UTHCT scientists named to panel on worldwide guidelines for mycobacterial infections; their reference lab re-accredited

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Two scientists at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler have been appointed to the panel responsible for developing worldwide guidelines for hospital and clinical microbiology labs throughout the world.

Richard Wallace, MD, director of UTHSCT’s Mycobacteria/Nocardia Laboratory, and Barbara Brown-Elliott, MS, senior research scientist and supervisor of the lab, have been appointed as advisors to the 12-member international Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI) Subcommittee on Laboratory Diagnosis of Mycobacterial Infections.

Dr. Wallace is professor of medicine and microbiology and chairman of Infectious Diseases at UT Health Science Center, as well as an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Baylor. Brown-Elliott is a medical technologist and is certified as a specialist in microbiology by the American Society for Clinical Pathology.

Both Dr. Wallace and Brown-Elliott currently serve on the CLSI Antimycobacterial Susceptibility Committee, recently prepared the first global laboratory guidelines for susceptibility testing of mycobacteria and related bacteria. This testing determines which organisms are susceptible to various drugs.

In their role as advisors, Dr. Wallace and Brown-Elliott will help develop the first worldwide guidelines for the laboratory diagnosis of mycobacterial infections.

The guidelines will provide information on how to:

The CLSI is an international, interdisciplinary, nonprofit, educational organization that promotes the development and use of voluntary standards and guidelines in the health care community. Members of the CLSI committees are selected based upon their expertise in specified areas of laboratory medicine.

UTHSCT’s Mycobacteria/Nocardia Laboratory recently was re-accredited by the Commission on Laboratory Accreditation of the College of American Pathologists (CAP). The lab underwent an on-site inspection in November 2006.

CAP representatives congratulated Dr. Wallace and Brown-Elliott on the “excellence of the services being provided.” The accreditation is a designation of quality; it shows the lab meets specific standards. Accreditation also may help researchers obtain funding for special studies.

The potentially disease-causing microorganisms studied in this biomedical research lab are mycobacteria and nocardia, which can cause pulmonary and other types of disease. The lab was first accredited in 1990 and has been cited for excellence at each inspection since that date. CAP inspectors evaluate the lab every two years.

CAP is the world’s largest association of pathologists, with almost 16,000 physician members. It is widely considered the leader in laboratory quality assurance.

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