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Abbott Announces Labs Are Vital™ Facebook Scholarship Contest Winners


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Social Media Recruitment Effort Energizes National Medical Laboratory Professionals Week

In conjunction with National Medical Laboratory Professionals Week (Lab Week), Abbott today announced the winners of the Labs Are Vital™ Facebook Scholarship Contest. Designed to engage and recruit young people to the clinical laboratory profession, the Facebook initiative and scholarship contest proved successful, reaching 2.9 million people, including nearly 1.8 million students interested in science.
Summary Facts:

* Labs Are Vital launched a Facebook group and scholarship contest to inform students about career opportunities in clinical lab sciences and to recruit students into the profession.

* High school and college students competed to win scholarships valued at up to $2,500 by submitting videos, advertisements, or T-shirt designs that encourage others to consider careers in laboratory medicine.

* Student scholarships were sponsored by Labs Are Vital partners American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science (ASCLS), Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL), and Blood Systems, Inc.

Labs Are Vital is a multi-pronged, multi-year education and awareness program sponsored by Abbott that is designed to highlight the critical role laboratory professionals play in healthcare and to address the issues facing laboratories today. Clinical laboratory professionals play a leading role in monitoring health, diagnosing diseases and assessing the treatment of patients.

Because of the workforce shortage of laboratory professionals in the field, recruiting the next generation of laboratory professionals is one of the many goals of the Labs Are Vital program.

Students can visit www.LabScienceCareers.com to find information on career opportunities and educational programs in clinical lab sciences.

The Labs Are Vital Facebook page continues to connect interested, career-minded high school and college students with clinical lab science students and recent graduates to learn about the benefits and challenges of the profession from their peers. Students competed for scholarships by submitting videos, advertisements or T-shirt designs that encourage others to consider careers in laboratory medicine by creatively illustrating why clinical lab science is cutting-edge and how laboratorians make a difference.

The Labs Are Vital Facebook Scholarship Contest winners include:

* Clinical Labs
o Print advertisement – This category has dual winners: Ria Crane, Irvine, California, and Christelle Miot, Berrien Springs, Michigan
o T-shirt design – Rachael Kim, Saratoga, California

* Public Health Labs
o Print advertisement – Hannah Brewer, Prairie Village, Kansas
o T-shirt design – Jennifer Roscoe, Mundelein, Illinois

* Blood Banks
o Print advertisement – Hannah Brewer, Prairie Village, Kansas
o T-shirt design – Jennifer Nguyen, Garden Grove, California

The video category of the contest will remain open until May 2, 2008.
Commentary on Social Media Recruitment Initiatives:

Paula Garrott, Ed.M.
Chair, Coordinating Council on the Clinical Laboratory Workforce
Interim Director, Natural Science Division
Chair and Associate Professor Emerita, Clinical Laboratory Science Department, University of Illinois at Springfield
Partner, The Laboratory Consultants, Inc. of Illinois

“Leveraging Facebook’s social media network was key to the success of this recruitment initiative. What better way to acknowledge Lab Week, a time of recognition for the vital contributions of medical laboratory professionals and board-certified pathologists, than by introducing the winning students who represent the future of the profession.”

“Without the lab, healthcare would come to an abrupt halt. There is no substitute for qualified laboratory professionals ensuring correct tests are ordered, performed accurately, and results utilized appropriately.”

Edward L. Michael
Executive Vice President, Diagnostics, Abbott

“Abbott is committed to the laboratory profession, and, like our customers, we are concerned about its future. With the severe workforce shortage currently facing the lab, it’s critical to inform the next generation about the exciting and life-saving work laboratory professionals perform each day that impacts patient care, safeguards public health, and protects our nation’s blood supply.”
Addressing Lab Workforce Shortage Through Recruitment

The average vacancy rate for staff medical technologists has increased 50 percent since 2003, according to the American Society for Clinical Pathology’s (ASCP) 2005 wage and vacancy survey. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Labor estimates approximately 13,800 medical laboratory professionals will be needed every year through 2012 to fill vacant positions. Unfortunately, fewer than 5,000 professionals graduate from educational programs each year.

More than 70 percent of the objective information used to make diagnostic decisions – which drive diagnosis and physician-prescribed treatment protocols – is derived from the clinical lab.

Recruitment is one of many goals of the Labs Are Vital program. Others include improving the visibility of the clinical lab and demonstrating the value of the lab to the greater healthcare community. Abbott has been joined in this effort by many of the most influential professional organizations in the clinical lab arena, including: CLMA, American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science (ASCLS), American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP), American Medical Technologists (AMT), American Association of Bioanalysts (AAB), American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC), Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL), AABB and International Federation of Clinical Chemistry (IFCC).

Working together IFCC, 76 international member societies, Labs Are Vital can better address the challenges facing the laboratory today on a global scale.

With the conclusion of the scholarship contest, students can visit www.LabScienceCareers.com to find information on career opportunities and educational programs in clinical lab sciences.



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