Bethesda, MD, April 22, 2014: The Association for Molecular Pathology (AMP) released a report today in The Journal of Molecular Diagnostics on recommendations for a molecular diagnostics curriculum at both the baccalaureate and master's levels of education. The report was prepared by the Medical Laboratory Scientist (MLS) Curriculum Task Force of the AMP Training and Education Committee. "Our goal was to address the critical need of educating future medical laboratory scientists appropriately in order to manage the rapidly growing and changing realm of molecular diagnostic testing," said Sara Taylor, PhD, Task Force Co-Chair and a first author on the paper.
The challenge, as stated in the report, is to balance the requirements of accreditation, certification, and the needs of the job market. To address that challenge, the recommendations are based on input from three key elements: 1) the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS) guidelines for accreditation of molecular diagnostics programs; 2) guidelines of several key certifying bodies for clinical laboratory scientists; and, 3) feedback from current employers of molecular diagnostics scientists via a survey of AMP members.
In addition, the curriculum recommendations are directed towards three major academic levels of laboratory scientists who perform molecular diagnostic testing - the generalist MLS/CLS, and both the bachelors and masters-level lab scientists with specialized molecular training.
AMP concludes that up-and-coming molecular diagnostic laboratory scientists should complete an NAACLS accredited training program, then become certified or licensed in their state of employment. The specific curriculum recommendations, if adopted, will prepare tomorrow's medical laboratory scientists for the reality that molecular diagnostics are an integral and growing part of the clinical diagnostic laboratory.
"As the organization that is home to all molecular diagnostic professionals, AMP has a responsibility to help guide the training for future molecular technologists," said Elaine Lyon, PhD, AMP President. "The demand for specially-trained scientists who are capable of performing high complexity testing is growing. The recommendations set forth by the MLS Task Force will help to support the rapid advances in genomic technology and techniques."
The full text of today's article is available online at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jmoldx.2014.02.003. Additional curriculum recommendations for fellows and residents are currently being developed by AMP and will be released in the coming months.
The Association for Molecular Pathology (AMP) was founded in 1994 to provide structure and leadership to what was, at the time, the newly-emerging field of molecular diagnostics. Through the efforts of its Board of Directors, Committees, Working Groups, and members, AMP has established itself as the primary resource for expertise, education, and collaboration on what is now one of the fastest growing fields in science. AMP members influence policy and regulation on the national and international levels; ultimately serving to advance innovation in the field and protect patient access to high quality, appropriate testing.
AMP's 2,000+ members include individuals from academic and community medical centers, government, and industry; including, basic and translational scientists, pathologist and doctoral scientist laboratory directors, medical technologists, and trainees. AMP members span the globe with members in more than 45 countries and a growing number of AMP International Affiliate Organizations. The number of AMP members is growing rapidly; they are united by the goal of advancing the science and implementation of molecular pathology. For more information, please visit http://www.amp.org.
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