Texas Laboratory Response Network Members Meet In Person
By Rana Rahmat , specialist , Laboratory Response Network
The Texas Laboratory Rsponse Network meeting in Bandera , TX .
A peaceful ranch in Bandera , Texas , the self-proclaimed “ Cowboy Capital of the World ,” is not where one expects to attend a scientific meeting . The Mayan Ranch is exactly where state and local public health laboratorians from the Texas network of Laboratory Response Network ( LRN )
laboratories meet on an annual basis . Texas is unique in that it is one of the few states with multiple LRN laboratories . The meeting , organized by the Texas Department of State Health Services ( DSHS )
laboratory in Austin , offers a forum for laboratories to provide updates on current activities , discuss new methods and technologies , network with colleagues , and troubleshoot issues impacting laboratory testing .
The meeting began with a closed session for Texas LRN laboratory personnel to introduce themselves and to report on activities , trainings and challenges faced during the previous year . The subsequent two days were open sessions that included other partners such as the local Civil Support Team ( CST ) and APHL . Topics during the open sessions included laboratory renovations at the Texas DSHS , work performed by the Texas A & M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory
, and notable chemical threat cases that occurred during the year . Attendees also had a chance to hear about APHL ’ s activities in support of the LRN , including a discussion on the future of the LRN and laboratory needs moving forward . The final morning consisted of case studies and lessons learned , as well as an APHL overview of biosafety activities , resources and training opportunities .
Presentations were followed by in-depth discussions among colleagues and included a chance to ask questions about how specific cases were handled , successes , challenges and what could be improved in future responses , and an exchanging of ideas for how laboratories can improve their systems and communications for future responses .
The conference room was not the only place where great discussions took place . Frequent breaks allowed for ample networking opportunities as well as the chance to partake in extracurricular activities such as horseback riding or visiting the many animals that call the ranch home . And good company , great food and a cozy atmosphere in the main building of the ranch allowed attendees to wind down for the day , exchanging stories and forging new relationships . g