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NEWS | April 20, 2021

National Medical Laboratory Professionals Week

By Senior Airman Adriana Barrientos 673 Air Base Wing Public Affairs

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- National Medical Laboratory Professionals Week, April 18 to 24, is a time to celebrate more than 280,000 medical laboratory professionals across the nation who perform and interpret laboratory tests that save lives and keep people healthy.

Medical laboratory professionals, pathologists, and technicians at JBER play a vital role in every aspect of health care. They are the service members that work behind the scenes to keep personnel healthy.

“The laboratory is responsible for performing analysis on body fluids to help diagnose diseases in patients. The analysis of blood, urine and other specimens are invaluable for medical providers to treat and provide care to patients,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Daniel Roma, the laboratory quality assurance coordinator from the 673d Medical Support Squadron laboratory flight. “During the last year, the medical laboratory has seen a huge surge in work volume because we perform COVID-19 testing.”

Doctors rely heavily on lab tests to make diagnoses. Thus, laboratory professionals are critical components of the health care system. Recently, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the value of medical lab techs and other professionals.

“The JBER lab performs and reports COVID-19 testing, which was critical to the wing commander’s decisions on JBER’s response to the 2020 pandemic. These testing capabilities have also allowed exercises for both the Air Force and Army to continue in order to fulfill mission ready tasks,” said U.S. Air Force Captain Karla Workman, chief of transfusion services, from the 673d MSS laboratory flight.

Using state-of-the-art technology and instrumentation, laboratory professionals help to prevent disease by detecting unknown health problems and aiding in the diagnosis and treatment of existing conditions by giving accurate, timely test results.

“The lab doesn’t just draw blood. Laboratory professionals are highly skilled and use sophisticated biomedical analyzers to generate critical, important results that identify and treat cancer, heart disease, diabetes, blood clotting disorders to name a few,” said Workman. “ Lab techs rarely sit down, we are always on our feet processing and analyzing tests.”

Results of laboratory tests often identify disease in its earliest stages, when the possibilities of a cure are greatest and when treatment is least costly. Likewise, lab professionals fight diseases every day with reliable diagnosis and prevention. National Medical Laboratory Professionals Week takes place the last full week each April, celebrating its 45th anniversary this year.