Last weekend the Laboratory Medicine Program (LMP) opened the doors of Toronto General Hospital to offer a great continuing education experience to MLTs, MLAs, and laboratory medicine students from around the province.
It was the 9th Annual Laboratory Medicine Conference, and the event, which has become an annual tradition for LMP, had nearly 100 attendees – including speakers and volunteers.
Each year LMP’s Professional Development Committee plans the event and attracts insightful speakers to present details and findings from their research, their experiences, and their profession. This year we had nine speakers join us for the day and between all of them we covered a lot of important subjects that affect the future of laboratory medicine.
Our Speakers included:
Opening Talk – “Ebola Hemorrhagic Disease and Clinical Laboratory Testing” – Chris Cursio, Manager, Point-of-Care Testing, LMP, and Ade Adenowo-Akpan, Training Coordinator, Health and Safety, UHN –> Given the concern of the Ebola virus, especially earlier this year, Chris and Ade’s talk was able to provided a high profile look at managing viral hemorrhagic diseases (VHF) in a hospital laboratory. This included specific protocols where medical laboratory technologists use point-of-care instruments to provide clinical testing.
Keynote Talk – “The Question of Competence: Health Professionals in the 21st Century” – Dr. Brian Hodges, Executive Vice-President of Education, UHN –> As the recent recipient of the 2015 Abraham Flexner Award for Distinguished Service to Medical Education, and a key figure in the proposed Merger of the University Health Network and the Michener Institute, UHN’s Executive Vice-President of Education is in high demand. His talk on evolving education was captivating for our audience and drew interesting comparisons from our history and the once accepted theory of a flat earth.
“Diagnosis of Urological Disorders with Protein Biomarkers” – Dr. Andrei Drabovich, Staff Scientist, UHN –> With a focus on prostate cancer and male infertility, Dr. Drabovich gave us a look at diagnostics, biomarkers, proteomics, and mass spectrometry. He closed with the future of prostate cancer diagnostics and a sprinkled throughout the presentation was a little “Movember” mustache humor.
“The Future of Medicine is Data-driven. A Fresh Look at Cancer Treatment and Prevention; From Bioinformatics to Patients” – Dr. Igor Jurisica, Senior Scientist, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre –> Whether it’s a Fitbit, a Jawbone, an Apple watch, or any of the other fitness bands, the data we can generate through our daily activities shares a lot. Dr. Jurisica presented a very interesting and data rich look at the science of exercising and how it relates to cancer treatment and prevention.
“Plumbing the Depths: Hemovigilance Insights from a Hefty Transfusion Laboratory” – Farzana Tasmin, Medical Laboratory Technologist, LMP, and Dr. Christine Cserti, Transfusion Medicine Specialist, LMP –> This dual presenter talk looked at the importance of blood transfusion in the development of personalized medicine, and also gave perspective on how many patients rely on blood transfusions during their hospital visit. Additionally, Dr. Cserti and Farzana included findings from a recent study compiling four years of UHN transfusion data that looked at patient transfusion reactions.
“Next Generation Diagnostics for Personalized Cancer Medicine” – Dr. Tracy Stockley, Associate Director, Genome Diagnostics, LMP –> With the amount of attention personalized cancer medicine has attracted in recent years, it’s no surprise Dr. Stockley’s talk drew a lot of attention at the LMP Conference. Subjects included, the cancer genome, next generation sequencing, and two UHN/LMP clinical studies: Intergrated Molecular Profiling in Advanced Cancers Trial (IMPACT), and Advanced Genomics in Leukemia (AGILE).
Closing Talk – “Of Privacy, Property and Protection of Persons – Legal and Ethical Conundrums in the handling of Human Tissue Samples” – Dr. Carol Cheung, Pathologist and Medical Director of TGH IHC Lab, LMP –> As a genitourinary pathologist and law degree graduate from the University of Toronto, Dr. Cheung’s talk gave an interesting look at the legal and ethical issues that affect tissue ownership. Through simple analogies she broke down complex “conundrums” and gave perspective on why certain protocols and regulations exist for tissue samples.
Overall it was an amazing day, and everyone was able to walk away more informed, and better equipped to handle a new year in Laboratory Medicine. Additionally, all attendees received great LMP branded tote bags and an LMP embossed professional portfolio – courtesy of LMP dermatopathologist, Dr. Danny Ghazarian.
Thank you to all our speakers, all our guests, and all our sponsors for making LMP’s 9th Annual Laboratory Medicine Conference possible. We’re already looking forward to next year!
Sponsoring the day was: Roche Diagnostics, Beckman Coulter, Abbott Canada, Ontario Society of Medical Technologists – and LMP’s own Dr. Danny Ghazarian.