Lab Matters Summer 2019 - Page 4

PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE A Presidential Priority: Laboratory Safety for the Next Generation of Leaders For those of you who may not know me, my name is Grace Kubin and I am the director for the Texas State Public Health Laboratories. Thanks to the members of APHL, I am also the incoming APHL president. Safety—and understanding all facets of it—is a critical part of building a knowledgeable workforce and developing the next generation of leaders in the laboratory.” Grace Kubin, president, APHL During the member assembly at APHL 2019, I was given the opportunity to discuss my presidential priority for the upcoming year. I spent a lot of time in the months leading up to the meeting thinking about what my priority should be. So I looked back at the different APHL projects, committees and groups that I had the privilege of participating in over the years to help me make a determination and two themes really stood out: the workforce development component of APHL’s Emerging Leader Program and the biosafety focus of APHL’s Public Health Preparedness and Response Committee. The topics of workforce development and biosafety seem to be on everyone’s minds, and are universally discussed at almost every professional gathering of laboratorians. I really wanted one to be highlighted as my priority, but which one? Both are important and integral to public health laboratories. After mulling it over for many weeks, I came to the realization that they were not exclusive. Safety— and understanding all facets of it—is a critical part of building a knowledgeable workforce and developing the next generation of leaders in the laboratory. every hazard we work with can help educate laboratorians about where and how they work. Arming laboratorians with knowledge and education, as well as providing the support to make changes beneficial to their environment, will help to empower and build leaders to sustain the important work of public health laboratories. Not everyone was able to attend the last session at APHL 2019, “LaboraStory Corps: You Did WHAT in that Lab?”, but if you did, you heard some pretty amusing and somewhat terrifying stories about incidents in the lab that elicited groans of disbelief and knowing acknowledgments from the audience. After listening to all the stories not only from the session speakers, but also from the audience participants who ventured up to the microphones, I know that this priority will be of benefit to all laboratorians. Stay tuned! I hope you take some time to check out the interesting articles in this issue of Lab Matters, including the feature article on antibiotic/antimicrobial resistance, the automation of PulseNet whole genome sequencing, and a recap of APHL’s policy symposium and visit to Capitol Hill. I am very excited about taking on this challenge as APHL’s president, and look forward to working with you in the coming year. n APHL has developed many tools to assist with improved biosafety in public health laboratories, but we need to broaden the scope to be more inclusive for every type of laboratory testing. Understanding how a facility is designed to provide a safe work environment, how processes and procedures contribute to workplace safety, and understanding the biological, chemical and radiological aspects of 2 LAB MATTERS Summer 2019 PublicHealthLabs @APHL APHL.org