Jul 31, 2020 | Health Sciences , Grants , Featured

Columbia State MLT Program Receives ASCP Grant

MLT microscope
Columbia State MLT students look through microscopes.

(COLUMBIA, Tenn. July 31, 2020) - - -The Columbia State Community College Medical Laboratory Technology program recently received a $1,000 Laboratory Science Program Director Educational grant from the American Society for Clinical Pathology.

“We are very appreciative of the funding provided by this grant,” said Lisa Harmon, Columbia State MLT program director. “With these types of learning labs, students can be taught a wide range of biotech skills such as DNA extraction, PCR, electrophoresis and restriction digest. Doing labs like this helps the students to visualize and document DNA experiments, as well as demystify key concepts in molecular biology and genetics.” 

Columbia State’s MLT program will use the grant to purchase supplies for the college’s new miniPCR™ (polymerase chain reaction) testing equipment. This equipment will allow MLT to offer learning labs in molecular testing. Molecular-testing is a fast-growing area in the clinical laboratory. This type of testing allows real time reporting of test results that once took days to complete. Older methods are being replaced by molecular testing, which can be easy to use, fast, cost-effective and more standardized. The techniques are changing the way testing is performed in the laboratory in areas such as microbiology. 

“As a result of the grant and project implementation Med Lab students at Columbia State will have opportunities to develop highly-valued competencies on campus in preparation for clinical rotations and future employment,” said Dr. Kae Fleming, Columbia State dean of the Health Sciences Division. “Offering an educational pathway to become a Medical Laboratory Technician is a great example of how Columbia State partners with the healthcare industry to meet the needs of students and the market.”

The MLT program at Columbia State reopened in 2017 in response to a significant shortage of qualified personnel to fill current and projected vacancies throughout the region. The program is accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Science and has grown from 10 graduates in 2018 to 16 graduates in 2020. Program graduates consistently exceed state and national averages for first-attempt credentialing exam success and are readily employed in-field.

The MLT program at Columbia State teaches technical skills necessary to perform routine testing in the areas of hematology, serology, coagulation, clinical microbiology, clinical chemistry, blood banking and urinalysis in clinical laboratories of hospitals, clinics and physician offices under the supervision of a physician and/or medical technologist. MLT graduates fill a critical workforce shortage of medical laboratory technicians, locally and nationally.

The ASCP Foundation offers Laboratory Science Program Director Educational Grants to help laboratory science programs educate and empower future medical laboratory professionals.