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The Laboratory Workforce Shortage Challenge 

During COLA’s 2022 Laboratory Enrichment Forum, a diverse panel of experts shared their strategies for addressing the current laboratory workforce shortage.  This dynamic discussion left many of us wondering what more can be done to build the capacity and resiliency of the laboratory profession well into the future.  An idea was born to convene key stakeholders, who are passionate about addressing the crisis, to explore how we can accelerate and strengthen our efforts by working together. 

Workforce action plannal

2022 Laboratory Enrichment Forum Workforce Shortage Panel
From left to right: Shawn Wierzbowski CEO of Intro, Jennifer Dalton, PMP, LabCorp Site Director, Martina Larkin, student at Central Piedmont Community College, Kathy Nucifora, MPH, MT(ASCP), COO of COLA, Quinn Riggs, student at Central Piedmont Community College; Nattasha Counta, MA, MLS(ASCP)CM, Program Chair of Medical Laboratory Technology, Central Piedmont Community College and Jesse Greenberg, MBA, Talent Acquisition Manager LabCorp

After the Forum, COLA set forth to bring the idea of a gathering into reality by asking other leaders, who have been active on the workforce shortage challenge, if they would like to participate.   The idea to host a Summit was enthusiastically received so we took additional steps.  

A Summit Planning Committee has formed to combine our knowledge about the current state of the laboratory workforce shortage and the efforts underway to address the crisis.  The Planning Committee is now working together to plan the purpose, goals and agenda for the Summit.   

The Summit will be held May 2, 2023 in Fort Worth, Texas.  This event is not a traditional conference but more appropriately seen as a discussion among leaders to develop shared priorities and concrete actions to energize and unify our efforts.  Organizational leaders who have the passion, scope and resources to implement the strategy will be invited to participate in the Summit.  To further the strategy and knowledge post-Summit, the Planning Committee will publish the Summit proceedings, including ways to get involved in the Workforce Action Alliance. 

The Planning Committee is seeking donations from organizations and vendors who wish to invest in developing the laboratory workforce of the future.  If you are interested in making a charitable donation to help underwrite the costs of hosting the Summit or if you would like to learn  more, please email COLA at 

Members of the Planning Committee for Summit

  • Kathy Nucifora, MPH, MT (ASCP), Chair, COO for COLA
  • Edna Garcia, MPH, Senior Director, Scientific Engagement & Research, ASCP
  • Mark Birenbaum, Ph.D., Administrator,  NILA & AAB
  • Jim Flanigan, CAE, EVP, ASCLS
  • Kelly Winter, Ph.D. Chief of Training & Workforce Development Branch, CDC
  • Christine Bean, Ph.D., MBA, MT(ASCP), Chief Learning Officer, APHL
  • Aubrey MJ Wanner, CEO & Executive Director for NSH 
  • Amy L. Leber, Ph.D., D(ABMN), Director, Clinical Microbiology and Immunoserology Nationwide Children's Hospital, representing ASM

COLA will also host its annual Laboratory Enrichment Forum May 3-4, 2023. All-day, both days at The Worthington Renaissance Hotel Fort Worth, Texas.