Skip to main content

Military Health System

Pandemic Spotlights the Vital Role of Military Lab Workers

Image of U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Ashley Solomon, 18th Medical Support Squadron NCO in charge of microbiology, unloads blood samples from a centrifuge at Kadena Air Base, Japan, Jan. 31, 2019. (Photo: Tech. Sgt. Matthew B. Fredericks, U.S. Air Force). U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Ashley Solomon, 18th Medical Support Squadron NCO in charge of microbiology, unloads blood samples from a centrifuge at Kadena Air Base, Japan, Jan. 31, 2019. (Photo: Tech. Sgt. Matthew B. Fredericks, U.S. Air Force)

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Coronavirus & the MHS Response

Clinical labs across the Military Health System – and the staff who operate them – play a vital role in early detection of illnesses, diagnosis and treatment of diseases like cancer, diabetes or heart disease. 

In fact, studies show about 70% of current medical decisions depend on test results. 

The demands placed on MHS lab workers intensified during the past two years and the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“At the peak of the pandemic, most laboratories saw their workload double in some areas,” said Navy Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Aramatou Toure, assistant manager for the Defense Health Agency’s clinical laboratory improvement program. 

“Most laboratories had to re-evaluate their daily operation to address the staff shortage,” she recalled. 

Despite the challenges, lab staffs worked hard to keep pace with the demand and to deliver quality results to support clinicians. 

“The pandemic helped shine the light on the important role and work the laboratory does,” Toure said. “Most people were not aware of the background work performed by the laboratories in the process of patient diagnosis.”  

Moreover, the pandemic made it clear to many people that without the laboratories, clinicians cannot effectively perform their job.  

“The outside world, and other medical professionals were able to appreciate the work laboratories do, and I know that means a lot to the laboratory community,” Toure said. 

Air Force Lt. Col. Marybeth Luna, the director for the Department of Defense Center for Laboratory Medicine Services, already has plans to prepare for the next pandemic. 

“We encourage labs to utilize instrumentation that can analyze COVID, respiratory pathogens and other routine microbiological agents,” she said. 

“It’s very important to have analyzers that can convert from ‘peacetime’ uses as well as public health emergency responses. This ensures that labs always have on-site, emergency response capabilities as well as routine lab support,” Luna said. 

Every year, the last full week of April is observed as Medical Laboratory Professionals Week. Known as Lab Week, it began in 1975, and creates an opportunity to increase public awareness and appreciation for laboratory professionals. It is sponsored by the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science and coordinated by 17 national clinical laboratory organizations. 

Within military medicine, the laboratory community consists of officers, who serve as lab managers, and enlisted service members, who do the actual testing and lab work. The civilians also do everything from sample collection to management. 

The lab techs “perform a wide variety of laboratory functions in order to provide data required to diagnose, treat, and monitor patient health,” explained Army Master Sgt. Roberto Laanan, the program manager for the Army Clinical Laboratory Improvement Program. 

Military clinical lab technicians and managers keep up with the latest technology via education and instruction. 

“The way we achieve accuracy is through training,” said Air Force Major Tatanya Cooper, deputy chief for the Laboratory Medicine Services. 

“Our military trained laboratorians received a minimum of one year of didactic and hands-on training, two to three years of thorough ‘upgrade’ training, as well as an annual competency training,” Cooper said.

You also may be interested in...

Public Health nurses offer insights on living with COVID-19 now, looking into future

Article Around MHS
1/25/2022
The Challenges of Living with COVID

One of the more challenging jobs for any public health professional is dealing with unpredictability inherent in outbreaks like the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response

Do You Have COVID-19? Influenza? Or is it RSV? Here’s What to Look For

Article
1/24/2022
Military personnel preparing a COVID-19 test sample for processing

Knowing the symptoms of COVID-19/RSV/Flu will help your medical treatment

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Seasonal Influenza Vaccine Toolkit | Coronavirus & the MHS Response | Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness | Children's Health

Medical Leaders Address COVID-19 Concerns During Family Forum

Article
1/21/2022
Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Jemuel Macabali, from San Diego, Calif., gives the COVID-19 vaccine to staff at Camp Lemonnier, in Djibouti, Aug. 13, 2021.

Top health leaders talk about the recent spike in COVID-19 infections and the impact on the military community.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response

Navy Hospital Corpsman steps into the breach in the war on COVID-19

Article Around MHS
1/18/2022
Hospitalman Hector Conde standing in front of a immunization office's refrigeration

First responders and those fighting on the medical battleground have earned well-deserved recognition for their efforts.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response

Critically ill COVID Patient Delivers Baby While on Heart-Lung Bypass

Article
1/11/2022
Retired U.S. Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. Carlos Hernandez and his wife, Ashley, take a family portrait with their six children. Ashley is BAMC’s first patient to give birth while on Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation.

Hernandez, a Marine Corps spouse and mother of five, is BAMC’s first patient to give birth while on Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation.

Recommended Content:

Women's Health | Coronavirus & the MHS Response

We Can Do It (1081 x 1081)

Infographic
1/10/2022
We Can Do It  (1081 x 1081)

We can do it: Simple measures can protect you and your community. Wear a mask, get vaccinated, and check out where and when you can get your booster! https://tricare.mil/coronavirus

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Prevent COVID-19

Quarantine vs Isolation

Infographic
1/10/2022
Quarantine vs Isolation

Been exposed or feeling symptoms of COVID-19? Make sure you understand the difference between quarantine and isolation to keep your community safe. https://tricare.mil/coronavirus

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Prevent COVID-19

We Have the Tools

Infographic
1/10/2022
We Have the Tools

We have the tools to fight: Protect yourself and your community from the spread of COVID-19 with the right tools. Make sure you wear your mask, get vaccinated, and find your nearest testing site. Learn more https://tricare.mil/coronavirus

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Prevent COVID-19

We Can Do It (1201 x 901)

Infographic
1/10/2022
We Can Do It  (1201 x 901)

We can do it: Simple measures can protect you and your community. Wear a mask, get vaccinated, and check out where and when you can get your booster! https://tricare.mil/coronavirus

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Prevent COVID-19

DHA Form 236: Pediatric (5-11 years) COVID-19 Vaccine Screening and Immunization Documentation, v8

Form/Template
1/7/2022

This form is used to determine if the COVID-19 vaccine can be administered to the pediatric patient. (Version 8, June 2022)

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Children's Health | Immunization Healthcare Division

This is my Why

Article Around MHS
12/30/2021
Air Force Senior Airman Marcus Bullock poses for a photo after receiving his COVID-19 vaccination

Air Force Senior Airman Marcus Bullock stated his reason for getting the vaccine was to help his mother and son be able to have a play date again.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Coronavirus & the MHS Response

Development of WRAIR’s Pan-Coronavirus Vaccine Shows Promise

Article
12/28/2021
A vial of spike ferritin nanoparticle WRAIR's COVID-19 vaccine

Series of preclinical studies supports the Army’s pan-coronavirus vaccine development strategy

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Coronavirus & the MHS Response | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

Immunization Experts are Central to COVID-19 Vaccine Program

Article
12/20/2021
Medical director at Fort Riley, Kansas receives a COVID-19 vaccination In his left arm from a tech in personal protective equipment.

Immunization Health Division at forefront of COVID-19 vaccinations.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine

Military Health System Marks 1-Year Anniversary for COVID Vaccinations

Article
12/14/2021
FEmale Marine gets COVID 19 vaccination in left  arm at Camp LeJeune in December 2020

More than 6.4 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered a year after first shots within MHS.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine

So others may breathe - Navy Medicine Respiratory Therapist cares for COVID casualties

Article Around MHS
12/13/2021
Military Health personnel posing for a picture

Navy Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Tessa Hazard, a respiratory therapist, recently deployed to Alabama as a member of a COVID-19 response team.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 61 - 75 Page 5 of 31
Refine your search
Last Updated: May 02, 2022
Follow us on Instagram Follow us on LinkedIn Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on YouTube Sign up on GovDelivery