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Clinical Chemist Thrives on Curiosity, Lifelong Learning, and Involvement with ASCP

Monday, April 16, 2012

Ever since high school, clinical chemist Deanna Franke, PhD, MT(ASCP), DABCC, has loved science coupled with an overwhelming curiosity about how the body works. Although she was not quite sure where those interests would take her professionally, the mentoring she received from her college adviser and a trusted graduate school instructor during her clinical laboratory science training helped crystallize her career path. Even now, Dr. Franke continues to take advantage of continuing education opportunities while mentoring other professionals in laboratory medicine.

“As a technical director in the lab, my med tech experience gave me a certain amount of `street credibility' with the medical laboratory scientists I interface with each day. ... As a clinical consultant interfacing with physicians, I love being a ‘doctor's doctor.’”
—Deanna Franke, PhD, MT(ASCP), DABCC
An ASCP member for 11 years, she holds separate undergraduate degrees in microbiology and clinical laboratory science from Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, and a master's and doctorate degree in microbiology and immunology from the University of Louisville (U of L), Louisville, Ky. Her postdoctoral training in clinical chemistry and toxicology was also completed at U of L.

“As a technical director in the lab, my med tech experience gave me a certain amount of `street credibility' with the medical laboratory scientists I interface with each day,” she said. “I know what it is like to work at the bench, and I am able to connect with them and be a resource. As a clinical consultant interfacing with physicians, I love being a ‘doctor's doctor.’ I am a resource to physicians regarding laboratory testing and help them pick the right test at the right time to appropriately manage their patients.”

Dr. Franke describes part of her responsibilities as having a “30,000 foot view” of laboratory operations to see how everything fits together. Altogether her medical laboratory scientist experience, the training accrued during her post-graduate education, and the valuable professional development and networking opportunities she found through her ASCP membership have coalesced to provide her with the right mix of skills for her role at Nebraska LabLinc.

“Obtaining my PhD taught me how to find the right resources, think differently, and approach a problem in many different ways, which are valuable skills in the rapidly changing field of health care,” Dr. Franke said.

Currently, Dr. Franke is the Clinical Laboratory Director of Nebraska LabLinc, which provides pathology medical services to hospitals and physician offices in Lincoln, Neb., and surrounding areas, where she directs and manages clinical laboratory operations. Just a month into her current job, she will ultimately be responsible for all facets of Nebraska LabLinc's clinical lab performance, including quality, safety, budgeting, policy and procedures, and quality improvement activities.

Prior to her job in Nebraska, Dr. Franke was a Technical Director of Core Laboratory and Toxicology with Pathology Consultants of South Broward and Memorial Healthcare System in Hollywood, Fla. A frequent lecturer and author, Dr. Franke’s involvement in multiple professional organizations, particularly ASCP, has helped her to keep pace with changes in her profession.

“ASCP provides a great platform for education and networking,” she said. “Such involvement is very crucial to the success of labs in general. The organization is always committed to what is going on at the bench level.”


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