Many high school, college, and medical students are not aware that career opportunities in laboratory medicine and pathology exist. As the only professional association that represents the entire laboratory team, ASCP has developed an exciting and easy way for members to bring pathology and laboratory medicine to their communities, inspiring the next generation of laboratory professionals and pathologists. During Member Week, Feb. 12-16, ASCP encourages members to join these programs as a volunteer and help us showcase our vital profession to students.
Career Ambassadors 2.0
ASCP’s Career Ambassadors 2.0 program provides members with the tools and resources to promote the medical laboratory professions to high school and college students who are exploring their career options. “There is a huge medical laboratory workforce shortage, as we’re all aware. Many young people are unaware of the large variety of careers in the medical laboratory,” says Kerwin Kolheffer, MS, PA(ASCP)CM, assistant professor and educational coordinator for the pathology assistant training program at Eastern Virginia Medical School.
“The Career Ambassadors 2.0 program is probably the best way of reaching out to young people because it has a grassroots feel to it. You have professionals sharing their passion for their work with students in smaller groups. The students are becoming aware of the possibilities. I not only talk about my work, but I also explain that I am actually helping patients. The response I get from students is, ‘Wow! I didn’t even know this career was a possibility.’”
Curriculum reform has condensed the preclinical years at many medical schools, often cutting out pathology altogether. There is an exposure gap, wherein medical schools simply don’t encourage the practice of pathology enough for it to be on medical students’ radar when choosing a specialty.
“The good news is that we, at ASCP, spearheaded by the Resident Council, have created a new program, Pathology Ambassadors. A Pathology Ambassador will assist in forming robust interest groups for pathology-inclined medical students,” said Jennifer Kasten, MD, Chair of the ASCP Resident Council.
“The Pathology Ambassadors will provide mentorship, give talks and facilitate shadowing and formal rotation opportunities in their respective hospital systems. I am very excited about this. If you would like to serve as a Pathology Ambassador, visit the ASCP website. Everyone deserves a chance to be close to the greatness that is pathology!” Dr. Kasten said.
ASCP member volunteers have developed tools and resources to help other members get started as a Career or Pathology Ambassador. Click here for more information about Career Ambassadors and to apply to join. For more information about Pathology Ambassadors and to apply to join, click here.