Abbott Announces Labs Are Vital(TM) Facebook Scholarship Contest Winners

ABBOTT PARK, Ill., April 24 /PRNewswire/ -- In conjunction with National Medical Laboratory Professionals Week (Lab Week), Abbott today announced the winners of the Labs Are Vital(TM) 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.

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 http://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.

"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 and Laboratory Medicine (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 http://www.LabScienceCareers.com to find information on career opportunities and educational programs in clinical lab sciences.

About Labs Are Vital(TM)

Labs Are Vital is a multi-pronged, multi-year education and awareness program sponsored by Abbott that is designed to highlight the critical role that laboratory professionals play in healthcare and to address the issues facing laboratories today. The program -- which includes a public awareness campaign, an Instrument Donation Program and a variety of Web-based resources for laboratory professionals -- focuses attention on the life-saving work medical laboratory scientists provide in diagnosing disease and improving health outcomes.

About National Medical Laboratory Professionals Week

National Medical Laboratory Professionals Week (Lab Week) is sponsored by a number of professional organizations in the field and is a time of recognition for the approximately 265,000 medical laboratory professionals and 15,000 board-certified pathologists who play a vital role in every aspect of healthcare. Lab Week is held annually during the last full week of April. In 2008, Lab Week is being held April 20-26 and the theme is "Laboratory Professionals: Delivering Today's Results for a Healthier Tomorrow."

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SOURCE Abbott

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