Summer Update

Summer Updates for Region VIII

After a wet and wild spring, it looks like summer is just around the corner. I hope this finds all of you safe and well. Spring was a busy time for our Region with state meetings held throughout April and into May. I wish to thank everyone for inviting me to join you at your state meetings. It was a wonderful opportunity to renew old friendships and make new friends across our region.

Spring meeting highlights:

  • The first weekend of April was the Colorado/Wyoming collaborative conference, CLCC, in Northglenn, Colorado. The planning committee put on an excellent meeting with many attendees and a full scientific program. Colorado President Ian Wallace conducted the action-packed Colorado General Assembly and covered a LOT of information to a very full room. Wyoming President Jill Graff conducted the Wyoming business meeting and I thoroughly enjoyed meeting with our Wyoming members. Many awards were presented both at the member awards ceremony on Thursday and the student award ceremony on Friday – congratulations to all award winners! The Boondocks bowling event was well attended and a lot of fun.
  • The second weekend of April took me to Helena, Montana for another excellent meeting. The Montana planning committee did a great job bringing in speakers and planning innovative social events. The Montana University System MLS Program celebrated their 10th anniversary with a reception Thursday evening. Montana celebrated member achievements at the awards ceremony on Friday morning and the graduating students also presented their “most likely to….” awards to much applause by everyone present. President Ashley Ketchum held a very informative business meeting highlighting accomplishments from the past year and then inducting the incoming officers.
  • The third week of April found us traveling to Twin Falls for the Idaho meeting based on the theme of BASE Jumping – I decided not to try jumping off the bridge this time! Idaho’s meeting was another excellent conference and the planning committee came up with many opportunities to network. The Friday night banquet was a lot of fun celebrating Idaho members with awards and spotlighting several students vying for “Who Wants to Be a Medical Laboratory Professional” bragging rights. President Mechelle Reeve conducted an excellent business meeting on Saturday with a very full agenda.
  • Utah gave me a week off before having their meeting the first weekend of May. This was a very well put together meeting with fascinating speakers. President Omar Munoz presented a wonderful slide show highlighting many events through ASCLS-Utah’s 70 years.
  • Again, I thank all of you for welcoming me to your meetings. Congratulations to all award winners across the region and to all the newly inducted Officers. I traveled over 4000 miles to 4 conferences within a 40-day period!


  • Membership: I presented information at the state meetings regarding membership category and dues changes and will highlight a few items here. The changes the BOD approved at the March meeting are currently being put into place. The information on the ASCLS website has been updated and the new structure is being filled in for the renewal process. A detailed explanation of the policy changes approved by the BOD in March, and the bylaws changes that will be sent to the House of Delegates will both appear in the next edition of ASCLS Today. You should see that arrive in your mailbox within the next two to three weeks. Changes that are already in effect include: The PF1 and PF2 categories are combined into one Professional category; FYP category is now good for 5 years; Emeritus category is defined as the total of age plus number of continuous years of membership must equal 90. The NAMES of the categories will not change until they are approved by the House of Delegates in Chicago on August 2. The proposed name changes are:
  • PF1 and PF2 become Professional
  • FYP becomes Ascending Professional
  • Student becomes Developing Professional
  • Emeritus becomes Platinum Professional
  • Collaborative becomes Community Professional

There has been a lot of discussion across the organization regarding the naming of the categories. One thing to be aware of is that a big goal of the name change was to show that we are all professionals by including the term “Professional” in every category name. This will come to the HOD for a vote by all delegates present; if you have strong feelings about any of these names and suggestions for a different name, please speak up or make sure your delegates know your concern and have your suggestion ready to present.

  • Government Affairs: The following are excerpts from EVP Jim Flanigan’s recent updates to the ASCLS BOD.
    • Workforce: There have been a number of promising developments in this area, thanks to CLIAC (Clinical Laboratory Improvement Advisory Committee). At its meeting last month, CLIAC made a number or recommendations for studies by the government, as well as recommending that the Department’s Secretary issue a recommendation to the US Department of Education to include lab science professions in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) programming; issue a recommendation to request that Health Resources and Services Administration include Title VII funding to authorize resources to educational programs for laboratory professions experiencing a workforce shortage crisis, and create a plan and appropriate funding for a program within the Public Health Service Act to ensure training for citizens seeking to enter the clinical laboratories workforce.
    • PAMA: We are in a holding pattern at the moment. ACLA (American Clinical Laboratory Association) is seeing their lawsuit against the Secretary of Health and Human Services challenging the implementation of PAMA work its way through the federal courts. They expect to hear something in June. Meanwhile, we’ve been unable to find a way to move language we outlined during the Legislative Symposium
  • Annual Meeting: The Annual Meeting will take place at the Swissotel in Chicago, July 29 – Aug 2, 2018. The deadline for early bird registration is June 1 so if you haven’t registered yet, make sure you do that before June 1. Hotel rooms are filling up rapidly. ASCLS has contracted with a second hotel at a slightly lower room rate – the London House. It is about 2 blocks from the Swissotel. Next year the meeting will be in Charlotte, NC from June 23-27, 2019. Note that the meeting is moving up one month to June so we don’t conflict with AACC.
  • Mark your calendars for these annual events:
    • CLEC, Renaissance Hotel, Baltimore, MD, Feb 21-23, 2019
    • Legislative Symposium, Hilton Old Town Alexandria, VA, March 18-19, 2019
    • National Medical Laboratory Professionals Week, April 21-27, 2019
    • 87th ASCLS Annual Meeting, LeMeridian/Sheraton Hotels, Charlotte, NC, June 23-27, 2019


  • As we look ahead to a new year, I am looking for volunteers for various positions to serve Region VIII.
    • We are looking for a new Co-coordinator for our Region VIII Leadership Academy. We discussed staggering the terms so the term is 3 years with a new co-coordinator beginning in year 3 of the current Coordinator. This allows for mentoring of the new LA Coordinator during the third year of the current Coordinator. Susie Zanto moved off of Coordinator role this year and Joni Gilstrap enters her third year on August 1. We need a new R8LA Co-coordinator to begin August 1. If you are interested in serving as Region VIII Leadership Academy Coordinator, please let me know by July 20.
    • Debbie Shell is currently Region VIII Treasurer with her first term ending in September and she was also recently appointed to the ASCLS Government Affairs Committee. Debbie is eligible to serve a second term as Treasurer and she is also willing to serve as our Region VIII GAC Chair. However, it’s not ideal to serve as both Treasurer and Region VIII Government Affairs Chair so we need to identify either a Region VIII Government Affairs Chair who will communicate GAC happenings to our Region or a Region VIII Treasurer to be elected at the Fall Council meeting in September. If you are interested or know of someone who might be interested in either of these opportunities, please let me know by July 20. Also, Debbie is happy to talk with anyone interested in either of these roles.
  • Planning is well underway for 2018 IMSS, September 27-29. 2018 General Chair, Abbey Wichman and her planning committee members have been very busy putting together another excellent conference. We have an exciting scientific program with many great speakers – watch the IMSS website for updates and program listings. Conference planning is a great, team experience! If you would like to be part of the team planning this classic conference please speak up – IMSS wants YOU! 2018 Planning Committee members are: Abbey Wichman, MT, General Chair; Abbey Wichman and Holly Weinberg, MT; Program Chair; Hollie Bearce, ID, Publicity Chair; Mary Galindo, UT, Registration Chair; Rose Jordan, CO, Social Chair; Kelly Amidei, MT, Exhibits Chair; Diane Stumpf, ID, Sponsorship Chair; Gale Stevens, WY, P.A.C.E. Chair; Debbie Shell, ID, Finance Chair.
  • The 2017-2018 Region VIII Leadership Academy will be graduating our 5th class of interns in Chicago at the ASCLS Annual Meeting in July. This year’s interns are Kami McGann, Idaho; Abbey Wichman, Montana; Tina Dihle, Colorado; and Abou Drammeh, Montana. We are excited to continue to offer this opportunity for ASCLS members in Region VIII! We are now accepting applications for our 6th Class to begin in Jackson on September 24. If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact Joni Gilstrap, Montana, or myself, There are also links to the application packet on the Region VIII website, .

ASCLS and Region VIII offer so many opportunities to be involved and join your VOICE to make a difference. It was a wonderful experience attending all of the state meetings and seeing first hand the hard work that so many of you put in to make this organization the very BEST! As we look ahead to a summer rich with outdoor activities, family reunions, etc., please remember to renew your membership now before you forget.   Thanks to all of you for all you do for ASCLS and for Medical Laboratory Science!


Holly Weinberg, Region VIII Director




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