eCLECtic Blog

eCLECtic will keep you updated on new developments and interesting opportunities for the 2019 Clinical Laboratory Educators Conference (CLEC).

CLEC 2019

Closing Keynote Will Help You Implement What You Learn at CLEC

Dr. Todd ZakrajsekThe 2019 Clinical Laboratory Educators Conference Closing Keynote session on Saturday, Universal Threads: Common Components of All Effective Teaching Strategies, is designed to help you synthesize what you’ve learned at the conference and ultimately improve your teaching.

The session features Dr. Todd Zakrajsek, associate research professor and associate director of fellowship programs in the University of North Carolina School of Medicine Department of Family Medicine. His current academic work and publications pertain to faculty development, effective instructional strategies, and student learning.

Dr. Zakrajsek will focus on the fundamentals of learning, emphasizing that you will have learned a lot at CLEC and may even be overloaded by this time. “The essential consideration when leaving with things that can be implemented is that we don't forget ‘what’ makes strategies work,” he says. “My focus is on attention, understanding, value, repetition, and elaboration … the items that are necessary for a teaching strategy to work.”

Dr. Zakrajsek likes to use a lot of real-life examples in his presentations, as well as inject humor and a few activities into the session. While you will learn a lot in this session, you should have fun in the process.

Get a sneak peak of Dr. Zakrajsek by watching his 2015 TEDx Talk, Improve Learning by Thinking about Learning. His CLEC presentation with go deeper into the topic and focus specifically on teaching strategies.


CLEC 2019 Opening Keynote to Address Today’s Clinical Rotation/Practicum Issues

Joan Polancic Lisa Cremeans John Gerlach

The 2019 Clinical Laboratory Educators Conference Opening Keynote session on Thursday afternoon, “Workforce Issues and Their Impact on MLT and MLS Practicum/Clinical Training,” will help educators know that they are not alone dealing with clinical rotation/practicum issues, which are an integral part of the MLT and MLS education. 

The session features three speakers who will provide new facts and new ways to deal with the critical workforce issues you are facing.

Joan Polancic is the director of the Denver Health School of Medical Laboratory Science and a member of the ASCLS Committee on Education Programs and Initiatives (CEPI). Over the last several years CEPI has observed that MLS and MLT programs are increasingly faced with challenges for student placement in clinical sites.

Changes in the lab industry include consolidation of labs, particularly for microbiology and blood bank, where a central lab receives samples from smaller satellite labs. Another issue observed is the workforce shortage due to increasing retirements.

These issues affect placement of students for clinical rotations/practicums. Joan will share examples of how programs have been creative in providing students with clinical rotations despite a changing industry.

Lisa Cremeans is a clinical assistant professor in the Division of Clinical Laboratory Science at the University of North Carolina and has experience working in a variety of clinical laboratory settings. She was a member of the ASCLS Workforce Position Paper Task Force. The task force presented its position paper to the ASCLS House of Delegates at the 2018 Annual Meeting, “Addressing the Clinical Laboratory Workforce Shortage.” 

The paper provides a summary of current reasons for the shortage and the impact on clinical labs, patient care and access, and educational facilities. Lisa will provide an overview for educators at CLEC.

John Gerlach is Biomedical Laboratory Diagnostics Program director at Michigan State University. He will share information from a recent survey of lab managers and directors that provides a snapshot of how and where lab testing is distributed across the United States—in particular, how microbiology, immunohematology, and molecular diagnostic testing is staffed and trained. 

This survey was done to help understand the amount of consolidation that has occurred for testing in blood bank and microbiology. Hopefully this data will lead us to new solutions in how to prepare future laboratorians for these disciplines.

Continue the Discussion on Friday
The next morning at breakfast the speakers (and some members of CEPI) will facilitate small group discussions that were stimulated by the keynote presentations. At the Scientific Assemblies’ breakfast a few tables will have signs for “Keynote Discussions.” Please join the speakers with further insight and suggestions to help lead to educational solutions that will work in our current clinical lab environment.


Baltimore: Did you Know?

When Baltimore Became the Charm City

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Our host city for the 2019 Clinical Laboratory Educators Conference (CLEC), is sometimes referred to as, "Charm City." This nickname traces its origins only back to 1975, according to The Baltimore Sun. It grew out of creative conferences among four of the city's leading advertising executives and creative directors who were trying to re-brand the city. At that time, the city suffered from a poor image and then Mayor William Donald Schaefer want to fix it … fast.

One brainstorming line set it all going: "Baltimore has more history and unspoiled charm tucked away in quiet corners than most American cities out in the spotlight."

Soon they began calling Baltimore "Charm City." They even included a charm bracelet at the bottom of each ad. Hence, "Charm City" was born and set into Baltimore legend.

Baltimore Food Bucket List

Baltimore is most famous for crab, but there are a few other foods you might want to seek out while at CLEC. Spoon University published a list of “24 Things to Eat in Baltimore Before You Die.” Among the foods are:

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Old Bay Seasoning – “Though not exactly a food on its own, Old Bay is without a doubt the most important condiment in town.”

Natty Boh (National Bohemian Beer) – “Coming in cheaper than water by weight, Natural Bohemian is the $20 30-rack of choice in the great state of Maryland.”

Zeke’s Coffee – “Zeke’s is a family-run small batch roastery.”

Lobster Roll from Thames Street Oyster House – “Expect close to an entire lobster, a bit of melted butter, and a melt-in-your-mouth roll.”

Cannoli Cake (Cassata) from Vaccaro’s – “The alternating layers of the richest cannoli cream and ethereally light cake will bring a single tear to your eye as you stare, dumbfounded, across the still waters of the Inner Harbor.”


Quirky Baltimore

In Baltimore you can see George Washington’s famous dentures at the National Museum of Dentistry. Or bathe in the red glow of Baltimore’s gigantic Domino Sugars sign – it’s big enough to fit the entire infield of Camden Yards. Or visit fantastical exhibits at the national museum for self-taught art, American Visionary Art Museum.

Check out Visit Baltimore’s Quirky Baltimore suggestions, including hometown quirky film director John Waters’ favorite Baltimore places.

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From Educational Coaching to the BOC to Meditation - CLEC 2019 Sessions Offer Variety and Inspiration

The Clinical Laboratory Educators Conference (CLEC) is chock-full of a wide variety of sessions that will enhance teaching skills, improve program management, and increase efficiencies. On Friday alone, you can choose from nearly 40 different topics!
Below is a sampling of sessions to inspire and energize you. Access the full program to learn more about the dozens of valuable learning opportunities at CLEC 2019. Register today!
Photo credit: Alpha Stock Images
Clinical educators are required to do more than teach subject matter content. Educators must also train students to be competent professionals, which can be accomplished through professional coaching. Examples of teaching methods that encourage the development of critical thinking skills, build resilience, encourage self-reflection, and develop professionalism will be explored.
Learning Objectives:
  • Summarize pressures shifting educational paradigms.
  • Explain how coaching may lead to remediation of underdeveloped skills.
  • Describe one example of how coaching can be used in the classroom or the bench side educational arenas.
Speaker: Marianne Downes, PhD, MLS(ASCP)CM, West Virginia University School of Medicine Division of Medical Laboratory Science
When: Friday, February 22, 8:30 am – 9:30 am
This is the third session in the “A Closer Look at the BOC” series. Expanding on topics presented at CLEC in 2015 and 2017, the session is designed to explain the role of BOC certification exam committees and its exam development processes.
Learning Objectives:
  • Describe BOC examination committees.
  • Explain the BOC certification exam processes of practice analysis and standard setting.
  • Describe how to write and review effective exam questions.
Speakers: Susan Graham, MS, MT(ASCP)SH, SUNY Upstate Medical University; Kathleen Finnegan, MS, MT(ASCP)SH, Stony Brook University; and Patricia Tanabe, MPA, MLS(ASCP)CM, ASCP
When: Friday, February 22, 10:30 am – 12:00 pm
Clinical laboratory students can use all the stress management skills they can get. One skill that can be introduced is mindfulness of breathing meditation. This session will discuss the science behind this “entry-level” form of meditation, its potential benefits for students, and an example of how to introduce the technique.
Learning Objectives:
  • Summarize the effects of meditation on the brain.
  • Discuss how meditation can improve focus.
  • Explain the stress reduction benefits of meditation.
Speaker: Tracey Graney, PhD, MT(ASCP), Monroe Community College
When: Friday, February 22, 10:30 am – 12:00 pm (part of a Hot Topics session that includes Is Test Anxiety a Predictor of Workplace Phobia?)
We need variety in the way we provide educational services for CLS degrees. Hear from the Marist College program, which allows certain adult students to complete the process in a single year. Flexibility in delivery will attract more types of students to the field allowing us to address the need for more technologists.
Learning Objectives:
  • Identify the need for flexibility in educational programs to increase access to the field of CLS.
  • Recognize the type of nontraditional student who would benefit from a new learning plan.
  • Identify characteristics in your own programs that would allow the most flexibility for different types of students.
Speakers: Terrance Paskell, MA, MLS(ASCP)CM, Marist College; and Brigid Shanley, MS, MT(ASCP), Marist College
When: Friday, February 22, 3:30 pm – 4:30 pm (part of a Hot Topics session that includes Incorporating Information Literacy (IL) into the MLS Curriculum: Lessons Learned)

Inner Harbor Eats

We know that trying out local restaurants is a big part of your CLEC experience. Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and nearby neighborhoods will not disappoint. The following are some recommendations from local Baltimore media.

Grilled lamb rack chop, fresh pomegranate, grilled zucchini at Charleston Restaurant.

Miss Shirley’s Café serves breakfast and brunch with southern-influenced fare made with locally sourced Chesapeake Bay ingredients. Try the jammin’ bacon deviled eggs, strawberry and goat cheese biscuits, or the Chesapeake BBQ Bloody Mary.

Cava Mezze is a Mediterranean café that features shared plates and an expansive wine and beer list. Try the mushroom risotto, seared scallops, octopus, or lamb chops.

Charleston Restaurant describes itself as “rooted in French fundamentals and the Low Country cooking of South Carolina.” The menu changes daily and includes dishes such as house-cured salmon, lamb tenderloin, pan-roasted sea scallops, or grilled veal flatbread.

Roy’s Restaurant is an upscale Hawaiian fusion restaurant that features steak and sushi. Try the tempura-crusted ahi roll with butter sauce, seared rockfish with sweet corn, or the tender braised lamb steak with blackberry hoisin.

Rusty Scupper Restaurant & Bar rises three levels above the water and boasts a beautiful view from every table. The menu is a seafood lover’s dream and accommodates all tastes. You will find everything from authentic Maryland crab cakes to fresh oysters, shrimp, and lobster.

Little Italy

Nearby Eateries 

Little Italy offers dozens of dining options that range from casual to fine-dining. Some favorites are Germano’s Piattini, Da Mimmo’s, and Café Gia. Make sure you save room for the Cannoli Cake at Vaccaro's Italian Pastry Shop.

Walk to the Harbor East neighborhood where you can dine on the water at several restaurants, including three from James Beard Award Finalist Chef Cindy Wolf and two recent openings, The Loch Bar and Bar Vasquez. This neighborhood is also home to Charm City Cakes, site of the Food Network’s Ace of Cakes.