Thinking Forward

Romesh Gautom, Director of the Washington State Public Health Laboratories, and Scott Becker, Executive Director of APHL

By Scott Becker, Executive Director, APHL 

Every year APHL members and staff plan every detail of the annual meeting as if we were headed to space instead of the Space Needle. And then in a whirlwind, it’s over. How can four days go byso quickly?

This conference – our 60th annual meeting – brought us the insights of leaders at CDC, EPA, FDA and the World Bank; exchange with our corporate partners at the Industry Workshops and exhibit hall; information on EMAC, CLIA, FERN, ERLN, LRN, WLA, KM, HIEs, SCID, LEI and LEAN — which I wouldn’t be if I lived here with all this fabulous food – and sessions that examined how laboratories fit within the One Health model, not to mention discussions of Washington state’s Pertussis outbreak. Speaking of Pertussis, it is my fervent hope that none of our attendees return home with any pathogenic souvenirs.

As you head to the airport or wherever your travels take you, I urge you to think forward. How do we want to shape the role of public health laboratories moving towards 2020? Where might we be in eight years? Will we have —

  • Expanded our genetic testing capabilities to support programs to prevent chronic disorders and metabolic diseases?
  • Replaced routine use of culture-based methods with new technologies and methods?
  • Built capability to conduct advanced testing for surveillance programs to detect genetically engineered bio-threat agents?
  • Assigned a greater role to bioinformatics in outbreak detection and investigations?
  • Become more involved in assuring product safety and consumer protection?

I frankly don’t know. But what I do know is that, working together, we can craft solutions that advance APHL’s member labs, our governmental and corporate partners, and the public’s health.

Don’t forget to mark your calendar for the 2013 APHL Annual Meeting & Seventh Government Environmental Laboratory Conference, June 2-5, in Raleigh, NC. We also hope to see you at the other upcoming events listed below.

As for me, I think I’ll sleep well tonight.

Other Upcoming APHL Meetings:

  • 16th Annual PulseNet Update Meeting/8th Annual OutbreakNet Conference, August 27-30, 2012, Atlanta, GA
  • 2013 Joint Meeting of the Newborn Screening & Genetic Testing Symposium and the International Society for Neonatal Screening, May 5-10, 2013, Atlanta, GA
  • 8th National Conference on Laboratory Aspects of Tuberculosis, August 19-21, 2013, San Diego, CA


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