It is customary at this time in the Congress Program for final remarks of the new President. I wish to express my very best wishes and acknowledgments to all delegates, dignitaries, practitioners, students, friends, and supporters of IFBLS who have attended and participated in the 29th World Congress. We have just concluded five successful days of meetings, engagements, discussions, and most importantly, what I hope has been a time to renew existing friendships amongst colleagues. I also hope it has been an opportunity to craft new relationships that will continue to develop over the years to come.
I am honoured and deeply humbled to serve as your new President for the next two years. Much has been accomplished over the several decades that IFBLS has been in existence representing the profession of biomedical laboratory science around the world. Many accomplishments have taken place in both "good times and bad" and would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of all of you, members of the IFBLS extended family.
I would especially like to acknowledge Past President Gry Andersen. Thank you, Gry, for your tireless dedication to IFBLS during the past years of service, especially your efforts to shepherd us through periods of acute personnel changes and financial difficulties. Through your leadership IFBLS is now a more secure organization due in part to its much stronger financial position. Please join me in acknowledging her efforts on behalf of IFBLS, giving her a sign of our gratitude and appreciation.
I also at this time wish to acknowledge all who have previously served as Council members and those newly elected members of IFBLS Council. I acknowledge your collective hard work and dedication to the organization. To the newly elected Council, I look forward to working with you during the next two years as we continue to develop IFBLS into all that we know it can be: the best organization to meet the needs and demands of the biomedical laboratory profession world-wide. I would also like to acknowledge at this time the effort of our office administrator Ms Janna Malseed for her tireless efforts on behalf of IFBLS. She is truly the "force behind the scenes" that helps keep our Management and Council team on task and focused. Janna, thank you.
We have just concluded a very successful 29th World Congress. On behalf of the IFBLS family, I wish to express gratitude and appreciation to Mr. Moses Lorre, Local Chairperson, as well as to all members of the Association of Kenyan Medical Laboratory Science Officers (AKLMSO) and the numerous individuals who served on all committees that contributed to the success of this Congress meeting. Having organized several international congresses in the past, I am fully aware that any endeavour of this size and magnitude does come off easily. The hard work and dedication demonstrated by this collective group of professionals was clearly evident though out the course of the Congress. Beginning with all of the many Pre-Congress activities, including the preparation of what was a superb scientific as well as cultural program, through the many events that were planned and executed on and off-site, all were pleasurable and rewarding. I am confident that all attendees will have joyful memories of their time spent here in the Congress Hall, its associated venues, the city of Nairobi, and the country of Kenya. To all, thank you for "a job well done".
For those who do not know me, and my relationship to biomedical laboratory science, I’d like to indulge your patience for a brief capsule summary of my background. I received my basic undergraduate education and clinical training in "medical technology" in the United States back in the early 1970’s. After spending several years as a practicing "medical technologist" I grew eager to learn more about the subject that I found simply "fascinating", haematology. I was "amazed" at what one was able to see when peering through the microscope examining that blood smear. It stimulated me to learn more. I then became aware of a graduate doctorate program in haematology at New York University Medical Centre so I applied. I was accepted and awarded a research fellowship to study haematology – specifically in the area of haematopoiesis and stem cell biology. I gave up my "day job", as a practicing technologist and began a career as a scientist and researcher. I never forgot my "roots" in what then was being called "clinical laboratory science." With my credentials as a research scientist secure, I began to devote more of my time and energy to clinical laboratory science education. Since the mid-1980’s I have maintained an active interest in international biomedical laboratory science education. This still remains the focus of my academic pursuits and interests to this day. I enjoy teaching and educating the next generation of clinical laboratory scientists and other health care professionals no matter what their country of origin may be. So the moral of this story and my message to all students here today: "once you identify your goal, just do it".
As for my involvement with IFBLS, I attended my first IFBLS Congress in 2002 in Orlando, Florida and have attended every Congress meeting since that time. I was elected to Council in 2006 in Seoul, Korea and have since that time I have worked for the benefit of IFBLS.
I am distinctly aware that as I serve as your President for the next two years, we must continue to navigate through challenging times. The world is still feeling the effects of the global recession. Global economies continue to struggle to recover. Many, if not all, of our member countries continue to face economic challenges. Our particular interest is how to manage limited, even shrinking, resources while upholding standards of integrity, educating the next generation of professionals and providing better and more cost effective delivery of our laboratory services.
Please allow me to now share what will be the focus of my attention during the next two years:
(First Goal) I remain dedicated to foster and continue to deliver IFBLS’s Vision and Mission. If you are not familiar with the Vision and Mission and its Objectives, I encourage all to read it on our website, www.ifbls.org
(Second Goal) I will enthusiastically promote our IFBLS Code of Ethics and encourage each of you to rededicate yourself to the code. It is also found on the IFBLS website, and one portion of it reads:
Uphold and maintain the dignity and respect of the profession and strive to maintain a reputation of honesty, integrity and reliability
(Third Goal) I will continue to work cooperatively and collectively promoting IFBLS with other associations around the world who share similar goals in the promotion of health care and human health. Several of these organizations are: WHO, UNESCO, CLSI, and the Global Society for Nutrition, Environment and Health (GSNEH).
(Fourth Goal) I will work with you to increase the number of member associations to the IFBLS family. Areas of focus to increase memberships are: South America, the Middle East, and Sub-Sahara Africa. It is fantastic that several of our former members have now decided to rejoin IFBLS. We enthusiastically welcome them back to the IFBLS family.
(Fifth Goal) I will continue to strive to elevate the image of biomedical laboratory science and scientists throughout the world through being as engaged as possible. I hope to be able to visit many associations – both those that are members and those associations in countries that are not currently members, and have expressed interest in joining IFBLS.
(Sixth Goal) I will work with you to continue to improve the financial status of IFBLS, in particular by identifying ways we can successfully establish a secure funding base through the promotion of sponsorships. We continue to seek ideas from our entire membership. One idea we are trying for the first time at this Congress is a "Silent Auction". Council will determine whether this activity is worthy to continue. Again, we seek your ideas and suggestions to improve the financial status.
(Seventh) We must support our e-Journal. We thank Professor Kao and his colleagues for their tireless efforts in launching the e-Journal. Please recognize that a journal is only successful if the membership or audience for which it was created supports it. Thus, I ask all delegates to read the e-Journal, share it with others, and importantly, contribute to the Journal by submitting your manuscripts – and encourage your colleagues to do so as well. We look forward with great anticipation to receive reports at future Congresses documenting the success of our e-Journal.
(Eighth Goal) We must work cooperatively through our member associations and other professional accreditation organizations to identify issues related to improving and perhaps standardizing curricula for educating the biomedical laboratory scientists of the future.
To maintain our momentum going forward requires a tem effort. Whatever the obstacles and challenges, success depends on our collaborative efforts. I look forward to working with you and thank you for your support and trust in me.
In closing I wish you God speed, safe travels to all whether you are headed home, near or far, or headed on safari.
I would like to close by leaving you with a list called the Thirteen Things to Remember on a Daily Basis.
13 things to remember on a daily basis
Vincent S. Gallicchio
President IFBLS 2010 – 2012