A new beginning—the same commitment

Oct. 1, 2011

It is with a feeling of great pride and humility that I assume the role of editor of Medical Laboratory Observer with this issue. I am conscious of the responsibilities involved in presenting the best information in the most effective, accessible, and useful ways to all who read MLO—laboratory professionals and administrators; top-tier academicians; medical personnel; vendors of laboratory technology, technology that continues to evolve at a pace that can literally be called dizzying; and yes, more casual readers into whose hands an issue of the magazine may fall who want to learn more about a fascinating field in order to become more educated medical professionals and consumers. To a large degree, the same thing is true of an editor that the American writer Henry Adams said of a teacher: He “affects eternity; he can never know where his influence stops.”

This October issue of MLO focuses on a seasonal phenomenon that is likely to have ramifications for clinical laboratorians who work for the public welfare in laboratories of all sizes and affiliations: influenza and other viral infections. The Cover Story, beginning on page 10, addresses ways to blunt the synergistic effect of viral infections and allergies—suggesting that guideline-based IgE testing for at-risk asthma patients can be a useful strategy to break that synergy. That story includes, as always, a P.A.C.E.-accredited CE test to help readers earn continuing education credits.

Three “Clinical Issues” articles explore different aspects of hemoglobinopathy that are relevant to diagnosis via laboratory testing. Two “Current Buzz” features tell how labs have more and more tools to battle antibiotic resistance. Two “Education” features show how labs are “going green” in our era of environmental sensitivity—and how to decide just how green you want your lab to go.

This month's “Lab Management” article reveals how the National Lab of Haiti is working to achieve ISO 9001 certification—first-world standards in a third-world nation. Two “Special Features” look at new technological solutions to the challenges blood banks face in ensuring the safety, security and efficiency of blood transfusions. This month's Product Focus section targets new products related to hematology.

As a new face at MLO, I should tell you a little about myself. I hold a Master's degree in English Literature from the University of Chicago and have taught in college environments, but have spent most of my career as a magazine editor. I have directed custom health publications, educational periodicals in a variety of subject areas, and consumer and business/finance publications. I have assembled many an editorial calendar (the 2012 “ed cal” for MLO will be the subject of this space in the November issue), and I have brought together the writers, peer reviewers, designers, proofreaders, and other professionals who are essential to the success of any professional magazine.

I face many challenges, of course. But the most important one is to make sure the magazine provides information for all departments of medical laboratories large and small: chemistry, hematology, blood bank, immunology, microbiology. I desire and need your feedback, and I invite you to write me about anything in the magazine—or anything that you'd like to see in the magazine—at [email protected].

And if find yourself at the AABB – CTTXPO 2011 (Cellular Therapy and Transfusion Medicine Expo) conference in San Diego, October 22-25, please come by our MLO booth 123 and introduce yourself.