An Interview with Rosetta Belcastro

RosettaRecently, Rosetta Belcastro joined the Laboratory Medicine Program team (LMP) as the new Manager for Clinical Research and Client Services. Her many roles will include helping drive strategy around how other programs request and access LMP services and diagnostic tissue, as well as working with Dr. Suzanne Kamel-Reid as a project manager for a grant-funded molecular diagnostics project.

We sat down with Rosetta to learn more about her background in lab medicine, her new roles and responsibilities in LMP and where she sees her portfolio growing in the future.

How did your career in laboratory medicine get started?

I completed my undergraduate program in Biology and Physical Anthropology, an area of science that has always interested me. When I graduated I started working at The Hospital for Sick Children as a Lab Technologist and spent nearly 15 years working at the bench. Over the years my role evolved from Technologist to Research Coordinator and eventually Manager.

I enjoyed research because the information obtained from experiments provided an excellent learning opportunity.  I appreciated the autonomy that came with my role as Manager as I was always motivated to find new ways in which I could contribute to my work environment.  I spent the majority of my years at Sick Kids working in Dr. A. Keith Tanswell’s Research Laboratory.

While working, I returned back to school and earned my Certificate in Human Resource Management and then my Masters in Industrial Relations and Human Resources with a focus on Labor Relations and Employment Law.

What led you to this role in LMP?

The clinical labs at UHN have a great reputation and their working environment encourages a positive work culture. If the opportunity ever presented itself, I knew it was the place I eventually would want to be a part of.

That opportunity finally presented itself when I came across the posting at LMP and the timing couldn’t have been better.  Dr. Tanswell now holds Emeritus Status at Sick Kids and his lab was preparing to close down as we were submitting the remaining outstanding papers to scientific journals for publication. This was a great opportunity to use all of my skills, including my experience on the bench, running a lab, education and my soft skills. I took a chance, applied, went through a series of interviews and now here I am.

What is your role here in LMP?

My role is unique because I’ll be split 50/50 between the clinical side of the house here in LMP and working as a project manager for Dr. Kamel-Reid on a grant-funded molecular diagnostics project. Many of my responsibilities in LMP include the Call Centre and our CAPCR program.  In areas such as the CAPCR program, we have a system that works, but we need to see how we can make improvements in order to make it more efficient. It can be a complex process, but what keeps driving us all forward is improving overall patient care.

What do you see as some of the big challenges and opportunities ahead?

One of the biggest challenges is that there are a lot of moving and evolving pieces to both aspects of my role. I made a point of quickly integrating myself with the managers, front line staff and medical staff in order to learn as much as I can.  I haven’t even scratched the surface. The workload and expectations can be intense but I’m happy to dive right in.

It didn’t take long to see how driven and dedicated the LMP team is. They are knowledgeable and experts in their fields. The directors, managers and staff are encouraging and supportive and I can see why UHN has a formidable reputation of excellence!

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