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New degree launches for high-demand health care workers

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Medical Lab Scientist

As demand continues to increase for medical laboratory scientists around the U.S., AdventHealth University is launching a Bachelor’s degree program in Medical Laboratory Science.

Once fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) and the National Accreditation Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences, courses are expected to begin in fall 2022.

“AdventHealth University is excited to expand its health care education offerings to include the rewarding field of medical lab sciences,” said Sandra Dunbar-Smalley, provost, AdventHealth University. “These aspiring health care workers will be a vital part of our commitment to develop highly skilled individuals who live the healing values of Christ.”

The COVID-19 pandemic and its testing challenges underscored the importance of specially trained lab workers, bringing to light the essential role that clinical laboratory tests play in medical diagnoses, according to a 2017 study published in the Journal of Applied Laboratory Medicine. The boom in genomics is also increasing the need for medical scientists. In addition, AdventHealth continues to expand its services to meet the needs of the region’s population growth, with multiple facilities housing fully functioning laboratories needing medical lab scientists.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of medical scientists is projected to grow 17 percent between 2020 and 2030. Through this new degree program, AdventHealth University is working closely with AdventHealth to stem the shortfall of medical lab scientists throughout the hospital and health system. Students in the lab science program will have access to leading-edge equipment and hands-on clinical training in world-class, whole-person care at AdventHealth’s hospitals. Median annual pay for medical lab scientists, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, is $91,510.

“This field is for those who really love science,” said Julie Hess, vice president of Laboratory Services for AdventHealth’s Central Florida Division. “I love solving medical problems. Our medical lab scientists play such an integral role in diagnosis and healing for our patients and their families.”

Twenty students will be accepted in the first year of the program, with the goal to have a total of 60 students in the program at its full capacity.

A medical lab science degree is geared toward high school students with an interest in science, medicine, or math as well as a mid-career health care worker or lab tech looking to grow professionally. Someone with a biology, chemistry, or molecular background may have potential interest, for example.

In addition to core prerequisite classes, courses in this four-year program include Clinical Microbiology, Immunodiagnostics, and Interpretive and Practical Hematology. As part of graduation, students will have the opportunity to earn certification through the American Society for Clinical Pathology as well as licensure to work in Florida.

The program will create new jobs for five AdventHealth University faculty members, including a newly hired program director.

Application deadlines for the Bachelor of Science in Medical Lab Science program are May 15, Oct. 15 and Jan. 15 each year.

About AdventHealth University (AHU)

AdventHealth University(AHU) is a leader in health care education, transforming the science and practice of whole-person care and developing professionals with uncommon compassion. The University seeks to develop skilled professionals who live the healing values of Christ and works in collaboration with AdventHealth to effectively extend His healing ministry.

AHU offers undergraduate, graduate, and online programs, including Biomedical Sciences, Nursing (BSN), Diagnostic Medical Sonography, Health Sciences, Nurse Anesthesia, Occupational Therapy, Nuclear Medicine, Healthcare Administration, Physician Assistant, Physical Therapy, Radiologic Technology, and Spiritual Care.

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