Clinical Laboratory Partners Forum
Overview of the Forum
The Clinical Laboratory Partners Forum (CLPF) is a network led by CDC that connects CDC, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services with organizations that represent a broad spectrum of the clinical laboratory and diagnostic testing communities, including:
- Pharmacies, physicians, urgent care centers
- Diagnostic assay and instrument manufacturers
- Clinical and public health laboratories
- Commercial laboratories
- Laboratory accreditation organizations
- Clinical laboratory standards developers
- Epidemiologists and public health experts
CDC’s goal for the forum is to develop and strengthen relationships among interagency partners and professional organizations representing public health, clinical laboratory, and testing communities throughout the United States. CLPF is the foundational platform through which these organizations can coordinate the exchange of relevant information to work together on issues of mutual interest. Key priority areas include:
- Public health emergency preparedness and response
- Laboratory workforce training and education
- Laboratory quality
- Patient safety/diagnostic excellence
- Laboratory informatics and data exchange
- Laboratory biosafety
The forum meets at least twice a year and has steadily grown since its formation in 2017.
In the November 2022 CLPF meeting, participants built off partner feedback provided in the June 2022 meeting. Participants examined laboratory workforce development challenges and explored the potential benefits of collaboration among partners.
The meeting opened with a formal introduction from Dr. Alexandra Mercante, the Associate Director for Communication in CDC’s Division of Laboratory Systems (DLS). Her remarks were followed by an informative presentation from Dr. Victor De Jesús, chief of the DLS Quality and Safety Systems Branch, on his branch’s recent accomplishments and ongoing initiatives. Next, Dr. Kelly Winter, chief of the DLS Training and Workforce Development Branch, invited participants from each partner organization to share brief insights and stories about their workforce development projects and activities.
In breakout sessions, attendees discussed barriers to laboratory staff recruitment. They stressed the importance of raising awareness about the profession at the early education level. Many highlighted potential gains from casting a wider net to include graduates with non-clinical laboratory scientific backgrounds. Participants also discussed challenges related to employee retention and career development.
At the June 2022 meeting, members joined in person and virtually in a hybrid forum to discuss laboratory workforce challenges and the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the laboratory workforce. In addition, participants discussed outreach to middle and high school students to foster awareness about laboratory professions.
Forum members also emphasized the importance of health equity and equitable access to testing. In addition, everyone committed to applying lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic response as we confront current and future public health emergencies.
Contact the Division of Laboratory Systems about the CLPF
To learn more about this forum, email DLSinquiries@cdc.gov and use “CLPF Inquiry” in the subject line.