2012 ASCP Annual Meeting Wins Media Jackpot
Monday, December 3, 2012
| Ossama Tawfik, MD, PhD, FASCP
Having one’s research study selected for presentation at the 2012 ASCP Annual Meeting offers enough validation for most researchers. But when the media grabs hold of the story and runs it nationally, that’s akin to winning the lottery for some scholars.
“I was totally shocked by the barrage of news coverage,” says Jay Bullard, MS, MT(ASCP)SI, Senior Research Assistant and Manager of the Microbial Forensics Research Laboratory at Oklahoma State University (OSU) Center for Health Sciences, Tulsa, Okla. He presented his team’s research about the potential impact that germs found on infant pacifiers may have on the health of the young children who use them.
His colleague, principal co-investigator R. Thomas Glass, DDS, PhD, Professor of Forensic Sciences, Pathology and Dental Medicine at OSU, was interviewed by TIME, NBC News, HealthDay, WebMD, National Public Radio’s Boston affiliate, USNews.com, Clinical Lab Products, IVillage, and Yahoo! Health. “We were hoping we could get interest and enthusiasm, but this is a lot more than we anticipated,” Mr. Bullard says.
“I love what I do. Rewards don’t come that often in a way that people are going to say, ‘Wow! This is really interesting research!’ That is the ultimate compliment.”
—Ossama Tawfik, MD, PhD, FASCP
Although the 2012 ASCP Annual Meeting ended a month ago, its impact continues to soar as a result of ongoing publicity and media stories it has generated, especially regarding the scientific research presented. This year’s ASCP Annual Meeting resulted in more than 420 news articles and broadcast segments that reached more than 45 million people—far greater than in previous years.
While ASCP has always promoted its Annual Meetings to the media, this year it added a new strategy that paid off handsomely. In the four months before the Annual Meeting, ASCP’s communications staff reviewed the scientific abstracts submitted for presentation and selected several that appeared to have broad public appeal. The communication staff worked with the abstracts’ researchers to develop news releases to pitch to the trade and consumer media, and discovered that the media also had an exceptionally hungry appetite to cover the latest scientific research that was unveiled.
| Samir Aleryani, PhD, MT(ASCP), CLS (NCA)
A study about health issues that add to the risk of Vitamin D deficiency was covered by HealthDay, MSN.com, Medline Plus, USNews.com, IVillage, and 30 other news and medical websites. An announcement about the study was also translated into Arabic and posted in the Health King Abdulla bin Abdulaziz Encyclopedia for health information, the only and largest encyclopedia for Arabic speakers that reaches 400 million readers.
“It was great just to have ASCP post information about our study on its website,” says Samir Aleryani, PhD, MT(ASCP), Assistant Professor in the Department of Pathology, Microbiology, and Immunology at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tenn. “We were so pleased that ASCP looked into this study because it touches every human being. It’s important to get the message across.”
Another study, which suggested physicians can determine if a woman has an aggressive form of breast cancer by testing the level of a protein in lymph node tumors outside the breast, was covered by Clinical Lab Products, and will appear in an upcoming issue of Human Pathology and as the cover story in the January 2013 issue of MLO.
For Ossama Tawfik, MD, PhD, FASCP, Pathologist at the University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, Kan., the real reward he derives from his work is in knowing that he might make a diagnosis that has a positive impact on a patient’s life.
Of the media attention, he says, “I love what I do. Rewards don’t come that often in a way that people are going to say, ‘Wow! This is really interesting research!’ That is the ultimate compliment.”
For more information about the oral abstracts presented at the 2012 ASCP Annual Meeting, click here.