Medical Lab Science Program Gets Creative With Online Learning

by Jordana Newman  |   

Medical Laboratory Science students in classroom
Medical Laboratory Science students in classroom prior to remote learning.

Medical Laboratory Science (MLS)  Assistant Professor Grace Leu-Burke recently met with other educators at the largest annual gathering for MLS professionals to discuss the topic of creating case studies that can be done as an interactive on-line instruction for students. Leu-Burke developed the technique while navigating the change from in-person learning to remote learning in Spring 2020, and found she had great success with student engagement by creating “real life” blood bank scenarios to build confidence and increase critical thinking skills, which is essential for the MLS program and particularly transfusion medicine.

Transfusion medicine is an important part of clinical laboratory medicine, as well as the community. Medical laboratory scientists cross-match and prepare blood products (blood, plasma and platelets) for infusion to patients. The ability for hospitals to provide a safe blood product to cancer patients and those individuals who require blood products due to pregnancy, anemia, or auto-immune diseases is reliant on highly skilled medical laboratory scientists, and UAA is the only university-based program in Alaska to provide clinical partners with medical laboratory science graduates.

Another exciting announcement for the MLS program is the virtual UAA MLS/MLT Research Symposium, which was held on February 27, 2021. Four undergraduate research projects were presented, all investigating public health risk associated with environmental exposure to enteric pathogens, antimicrobial resistance bacteria, and parasitic colonization in urban wildlife. The research team is a student-driven organization that evaluates data generated in MEDT A203 Clinical Microbiology and MEDT A303 Advanced Clinical Microbiology. You can view a recording of the symposium here (password: 0?W1&r!L).