APHL 2020 POSTER ABSTRACTS which led to higher morbidity rates in certain areas . The public health laboratory response to these outbreaks needs to move faster in the future to reduce the spread of disease . The APHL Infectious Disease Committee developed a survey to ask public health laboratories about their recent experience with the Zika virus outbreak as an indicator of a typical outbreak response . The Zika virus outbreak was chosen because it represented a new pathogen which most states had no diagnostic capabilities at the onset . Eleven US public health laboratories volunteered to participate in the phone interview survey , this was determined statistical to be sufficient . Laboratories were asked about several factors , including , when they began to prepare to respond to the Zika virus outbreak , limiting factors in new test implementation , time required to bring on a new test method , and how long it took to complete each task in the process .
The time required to perform and report a Zika virus test result from the initial response to implement a Zika virus assay ranged from 7 to 90 days , with a median of 30 days . While some laboratories began preparations to develop and validate a Zika virus assay before it was identified the US , most laboratories waited for the release of an emergency use authorization test before starting their validation . Major limiting factors for most labs were adequate staff to perform testing , result reporting systems , financial issues , the availability of reagents and control specimens to perform validation studies . Equipment and space considerations were also notable . The most difficult tasks to bring on a new test were the validation and result reporting . Most laboratories performed multiple tasks to bring on the test simultaneously while some took a more linear approach .
Based on the survey results , we conclude that all public health laboratories are not able to respond to the challenges of bringing on new assays in the same manner . It is wise for all public health labs to work towards a best practice model for the challenges of bringing a new test on board during an outbreak .
Identifying overlaps in diagnostic development needs across different priority pathogens would allow more timely and costeffective use of resources than a pathogen by pathogen approach .
Presenter : Wade Aldous , State Hygienic Laboratory at the University of Iowa , Iowa City , IA , wade-aldous @ uiowa . edu
Data for Workforce Development : What Do We Have ? What Do We Need ?
R . Ned-Sykes , Q . Zheng , V . Johnson and C . Callahan , Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , Atlanta , GA
Public health and clinical laboratories face an array of challenges in workforce development , including recruitment , retention , and staff training and professional development . While there is an abundance of awareness and extensive , first-hand experience with these challenges within the laboratory community , it is unclear exactly what , and how much , hard data exist regarding the things we think we “ know ” about public health and clinical laboratory workforce development . To answer this question , we conducted an environmental scan to uncover existing data and gather new data to better understand the laboratory workforce and workforce development challenges . The scan consisted of a literature review as well as interviews , focus groups , and other discussions with CDC staff , external partners , and members of the public health and clinical laboratory communities . We present findings from the literature review , which assessed the amount , quality , and scope of available information related to the workforce and challenges associated with the education , recruitment , professional development , and retention of laboratory professionals . Out of 4,000 + data sources uncovered from searching key words and phrases within four scientific databases and the internet , 227 sources were eligible for inclusion in the literature review by meeting criteria related to topic area , audience , and publication year . Most data — and the most robust data — for both public health and clinical laboratory workforces related to the categorization of each workforce at the national level . However , data were scarce for most other topics , including the awareness and perceptions of careers in laboratory science , best practices in retention , and the root causes of the workforce shortage . We also present themes from discussions with members of the laboratory community and other stakeholders regarding workforce development needs and challenges , particularly in the training and professional development of current laboratory professionals . In total , the environmental scan demonstrates several areas for improvement in the gathering and measurement of workforce development data . This scarcity of information prevents the development of data-driven strategies and efforts that could be used to better identify and address critical needs in the creation and maintenance of a well-trained and skilled laboratory workforce . The findings from the environmental scan will help enhance CDC ’ s engagement with partners in developing goals , programs , and resources to address laboratory workforce development needs at the national level .
Presenter : Renee Ned-Sykes , Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , Atlanta , GA , rin1 @ cdc . gov
Integrating Competency Guidelines for Public Health Laboratory Professionals into a Medical Laboratory Technician Training Program
T . Wolfe 1 , Robert Nickla 2 ; 1 Portland Community College , Portland , OR , 2 Oregon State Public Health Laboratory , Hillsboro , OR
In 2015 , the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( CDC ) and the Association for Public Health Laboratories ( APHL ) published the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report ( MMWR ): Competency Guidelines for Public Health Laboratory Professionals . The guidelines cover a range of public health laboratory workforce competence domains grouped by four ability levels . While primarily written for public health laboratory professionals , the guidelines are also applicable to student laboratory training programs .
The Oregon State Public Health Lab ( OSPHL ) has a longtime partnership with the Portland Community College Medical Laboratory Technology ( MLT ) Department to foster a strong student training program , promote awareness of public health , and to enhance laboratory workforce initiatives . The OSPHL introduced the MMWR guidelines to the MLT Program Director ( PD ) with the intent to use them for curriculum enhancement and further alignment with professional practices that results in graduates with stronger employment skills . The PD worked closely with the OSPHL to evaluate the guidelines for cross-cutting and specialized applicability ( sub ) domains that would be most relevant and beneficial to public health and clinical laboratory fields . The competency guideline