The Moment We’ve All Been Waiting for…

Introducing the winners of the 2016 Laboratory and Laboratory Professional of the Year Awards.

The results are in! Each year, Medical Laboratory Professionals Week (MLPW) gives much-deserved attention to the clinical laboratory profession. In celebration of lab week, ADVANCE held its annual contest to determine both the Laboratory and Laboratory Professional of the Year and, as always, an abundance of nominations were sent in from across the nation. We thank those who participated and are excited for next year’s lab week contest!

And now the moment we’ve all been waiting for…

PCL Alverno (Central Laboratory)PCL Alverno Hammond, IN
PCL Alverno (Central Laboratory)PCL Alverno
Hammond, IN

Laboratory of the Year:

PCL Alverno (Central Laboratory)
Hammond, IN

In her nomination essay for the Central Lab at PCL Alverno, Nadine Ali, MT, laboratory operations director, described it as an amazing laboratory where values form an integral part of the foundation of the lab. In a recent interview with ADVANCE, Ali spoke about the team and operations at PCL Alverno.

PCL Alverno is made up of twenty-seven hospitals in addition to the core laboratory, serving a large community that spans Indiana and Illinois. Ali is particularly proud of the way the organization has remained unified through a dedication to four core values-integrity, faith, dedication to quality and commitment to service. These values are clearly evidenced in the strength of the PCL Alverno team and the various ways they strive for excellence and deliver high-quality care.

PCL Alverno routinely assesses employee and client satisfaction and employs a quality maintenance team. Aside from a dedication to their patients, a large focus of PCL Alverno is service in their community. These mission opportunities have varied throughout the years, but have included activities such as collecting donations for a local veteran association, filling gift baskets for orphaned children, food drives and fundraising for various outreaches. Over the past year, the entire organization brought in new lab equipment, installing over 160 pieces of equipment in 6 months throughout all of the facilities-a tremendous accomplishment. PCL Alverno also focuses on helping other healthcare systems improve; they receive visitors at least twice a month to observe the equipment, facilities, and operations of the organization.

As PCL Alverno looks to the future, they hope to continue effective collaboration to implement their success strategies and stay on the forefront of technology. In her interview, Ali said, “It is very important to engage your employees in everything you do in the laboratory. Their voice is very important; they are the frontline of your organization. They have to be able to understand your strategic goals and those values you adopt into your organization so that they have a purpose and can provide the best of care.”

LaVinia Ray
LaVinia Ray

Laboratory Professional of the Year:

LaVinia Ray, HT(ASCP)cm
Pathology Supervisor
Southern Research
Birmingham, Ala.

Laboratory Professional of the Year nominator Sheila D. Grimes, DVM, PhD, DACVP, pathology program leader at Southern Research thoroughly described her fellow colleague in her nomination essay when she wrote, “LaVinia’s daily work epitomizes excellence. She is highly self-motivated, exceptionally well organized, meticulous in her work, highly intelligent and conscientious in all her endeavors.”

In a recent interview with ADVANCE, this year’s Laboratory Professional of the Year winner, LaVinia Ray, HT(ASCP)cm, discussed her role at the Southern Research laboratory. Southern Research is a not-for-profit organization with nearly 500 scientists and engineers working across four divisions to develop drugs to combat a variety of diseases. Ray, who got started with her job through the ADVANCE Job Board, has been working at Southern Research since 2001 and currently works in the Drug Development Division as a Pathology Supervisor.

“A big thing for me has always been a focus on morale and a positive team environment,” said Ray. Her responsibilities include the oversight, scheduling, training and coaching of the staff of necropsy and histology laboratories, as well as being intimately involved in day-to-day operations. This past year, Ray won her third Employee Excellence Award from Southern Research. She also promotes continuing education and employee development, and has recently started working on a mentor/mentee relationship among her seasoned technicians and recent graduates.

When asked about her plans for the future, Ray fondly mentions a former colleague who once told her, “Never pass up the opportunity to learn something new. Learn, teach; teach, learn.” Ray notes, “That little simple conversation impacted me greatly and from that moment I made it a mission to continue to learn, not just within my career, but in other aspects of my life, and that’s one of the things that I want to continue.”