Trailblazer in Laboratory Medicine Headlines Barbara Castleberry Lecture
Monday, May 13, 2013
For more than 40 years, Patricia Ellinger, MSEd, MASCP, MLS(ASCP)CMSSBCM, has forged new pathways in the education and certification of medical laboratory professionals and elevated the stature of the profession. Ms. Ellinger, a nationally recognized medical laboratory leader, will deliver the Barbara Castleberry Lecture for Laboratory Professionals at ASCP 2013 Chicago, from 3 to 3:50 p.m. Sept. 20, at the Hyatt Regency Chicago.
“The ASCP 2013 Chicago theme, ‘Beyond the Lab,’ signifies to me that as laboratory professionals, we have the opportunity and responsibility to get outside our comfort zone and share our talents in our communities, as well as in underserved countries.”
—Patricia Ellinger, MSEd, MASCP, MLS(ASC)CMSSBCM
“Pat’s commitment to preparing today’s students to become the leaders of tomorrow’s laboratories embodies ASCP’s core value of knowledge and education for our members,” says Lynnette Chakkaphak, MS, MT(ASCP), a member of the ASCP Board of Directors and Chair of the Commission on Membership.
Service to the community is one message Ms. Ellinger will emphasize during her talk. Her parents instilled this value in her from childhood. “The ASCP 2013 Chicago theme, ‘Beyond the Lab,’ signifies to me that as laboratory professionals, we have the opportunity and responsibility to get outside our comfort zone and share our talents in our communities, as well as in underserved countries,” Ms. Ellinger says.
Her commitment to service is exemplified in all that she has done throughout her career—as an educator, as a supervisor of a major blood bank laboratory; and as a 35-year ASCP volunteer, including as Chair of the ASCP Associate Members Section (now the Laboratory Professionals Council), as Chair of the ASCP Board of Certification (BOC), member of ASCP BOC certification exam committees, and member of the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences Board.
Ms. Ellinger has worked tirelessly to educate students and younger colleagues and help them advance their careers. Her semi-retirement a decade ago turned into full-time work developing an innovative new program—the Medical Laboratory Technician-to-Medical Laboratory Scientist degree at St. Cloud State University, St. Cloud, Minn.—which helps to address the workforce shortage.
One of her mentors, Barbara Castleberry, PhD, MASCP, MT(ASCP), for whom the lecture is named, inspired her as an educator and ASCP volunteer. Likewise, Ms. Ellinger strongly encourages younger laboratory professionals to take an active role in professional societies.
Ms. Ellinger enjoys blazing new trails with her sled dogs that have retired from racing the Iditarod, a 1,100 mile sled dog race across Alaska.
“Societies such as ASCP provide advocacy and are important sources of information in the profession,” she explains. “The networking that I have experienced through ASCP is phenomenal. Whenever I have a question, 10 colleagues pop into my mind who live in different parts of the country and who can provide answers.”
Through ASCP’s participation in the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief initiative, she has traveled to sub-Saharan Africa eight times as a consultant, working in laboratories and universities to improve the quality of laboratory medicine. Inspired by these experiences, Ms. Ellinger encourages laboratory professionals to participate in global outreach.
Meanwhile, she continues to blaze other trails closer to home. Ms. Ellinger and her husband enjoy recreational sledding with their adopted sled dogs that have retired from racing in the Iditarod, a 1,100-mile sled dog race across Alaska.
“Our dogs are real athletes that get us outdoors two to three times a day to walk a mile each time,” she says.