ADVANCE proudly celebrates National Medical Laboratory Professionals Week (NMLPW) and all of the professionals dedicated to providing the highest quality patient care through timely, accurate clinical diagnostics by holding our annual Laboratory Professional and Laboratory of the Year contests. Visit us at www.advanceweb.com/NMLPW to find tips for celebrating, games, certificates and more.
Laboratory Professional of the Year
1st Place: Jeannette P. Dill, Microbiologist ll, Tennessee Department of Health Laboratory Services, Nashville, TN
In her nomination, Amy M. Woron, MS, PhD, molecular biologist, Tennessee Department of Health (DOH) Laboratory Services, Nashville, TN, writes, "It is easy to recognize those whose positions keep them in the spotlight. This [contest] is a wonderful opportunity to recognize those who are the reason the spotlight is shining in the first place."
Jeannette P. Dill, our first place Laboratory Professional of the Year, is a shining example of a skilled laboratory professional who goes the extra mile to improve the quality of laboratory medicine, and the daily lives of her colleagues.
|Laboratory Professional of the Year: Jeannette P. Dill, Microbiologist ll, Tennessee Department of Health Laboratory Services, Nashville, TN. ADVANCE thanks Jeannette P. Dill
A microbiologist for the Tennessee DOH, Dill is highly involved in the CDC's PulseNet, a national network of public health and food regulatory agency laboratories. From organizing a committee to produce a DVD scrapbook, providing a single source for multi-level partner information, to working closely with members of the CDC, epidemiologists and other state laboratories, she has built invaluable connections in the public health sector.
An active member of the PulseNet planning committee for 4 years, Dill strives to improve the meeting every year. She also serves as primary instructor for pulsed-field gel electrophoresis technology for the medical technologist students rotating through microbiology at the Tennessee DOH, and is an active lecturer in the school of public health microbiology.
"Her role as the lead PulseNet microbiologist for Tennessee and passion for salmonella made her the obvious choice for salmonella molecular serotyping training," Dr. Woron reports. Dill embraced the new technology and assay offered by CDC, and became the point person for beta testing the assay in the state. Once completed, she jumped into the lead role of validating the assay.
As of Jan. 1, this year, Tennessee is one of the first states to use molecular serotyping as its primary serotyping method. A QA review showed that switching from conventional to molecular serotyping has reduced turnaround times by 1 day.
"Her commitment to customer satisfaction, teamwork and advancing technologies is unsurpassed," Dr. Woron notes.
In addition to going above and beyond with her job, Jeannette contributes to a positive organizational culture by arranging for Weight Watchers meeting at work, walk-at-lunch groups and an after work knitting club with coworkers. According to Dr. Woron, Dill brightens the room every time she enters it.
Though Dill's communication skills and creativity set her apart, she's not afraid to get her hands dirty. "Jeannette excels in enteric bacteriology testing and molecular methods," Dr. Woron notes. From working the bench, to taking on special projects, Dill says she has a passion for what she does. "I'm proud of the fact that I've chosen a career and a job that I still enjoy coming to," she tells ADVANCE. "Working in the public health field allows me to balance both my work and family life."
Da Costa-Carter is part of the Virology senior staff management team that handles protocol development. Her ongoing duties include budgetary planning and execution, handling human resource issues and assist in the development and implementation of new assays at her place of work. She is the supervisor in charge of the day to day running of the virus isolation, rabies and enterovirus PCR labs. She is also cross-trained and is called upon to perform testing as needed in the molecular PCR testing.
Dr. Woron notes Dill routinely seeks out additional learning opportunities that benefit her professional curiosity. In fact, she's thinking about going back to school and taking a couple of courses to further her education.
Dill was shocked and honored to learn she was nominated and selected as Laboratory Professional of the Year. "Now that I've had time to think about it, I don't know that I can actually put it into words," she says. "It makes me very proud of what I've done over my career and what I'm doing as an employee. It really does just humble me."
2nd Place: Cherry-Ann Da Costa-Carter, MSc, MPH, MT(AMT), RPT(AMT), Associate Lab Microbiologist and Senior Supervisor, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Public Health Lab, New York
Our second place winner's career began at the World Health Organization/Pan American Health Organization Caribbean Epidemiology Centre in Trinidad Tobago. Cherry-Ann Da Costa-Carter, MSc, MPH, MT(AMT), RPT(AMT), has since spent more than 22 years in clinical laboratories, mainly in a public health setting.
When she emigrated to the United States, seeking better opportunities for her children and herself, it seemed only natural to apply to the New York City Public Health Labs (NYC PHL), where she felt that she could make the greatest contribution based on her knowledge and skills.
Maria Paz Carlos, PhD, MBA, chief, Division of Virology and Immunology, Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, nominated Da Costa-Carter for her "leadership in public health service, as well as her unending dedication in developing the laboratory work-force and improving the laboratory profession."
Da Costa-Carter has a passion for lifelong learning. "There is so much in this universe to learn and knowledge enriches our lives," she says. Last year, she completed her Master's in Public Health degree. "I felt that studying public health formally has enhanced my understanding of the field and broadened my perspective of health issues in America," she tells ADVANCE.
|Second Place Laboratory Professional of the Year: Cherry-Ann Da Costa-Carter, MSc, MPH, MT(AMT), RPT(AMT), Associate Lab Microbiologist and Senior Supervisor, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Public Health Lab, New York. ADVANCE thanks Cherry-Ann Da Costa-Carter
She chose influenza vaccine compliance for healthcare workers at long-term care facilities in NYC as her thesis topic. During her practicum, she visited dozens of nursing homes through the five boroughs of NYC to deliver lectures on infection control, respiratory etiquette and vaccination compliance.
She also takes community involvement very seriously. In her spare time, she has given free public health lectures for health fairs in her community. "If each of us contributes a very small portion of our time and talent to community activities we would all live in a better place," she relates. "Every life that we touch in turn has an effect on our own. It is a philosophy that I was raised to believe and one which I pass onto my children."
When the NYC PHL was approached to host Hunter College interns, Da Costa-Carter jumped at the opportunity to serve as a mentor and instructor, training future laboratory professionals in all aspects of public health, including the essentials of a high standard of quality.
"Having young enthusiastic people around helps to renew our conviction in the work that we sometimes take for granted," she relates. She enjoys seeing the faces of interns and trainees light up when they get excited about achieving or learning new things. "Planting the seeds of knowledge and guiding young minds ensures an outstanding group of future professionals," she says. "I take pride in being a part of this process and it gives me great satisfaction to pass on some of the knowledge that I gained from my mentors."
Da Costa-Carter is honored to place in the Laboratory Professional of the Year contest and acknowledges the support and encouragement of those around her. "This award is as much about the team as it is about me," she says. "I am truly grateful."
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