Clinics in Laboratory Medicine Issue Emphasizes Role of Laboratory in Global Health

Apr 12, 2018

Health care is a system that should function with a laboratory at the center, to bridge appropriate care to each patient. That’s the premise of Clinics in Laboratory Medicine’s March 2018 issue, Global Health and Pathology.

Edited by ASCP Chief Medical Officer Dan A. Milner, Jr., MD, MSc(Epi), FASCP, the issue assembles more than 70 global health experts who tackle the myriad challenges health systems face around the world, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa. The primary challenge, writes Dr. Milner, is providing quality health care that is accessible to all.

“With this issue, we wanted to look across the landscape of global health and pathology and identify the gaps” in the delivery of diagnostic medicine and care, Dr. Milner says. “Then, we talk about stories that have solved those gaps and we share those stories with the public.”

Essay topics range from building laboratory capacity and telepathology to the challenges of establishing medical infrastructure in resource-limited countries.

“This must-read issue highlights the fundamental importance of pathology and laboratory medicine to the delivery of good quality health care worldwide,” says ASCP CEO E. Blair Holladay, PhD, MASCP, SCT(ASCP)CM. “The laboratory should be thought of as the core around which all medical practice takes place. Dr. Milner has compiled insightful works written by internationally-known authors in the medical laboratory who focus heavily on pathology in a broad sense.”

One of the distinguished authors is Robert Lukande, MMed, Histopathologist and President of the Association of Pathologists of East, Central and Southern Africa (APECSA). “What excites me is that the contribution of pathologists from Africa was sought. We are the ‘generals in the trenches’ ​ in as far as practice in difficult situations is concerned,” Dr. Lukande said. “We do appreciate the contribution of colleagues from well-resourced settings (Europe and North Am​erica). But to have an impact on global health, you need to hear from the people in the trenches.”

More than 30 percent of the issue’s authors are from Africa and represent 20 countries overall.  The authors include Andre Ilbawi, MD, of the World Health Organization; Miriam Schneidman, MA, MPH, of the World Bank; Lawrence Shulman, MD, of the University of Pennsylvania; John Flanigan, MD, of the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health; and Paul Farmer, MD, PhD, of Partners in Health and Harvard Medical School, among others.

In his article, Dr. Farmer responded to an essay, co-authored by Dr. Milner and Dr. Holladay, in which they assert that laboratories should be the core of the health system. Dr. Farmer, an internationally renowned global health advocate, emphasized that labs are the core to the health system.

“Any time you take care of a patient, you need a lab test,” Dr. Milner says. “Anatomic pathology for cancer is crucial. With this issue, we want to show that there are individuals and groups out there that are working to provide solutions to access to care. My hope is that individuals reading the book are inspired to do the same.”

Watch a video in which Dr. Holladay interviews Dr. Milner about the issue here.