Lab Matters Spring 2024 | Page 23


Alabama Hosts In-person Mycobacterium tuberculosis Diagnostic Workshop

By Sharon Massingale , PhD , HCLD / CC ( ABB ), director , Alabama Department of Health , Bureau of Clinical Laboratories ; and Erin Estes , MBA , MLS ( ASCP ) CM , specialist , HIV , Viral Hepatitis , STI and TB
In early December 2023 , 19 public health laboratorians from across the United States gathered at the Alabama Department of Public Health , Bureau of Clinical Laboratories ( ADPH BCL ) to attend the Mycobacterium tuberculosis : Diagnostic Principles and Procedures Workshop . APHL facilitated this training in collaboration with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ’ s ( CDC ), Division of Tuberculosis Elimination ( DTBE ) and ADPH BCL . Intended for laboratorians with a minimum of one year of experience in a laboratory that identifies Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex ( MTBC ), this course further educated participants on diagnostic MTBC principles and procedures .
Although the workshop has been held in various iterations , 2023 marked the first workshop held since 2019 and the first , in many years , that it was held outside of CDC ’ s Atlanta campus . When APHL and CDC asked , ADPH BCL Director Sharon Massingale , PhD , HCLD / CC ( ABB ), and her staff were ready and willing to host the workshop . In 2020 , ADPH BCL moved from Montgomery to a newly constructed facility in nearby Prattville . The modern and thoughtfully designed space is a laboratorian ’ s dream , and the workshop showcased the facility ’ s wonderful functionality . The main clinical laboratory building includes a training laboratory that accommodates up to 12 students . Behind the main building , the Training Center and Administrative Annex houses a large conference room where workshop lectures were held .
Workshop participants get hands-on experience in the ADPH BCL training laboratory . Photo : Erin Estes
Stacey Hall , Emily Dean and Hannah Mims ( ADPH program staff ); Latricia Lewis ( Houston Health Department , Bureau of Laboratories ); Jolene Vanneste ( Michigan Department of Health and Human Services ); Kathleen Milloy ( Virginia Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services ) and CDC DTBE staff .
In a hands-on session conducted in the training laboratory , participants prepared , tested and analyzed samples using MALDI-TOF MS procedures . Many public health laboratories perform MALDI-TOF MS for bacterial identifications , making this platform a good option for mycobacteria ID . When using MALDI-TOF MS for ID of mycobacteria , additional inactivation and extraction steps are required for safe and accurate testing . Time spent in the training laboratory practicing procedures , with access to public health faculty who currently perform this testing , provided the opportunity for participant questions to be answered .
Forging Learning Connections
In addition to structured learning , this workshop created an environment that allowed public health laboratorians the opportunity to network and engage with one another . Each participant was asked to prepare a short presentation highlighting a unique case or situation encountered at their laboratory . In a “ Speed Algorithms ” session , participants met with other participants to discuss their laboratory ’ s MTBC testing algorithm . Collaborative sessions helped to facilitate sharing of knowledge important for participants ’ learning and for bringing this information back to their respective laboratories .
The hospitality of ADPH was amazing from start to finish , and the facility provided a great location for the workshop . Faculty and participants spent the week learning and building connections that will continue to strengthen public health laboratory diagnostics for years to come . The engagement of participants throughout the course , from questions of faculty to group dinners and networking , establishes how beneficial and important in-person training workshops are for continued strengthening of the public health laboratory workforce . g
Returning to Hands-on Training
Lectures focused on specimen processing , nucleic acid amplification testing , identification ( ID ) of mycobacteria utilizing matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry ( MALDI-MOF MS ), growthbased and molecular drug susceptibility testing , laboratory safety , next generation sequencing methods , testing method validations and the epidemiology of tuberculosis . Workshop faculty included
Workshop faculty and participants grab some fresh air during a break . Photo : Erin Estes
APHL . org
Spring 2024 LAB MATTERS 21