Lab Management University Ends ‘Baptism by Fire’ for New Lab Managers
Monday, March 04, 2013
When John Baci, MBA, CPM, began his career as a laboratory professional nearly 30 years ago, there were very few formal programs available to teach laboratory management skills as his career progressed. He learned from colleagues to develop budgets, measure laboratory productivity, and manage operations, staff, and existing laboratory procedures and protocols.
“LMU is proving to be a wonderful opportunity for APF and ASCP to leverage their respective, complementary strengths into the design of a learning tool that should become a marquee example of quality leadership education for pathologists, laboratory professionals, and pathology practice managers.”
—Ronald L. Weiss, MD, MBA, FASCP, APF Past President and Chair of the LMU Working Group
“I know many pathology laboratory administrators across the country, and almost all of them will tell a very similar story,” says Mr. Baci, Director of Pathology Administration at Boston Children’s Hospital and the Children’s Hospital Pathology Foundation, Inc., Boston. Instead, he honed his management skills by earning a master’s degree in business administration.
The up-from-the bootstraps approach to learning laboratory management, however, is changing. Mr. Baci is among a roster of distinguished laboratory directors serving as faculty for Laboratory Management University (LMU), a joint initiative that ASCP and the American Pathology Foundation will launch on March 21.
Courses will be offered in the spring, summer, fall, and winter. LMU will kick off with seven courses in the spring. The program offers a Laboratory Management certificate in six core competency areas: Leadership, Personnel Management, Operations, Financial Management, Informatics, and Compliance.
LMU is geared toward pathologists, laboratory professionals, and pathology residents who will be able to enroll in the program at any time and complete the online courses and live workshops at their own pace. All 25 courses are offered for a flat fee, with an introductory price of $399.
“LMU is proving to be a wonderful opportunity for APF and ASCP to leverage their respective, complementary strengths into the design of a learning tool that should become a marquee example of quality leadership education for pathologists, laboratory professionals, and pathology practice managers,” says Ronald L. Weiss, MD, MBA, FASCP, APF Past President and Chair of the LMU Working Group. “LMU is leveraging APF’s practice management subject-matter expertise with the proven strength of the ASCP in designing and delivering premier educational programming.”
Eric Parks, PhD, ASCP Director of Educational Technology, anticipates that LMU will also appeal to individuals seeking to prepare for the ASCP Board of Certification Diplomate in Laboratory Management.
In addition to appealing to individuals seeking to hone their management skills, the program addresses another vital concern. The curriculum grew out of research conducted by APF and ASCP about the gaps in training that exist in laboratory management leadership among current pathology residents, according to APF Program Chair Lewis A. Hassell, MD, FASCP, a member of the LMU Leadership Committee.
The two organizations conducted extensive research and held conversations with residency program directors nationwide and found that new pathologists lacked basic management skills. Moreover, the programs themselves lacked the tools to teach laboratory management correctly. And that’s a critical issue, say laboratory directors recruited as LMU faculty.
“No matter what size laboratory you’re involved in, many pathologists and laboratory professionals are likely to be involved with the business side of laboratories,” says Jeff Warren, MD, FASCP, an LMU faculty member and Director of Clinical Pathology Laboratories at the University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, Mich.
Another LMU faculty member, Ronald Lepoff, MD, FASCP, Director of the University of Colorado Hospital Clinical Laboratory, Aurora, Colo., notes that when replacing laboratory managers who retire or leave, it can be very difficult to find qualified candidates with management experience.
Mr. Baci plans to send as many of his staff as possible to LMU and adds, “I only wish it had been around when I was younger.”