September is Public Health Laboratory Appreciation Month! At APHL we’re excited to celebrate all staff in public health laboratories—everyone from microbiologists to maintenance teams, from informaticians to information technology specialists and beyond deserves to be recognized. Whether through newborn screening, environmental testing, foodborne illness outbreak detection, infectious disease testing, biological threat monitoring or so much more, public health laboratories are working hard to keep communities safe. And even though that work often happens behind the scenes, we want to voice our appreciation as openly and loudly as possible! Because everyone working at public health laboratories deserves to be celebrated!
Below you will find tools and resources to help you celebrate Public Health Laboratory Appreciation Month. Whether a lab director, a partner organization or an individual who just loves public health labs, there’s something here for everyone. Please share this post with others in your network!
Be sure to follow and subscribe so you don’t miss a thing!
- Use and follow #ThanksPHLabs throughout September to join the conversation on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook!
- Follow APHL on Twitter
- Follow APHL on Instagram
- Like APHL on Facebook
- Join APHL Off the Bench (Facebook Group)
- Follow APHL on LinkedIn
- Subscribe to the APHL Blog
- Subscribe to Lab Culture in your podcast app
Which laboratories are “public health” laboratories?
When we say “public health laboratory” we mean local, state and territorial government laboratories whose primary focus is on the public’s health. That means local and state government environmental health, agricultural and food safety labs are also public health laboratories! They are all public sector laboratories focused on protecting the public’s health by testing human, animal and environmental samples to monitor for and detect health threats.
Is there a public health laboratory in my community?
Every state has at least one public health laboratory. Some states have more than one laboratory at the state level, and some also have local or regional laboratories. While not all public health laboratories in the US are APHL members, most are. So check out our member list and map to see what types of public health lab(s) are in your state or territory.
Who is Flat Labby?
You might remember meeting Flat Labby during the 2020 Public Health Laboratory Appreciation Month! If not, here is Flat Labby’s origin story and how you can invite them to join in your celebration.
Take Flat Labby on exciting adventures around the lab or around town! Cut out a printable Flat Labby, choose whatever clothes you like (or maybe take a few outfits!) and set off on an adventure together. Be sure to post pictures on social media using #FlatLabby.
Coloring is a great way to relax and have some fun. Print some Flat Labby coloring pages and share with others around the lab!
Celebrate Public Health Laboratory Staff
Public health laboratory staff work hard every day to keep their community safe from public health threats. Whether you are a microbiologist, an administrative assistant, a custodian, a chemist or hold any other job role, you are vital to ensuring the laboratory operates efficiently and effectively. You are appreciated and deserve to be celebrated!
Below are suggestions for laboratory leaders, laboratory staff, partners and community members. You will also find graphics that you are free to use on your own social networks along with some sample posts.
Ideas for Laboratory Leaders:
- Create a video using online tools like Memento, Tribute or Vidday with messages of appreciation for your staff. Or have your staff make one for another lab!
- Hold a Flat Labby t-shirt design contest! The Flat Labby Cool cut-out page has a blank t-shirt, so everyone can create a fun, one-of-a-kind logo or design! Get everyone involved and have a contest for the best shirt!
- Invite staff to have a Flat Labby lunch or a break together! Coloring is a great way to relax and have some fun. Print these coloring pages, gather markers or other coloring tools, and invite staff to take a break with others around the lab!
- Hold a virtual or in-person open house for media, elected officials, school groups, staff families and other members of the public. Help your community see the interesting and helpful work your team is doing to keep them safe and healthy.
- Reach out to your agency’s public information officer and ask them to share posts of appreciation on social media! Sample posts and graphics are below.
Ideas for Laboratory Staff:
- Sign up with Skype-A-Scientist to virtually connect with students to help them understand public health laboratory careers.
- Take Flat Labby on some fun adventures around the lab or out on the town – here’s how! Print your own Flat Labby, take them with you, snap some pictures of your adventures, and share during Public Health Laboratory Appreciation Month using #ThanksPHLabs and #FlatLabby.
- Send a letter of gratitude to your staff, coworkers, family and friends. Here are some fun fillable letters for you to use or you can write your own:
Ideas for Partners and Community Members:
- Contact the public health laboratory in your area and offer to send coffee, lunch, snack or other treats as a token of your appreciation. This list of APHL member laboratories is a great place to start.
- Post on your social channels to let everyone know how appreciative you are of the work public health labs do every day to protect the community. Graphics and sample posts are below.
- Send thank you notes to public health laboratories and encourage others to do the same.
- Make a video sharing how much you appreciate public health laboratories and share on social media using #ThanksPHLabs! We will compile the posts and share with APHL member laboratories.
Sample Social Media Posts:
- Public health laboratories often work behind the scenes to protect their communities from health threats. Just knowing they are there makes us feel safer. #ThanksPHLabs
- Foodborne illness is no fun! But are your tummy troubles actually linked to a cluster or outbreak? Public health lab testing can find the answer! #ThanksPHLabs
- What is a public health laboratory? Who are these unsung heroes? Learn more: http://bit.ly/PHLvideo #ThanksPHLabs
- Public health laboratories conduct testing that crosses human, animal and environmental health domains. This approach to preventing, detecting and responding to threats is called One Health. Learn more: https://bit.ly/PHL_OneHealth #ThanksPHLabs
- It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s… an outbreak linked to a sick bird? Or a sick airplane passenger? Public health laboratories to the rescue! #ThanksPHLabs
Stories to Share:
- Life as a Public Health Lab Scientist Testing for COVID-19 (Lab Culture podcast)
- Alaska State Virology Lab—Freezing Temps, Wild Animals and Extremely Dedicated Staff (Lab Culture podcast)
- 20 Years of the Laboratory Response Network (Lab Culture podcast)
- Public Health Laboratories Can Play Important Health Equity Role (APHL Blog)
- Detecting, Sequencing and Monitoring SARS-CoV-2 Virus Variants (APHL Blog)
- Maximizing Next-generation Sequencing in Newborn Screening Through Bioinformatics (APHL Blog)
- More Than Just a Food Lab: NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets (Lab Matters magazine)
- Enhanced Overdose Surveillance: A Critical Asset in Minnesota’s EVALI Outbreak Investigation (Lab Matters magazine)
- Building Capacity While Fighting COVID-19 in New Mexico (Lab Matters magazine)
Graphics for Social Media or Other Promotional Efforts:
Feel free to add your agency or organization’s logo to each of these graphics!
- We Appreciate Our Public Health Laboratory Staff – Facebook
- We Appreciate Our Public Health Laboratory Staff – Facebook/Instagram Story
- We Appreciate Our Public Health Laboratory Staff – Twitter
- We Appreciate Our Public Health Laboratory Staff – LinkedIn
- We Appreciate Our Public Health Laboratory Staff – Instagram (Square)
- Thank You Public Health Laboratory Staff – Facebook
- Thank You Public Health Laboratory Staff – Facebook/Instagram Story
- Thank You Public Health Laboratory Staff – Twitter
- Thank You Public Health Laboratory Staff – LinkedIn
- Thank You Public Health Laboratory Staff – Instagram (Square)
Would be great to coordinate all the laboratory appreciation days with all the laboratory professional societies such as ASCLS and ASCP etc.
Thanks for your comment! We all celebrate Lab Week together in April.
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