What a Day! Day 3 of the APHL Annual Meeting

What a Day! Day 3 of the APHL Annual Meeting | www.APHLblog.org

Day 3 of the APHL Annual Meeting was a big one! We had several captivating sessions including this year’s Katherine Kelley Distinguished Lecturer, Maryn McKenna, renowned journalist and author. Listen to today’s episode to hear a few attendees share what they took away from the day.

You can listen to our show via the player embedded below or on iTunes, Stitcher or wherever you get your podcasts. Please be sure to subscribe to Lab Culture so you never miss an episode.

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Hello, Pasadena! Day 1 of the APHL Annual Meeting

Hello, Pasadena! Day 1 of the APHL Annual Meeting | www.APHLblog.org

We are in sunny Pasadena, California for the 2018 APHL Annual Meeting! Here is a little look at what we did on the first day. Stay tuned for updates every day through June 5.

You can listen to our show via the player embedded below or on iTunes, Stitcher or wherever you get your podcasts. Please be sure to subscribe to Lab Culture so you never miss an episode.

Join the conversation using #APHL on:

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New Lab Matters: When the water comes, be prepared

New Lab Matters: When the water comes, be prepared | www.APHLblog.org

According to a study by the National Center for Atmospheric Research, the volume of rainfall from storms will rise by as much as 80% in North America by the end of the century. Not only do storms and floods threaten public health laboratory facilities, but receding floodwaters pose serious public health risks. As our feature article shows, the best weapon in a public health laboratory’s arsenal is preparation for inundation…from any source.

Here are just a few of this issue’s highlights:

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Lab Culture Ep. 9: What is the APHL Emerging Leader Program?

Lab Culture Ep. 9: What is the APHL Emerging Leader Program? | www.APHLblog.org

What is the Emerging Leader Program (ELP)? APHL staff, Pandora Ray and Kajari Shah, share how the ELP got its start and how it has progressed. This year’s ELP cohort is producing three episodes for Lab Culture that will be released over the coming weeks. Stay tuned!

APHL Emerging Leader Program

(Cohort 9 is pictured above. Pan and Kajari are kneeling in the center.)

You can listen to our show via the player embedded below or on iTunes, Stitcher or wherever you get your podcasts. Please be sure to subscribe to Lab Culture so you never miss an episode.

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Everything you need for Lab Week 2018

Everything you need for Lab Week 2018

Get ready for Lab Week! April 22-28 we will join our members and partners to celebrate the vital contributions laboratory professionals make to protect public health and safety in the US and around the globe. APHL will be particularly focused on the laboratory professionals who make up our community – the dedicated individuals working at local, state, environmental and agricultural laboratories which comprise the public health laboratory system.

We have lots of fun things planned this year! Scroll down for printable posters, downloadable graphics and more.

Follow APHL for our special Lab Week content (there might even be a contest on Facebook… hint hint…)!

While we celebrate our members, we also use Lab Week to increase awareness and demonstrate the importance of public health and environmental laboratories in our communities. We encourage you to do the same!

Below are some resources to help launch your own Lab Week celebration. These resources are for local, state, public health, environmental and agricultural laboratories alike!

Printable posters to display in your lab:

Everything you need for Lab Week 2018Graphics:

Sample social media posts (include a graphic or photo for added visibility):

Videos

Here are two animated videos to share with your public audiences. Feel free to share the link or embed on your website.

What exactly do public health laboratories do? Share these stories that highlight their work:

Encourage others to consider laboratory careers! Share these stories:

Celebration ideas:

  • Celebrate Lab Week internally with a social event, banners or other decorations.
  • Hold an open house for media, elected officials, school groups, staff families and other members of the public. Check out the Milwaukee Health Department Laboratory’s story about their health fair for students.
  • Visit local elementary, middle and high schools to talk with students interested in STEM disciplines.
  • Write an op-ed piece for local newspapers and/or magazines to highlight the valuable contributions your public health laboratory staff are making in your community, city and/or state.
  • Are you the lab director or section manager? Think of fun and meaningful ways to thank your staff for their dedication to public health.

Kick off Lab Week with an Earth Day celebration and carry it through the week!

  • Host a Green and Blue Day and ask staff to wear colors representing earth and water.
  • Hold a grounds-keeping afternoon: Invite staff and their families to help with weeding, mulch, planting, etc.
  • Ask if your regional EPA office plans to do something for Earth Day and join them as a partner.
  • Encourage employees to do Meatless Monday or purchase items at a local farmer’s market instead of the supermarket.
  • Encourage employees to Travel Differently on Tuesday carpooling, taking the bus, walking or riding their bike to work.

Check out the WEF-APHL environmental lab webcast: Introduction to the 2017 Method Update Rule

On April 26, 2018 1:00-3:00 pm ET, join Water Environment Federation (WEF) and the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL) for a free webcast that will introduce certified laboratory personnel to the changes found in the 2017 Method Update Rule (MUR). Updates include EPA-promulgated changes to Clean Water Act analytical test procedures for analyzing chemical, physical and biological components of wastewater and other environmental samples. If you work at a state or local public health or environmental laboratory and/or are an APHL member, please email Sarah Wright before registering to receive a code to waive the $40 fee.

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New Lab Matters: 100 Years of Influenza

New Lab Matters: 100 Years of Influenza | www.APHLblog.org

In 1918, no one even knew for sure that influenza was a viral disease; but then, the field of public health laboratory practice was still in its infancy. One hundred years later, public health is in a much better place, but critical preparedness gaps still persist. As our feature article shows, public health laboratories are working to keep their communities safe, through often difficult funding circumstances.

Here are just a few of this issue’s highlights:

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Key words: APHL, public health, laboratory, laboratory testing, public health laboratory, laboratory assessment, Measles, bioinformatics, parvo, PFAS, chemical testing

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Scaling-up viral load testing in Ghana is critical to stopping HIV

Scaling-up viral load testing in Ghana is critical to stopping HIV | www.APHLblog.org

By Robyn Sagal, specialist, Global Health, APHL; Samantha Dittrich, manager, Global Health Security, APHL

When HIV first struck Ghana in 1986, it didn’t adhere to global trends. There was a high prevalence of HIV in females, not males. The spread began in rural areas, not urban centers. Regions with more polygamy had lower rates of HIV, not higher. Over 30 years later, Ghana has made significant headway in slowing new infections, but there continues to be an upward trend that’s deeply concerning.

The top HIV/AIDS experts around the world see substantial evidence that antiretroviral therapy (ART) can be highly successful in suppressing the virus in infected people and decreasing the likelihood of transmission. In fact, evidence shows that when the virus is suppressed to the point of being undetectable, the infected individual has low or no risk of transmitting the virus to others. Given these facts, one key to slowing and eventually halting the transmission of HIV is close monitoring of every infected person’s viral load (testing for the amount of HIV in the blood). Regular and consistent viral load testing can determine whether ART is a success or failure. If ART is successful, viral load testing will indicate viral suppression; if not, as when treatment is inconsistent or the virus has become drug resistant, it will show either no change or an increase in viral load. Viral load testing is critical to determining next steps for individual treatment as well as determining whether the epidemic is progressing or regressing.

In keeping with global HIV response efforts, Ghana is shifting their attention to scaling-up viral load testing per the World Health Organization’s (WHO) “treat all” recommendation. That is, not only should infected and high-risk individuals receive ART, they should also have access to regular viral load testing. Additionally, the country has adopted the UNAIDS 90/90/90 global targets aimed at ensuring that 90% of the people receiving treatment are virally suppressed, with the goal of ending HIV/AIDS by 2030. Scaling-up viral load testing requires increasing laboratory capacity, an undertaking to which Ghana and APHL are committed.

In order to develop the Ghana Laboratory Viral Load Testing Extension plan, APHL has worked closely with CDC-Ghana, the Ghanaian Ministry of Health (MOH), Ghana Health Service (GHS), the National AIDS Control Programme (NACP) and many other partners and stakeholders. This plan outlines a strategy to increase and monitor laboratory capacity for viral load testing. It includes an ambitious, targeted approach that balances achieving global goals of ART treatment monitoring with the limited resources available in the country. The plan accelerates the scale-up of viral load testing by defining national testing targets and a timeframe for achieving them, improving stakeholder collaboration and pooling available resources for better distribution.

In addition, APHL has collaborated with the Centre for Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Services (CERSGIS) to map all 245 ART centers in Ghana. This huge undertaking generated geo-referenced maps for each site, including the latitude and longitude of the ART centers along with other related attributes such as differentiated models of care sites, regional viral load centers, sector viral load centers, functional viral load centers, testing staff capacity, ART equipment at the centers and much more. Visualizing these data at various administrative levels provides national decision makers with a more nuanced understanding of program coverage and priorities for scale-up. By mapping rather than graphing or charting the data, users are better able to recognize important patterns.

As the global health community works to end AIDS by 2030, laboratory testing will continue to be essential for diagnosis, treatment and prevention. APHL’s viral load scale-up activities in Ghana will help those already afflicted by HIV/AIDS to receive effective treatment and  will ultimately decrease the number of new infections in the country.

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New Lab Matters: Biomonitoring

New Lab Matters: Biomonitoring | www.APHLblog.org

In the 1970s, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) showed that gasoline lead was a major exposure for children and adults—a huge finding that would not have been known otherwise. Today NHANES provides a critical baseline for national background levels of exposure to other chemicals, but state efforts to test and document local, possibly elevated exposures to the new “alphabet soup” of PFOAs and PFOSs have been little funded and lagging. As our feature article shows, public health laboratories aim to change that through new technologies and the establishment of the new National Biomonitoring Network.

Here are just a few of this issue’s highlights:

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APHL says thank you

APHL says thank you | www.APHLblog.org

This year, APHL again joined Research!America and other public health partners to celebrate Public Health Thank You Day! Each year on the Monday before Thanksgiving, we take a moment to thank our staff, members, partners and others in the public health community for all the hard work they do to keep us safe and healthy.

A special thanks to all the unsung heroes in public health. I am especially grateful for those combating antibiotic resistance. It’s a difficult task, but we have the right people on it. Your talent and drive do not go unnoticed.

– Eric Ransom, APHL-CDC Antimicrobial Resistance Fellow

I am thankful for APHL members, associates, colleagues and partners who collaborate to promote, monitor and regulate public health.

– Tyler Wolford, senior specialist, Laboratory Response Network, Public Health Preparedness and Response

I am thankful for the school nutrition specialists who visit our school as part of the USDA Extension Program through the University of Maryland. They explain where food comes from and how to make healthy yet inexpensive choices in the foods we eat. Children stay engaged in what they learn by through simple recipes that are sent home each month. They even get my seven year old to try new snacks and vegetables as part of the “Two Bites” club.

– Shari Shea, director, Food Safety

Thank you, public health colleagues and partners, for your tireless dedication to the greater good. Whether you’re on the front lines or behind-the-scenes, the work you do is meaningful and appreciated! Many of you go above and beyond, especially when outbreaks emerge and disasters strike. Your passion, adaptability and commitment inspire me and I am grateful for the opportunity to work and learn with you.

– Robyn Sagal, specialist, Global Health

This year, I am thankful that the public health community reacted to Hurricanes Irma, Harvey and Maria quickly and collaboratively to ensure that the people affected have access to clean water, safe food and other essential resources.

– Sean Page, associate specialist, Public Health Preparedness and Response

It never gets old to say thank you to all of the unsung heroes who work in public health. These individuals ensure that our water is safe to drink; our food supply is safe and our communities are protected. From antibiotic resistance to Zika, public health scientists work tirelessly to protect communities. I salute all public health scientists and thank them for their hard work and dedication to public service.

– Chris Mangal, director, Public Health Preparedness and Response

This year, I am thankful for the collaborative nature of public health. Having just attended a multidisciplinary detection and response meeting, I really appreciate how intertwined different disciplines are from epidemiology to veterinary science, agriculture, clinical sector and laboratories. I am thankful when I see such respect being given from one sector to the other acknowledging that in order for public health to work the way it is supposed to we have to rely on each other.

– Stephanie Chester, manager, Influenza, Infectious Diseases

As we gear up for flu season, I’m thankful for all of the epidemiologists and laboratorians testing and sequencing influenza viruses. Thanks for keeping tabs on this ever-changing virus and keeping us prepared for the next pandemic.

– Elizabeth Toure, senior specialist, Global Health

I am thankful for hardworking colleagues dedicated to improving the health of all.

– Anne Gaynor, manager, HIV, Hepatitis, STD and TB Programs, Infectious Diseases

I’m thankful for all of the dedicated, passionate laboratory scientists who work in APHL’s member laboratories, tirelessly striving day in and day out to assure that our water is clean, our food is healthy, our babies grow up to be the best they can be, our families are safe from emerging infectious diseases and our world is a healthier place!

– Linette Granen, director, Membership & Marketing

I’m thankful that I can travel the world and know my vaccinations will protect me from deadly diseases!

– Madeline Rooney, specialist, Strategic Communications

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Lab Culture Ep. 6: What is the Biosafety Peer Network?

Ep. 6: What is the Biosafety Peer Network? | www.APHLblog.org

Lab Culture Ep. 6: What is the Biosafety Peer Network? | www.APHLblog.org

The Biosafety Peer Network (aka the Visiting Biosafety Official Program) links US local, state, and territorial public health laboratories with US-affiliated Pacific Island laboratories to facilitate mentoring and information sharing among biosafety officials and officers. The exchange is intended to foster a collaborative community, advance  biosafety and biosecurity in laboratories, and ultimately improve public health laboratory biosafety and biosecurity across the US. So what exactly does the Biosafety Peer Network do? Three members of this network — Rebecca Sciulli (Hawaii), Paul Fox (Hawaii) and Anne Marie Santos (Guam) sat down for a conversation about their work.

Photo: Paul Fox (left) and Rebecca Sciulli (center) giving Anne Marie Santos (right) a tour of the Hawaii Laboratories Division facility to showcase their biosafety practices, as part of the Peer Network program.

Links

Biosafety Peer Network Program Application

Laboratory Biosafety & Biosecurity Resources

Biosafety & Biosecurity Training

 

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