Medical Laboratory Professionals Week (MLPW)
Medical Laboratory Professionals Week (MLPW), often called “Lab Week,” provides our profession with a unique opportunity to increase public understanding of and appreciation for clinical laboratory personnel.
Lab Week, which takes place the last full week in April each year, is coordinated by a collaborative committee with representatives from 17 national clinical laboratory organizations, including ASCLS. Now in its 47th year (as of 2023), it is important to reflect on the important history of MLPW.
Medical Laboratory Professionals Week originated in 1975 as National Medical Laboratory Week, or NMLW, under the auspices of the American Society for Medical Technology, now called the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science (ASCLS). In subsequent years, other organizations have served as cosponsors and campaign supporters.
In the fall of 2005, NMLW was changed to National Medical Laboratory Professionals Week (NMLPW) to emphasize the person whose expertise is needed in performing laboratory testing. Beginning in 2010, the organizers decided to “brand” the event using the same theme each year: Laboratory Professionals Get Results. In the summer of 2012, organizers deleted “National” from the title for brevity, and it became Medical Laboratory Professionals Week.
There are approximately 300,000 practitioners of clinical laboratory science in the United States. Since the development of this career group in the 1920s, the clinical laboratory science professional has played an increasingly vital role in diagnosing and preventing disease. Today, the clinical laboratorian is a crucial healthcare team member.
As team members of one of the largest industries in the United States, the dedicated efforts of laboratory professionals often go unnoticed by the general public and the very institutions employing their services. With the public now demanding the assurance of quality health care and professional accountability, organizations representing practitioners of this critical science are responsible for ensuring that the public is well informed about clinical laboratory competency.
More information can be found on the national ASCLS site here.
How To Promote MLPW
An objective of MLPW is to educate healthcare professionals, the public, and others about the role of the laboratory professional in patient care. ASCLS has many items available that can be used for this effort. See below. This list is a free resource for all to use in planning their MLPW celebrations.
- Download the MLPW Promotional Guide, filled with ideas for celebrating and building awareness about the profession
- A Life Saved: Laboratory Professionals Make A Difference Video – a poignant and moving video that inspires and empowers laboratory professionals to articulate the importance of their contributions to patient care.
- Lab Tests Online — an unprecedented resource for healthcare consumers to understand the meaning of their laboratory test results; information about how to promote this site is available on the website.
- ASCLS Career Recruitment Toolkit – Our career recruitment toolkit contains several resources to be used in educating others about our profession during MLPW, including a new brochure and promotional video.
- ASCLS Promotion of the Profession website – The ASCLS PPC website has additional resources that can be used for your MLPW celebration.
- Laboratory Science Careers – a website designed to encourage students to enter our profession. It includes information on careers, education, and other resources, including videos.
- Coordinating Council on the Clinical Laboratory Workforce – the CCCLW works to ensure the supply of qualified laboratory professionals. CCCLW projects include an awareness campaign to put a face on clinical laboratory scientists.
- Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Laboratory video – view a short video describing the value of laboratory professionals
- Maxine cartoon – John Wagner, of Maxine fame, drew a lab cartoon years ago picturing Maxine and Obie with a microscope and blood samples on the counter in honor of MLPW. Carol Daniels, retired program director from Indian River State College (FL), was his sister. The cartoon was his contribution to our profession. Thanks to Marilyn Barbour and IRSC for making this available.
Lab Week Run
This event is sponsored by the ASCLS Ascending Professionals and Developing Professionals Forums. Proceeds support travel grants, including the Education & Research Fund Cynthia L. Breen Memorial Scholarship.
This will be the 8th Annual instance of this event in 2023. More information about this event can be found here.
Lab Week Run Selected Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is a ‘virtual race’?
Unlike a traditional race, a virtual race can be run at any time during Medical Laboratory Professionals Week and can be run anywhere. Participants can walk, use a treadmill, run outside, or even run in another race concurrently. Participants can perform this race at any speed they like.
Lab Week Run has had participants run, walk, push baby strollers, walk their dogs, hike, and even kayak to complete the 5K (3.1 miles) distance. Virtual races can be completed all together or over time, whenever and however is most convenient for the participant.
Who is Lab Week Run for?
Anyone and everyone, but especially Medical Laboratory Professionals! We encourage laboratory professionals to invite their friends and family to enjoy the fun! All funds raised will go to travel grants helping the members of the Ascending Professionals Forum and Developing Professionals Forum to attend the ASCLS Annual Meeting and the Legislative Symposium. The travel grants allow members who may not have the means to attend these events otherwise.
How does a ‘virtual race’ work?
Unlike a traditional race, a virtual race can be run at any time during Medical Laboratory Professionals Week and can be run anywhere. Participants can walk, use a treadmill, run outside, or even run in another race concurrently. Feel free to race at any speed you like! Lab Week Run has had participants run, walk, push baby strollers, walk their dogs, hike, and even kayak to complete the 5K (3.1 miles) distance. Virtual races can be completed all together or over time, whenever and however is most convenient for the participant!
Who can participate?
Anyone, everyone! We encourage medical laboratory professionals to participate but also to invite friends and family as well. There are no restrictions and no age limits. We are based in the United States, but International participation is also welcome!
Can I complete the race with a group?
Racing with groups is encouraged!
Do I have to complete the distance all at once, or can I break it up into different days?
It is up to you! If you want to do the race all at once, then you can! If you want to break it up and do it over the course of the week, that is fine too! Participants in past Lab Week Runs have completed the distance in many ways; not everyone ran or walked! We have had hikers, participants push baby strollers, lawnmowers, kayaks, and more! It is all up to you and your preferences!
When will I receive my finisher medal and race bib?
The Lab Week Run is shipping orders in real time until Medical Laboratory Professionals Week, or we sell out of race packets, whichever comes first. Confirm your shipping address is up to date through PayPal before ordering to ensure timely delivery.
Do the medals come with a ribbon?
Yes! Every medal will come with a ribbon!
Our ribbons have been upgraded this year to soft, vibrant, sublimated ones with beautiful pictures of hematology cells on the microscope and laboratory blood tubes on the centrifuge medal!
Where are race funds going?
Funds raised will benefit the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science’s Developing Professionals (formerly Student Forum) Forum and the Ascending Professionals Forum (formerly the New Professionals New Members Forum).