� comes from ensuring that we provide investigation strategies and testing protocols that are fit for purpose in respect of diagnosis and patient management. The Committee on Evidence-based Laboratory Medicine (C-EBLM) has significantly raised awareness of this important topic. Through the VLP, the Division has supported the first IFCC/FESCC EBLM course, held in Budapest in 2005. This course was extremely successful. As part of the same programme, Dr Rita Horvath, who chairs the Committee, is to visit nine countries in the Asian Pacific Region in 2006 and 2007 to present a programme of lectures. In addition, the C-EBLM organised and contributed to symposia at the 2005 Euromedlab Congress and the 2005 ICCC/AACC congress in Orlando.

Activities of the Division relating to fundamental education provision for young people starting their careers continue to develop. The Committee on Education and Curriculum Development (C-ECD) is currently undertaking a complete review and update of their website. The Working Group for reviewing educational materials has been incorporated into the Committee and there is cross-membership with the Working Group on Distance Learning, which has conducted a survey of IFCC member organisations to assess requirements in this area.

To be effective any Division that has the brief of education must keep abreast of developments and endeavour to provide knowledge and training to incorporate them into practice. As a scientific discipline, new technologies must be embraced into laboratory medicine. The Committee on Clinical Molecular Biology Curriculum (C-CMBC) has been prolific in its contributions to symposia at international meetings and has held courses on clinical molecular biology techniques in Italy, Vietnam, Tunisia and Paraguay in 2005, with more arranged for 2006 and 2007.

In conjunction with Beckman Coulter and the University of Mainz, a course on flow cytometry was held in October 2005. The Division would welcome suggestions from IFCC member organisations of new technologies for which there is a need for formal courses or workshops.

The success of the Division is totally dependent on the commitment of all members of its Committees and Working Groups and I know their range of experience will be invaluable to me as I begin my term of office.

Janet Smith

Incoming Chair, IFCC Education and Management Division

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