February 5, 2021 OneLab Kickoff Meeting – Transcript and Audio
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Date of session: 02/05/2021
ZAK BEARD: Hey, guys. We’re going to give it a couple minutes just so everyone can join and deal with all the Zoom connection things. So hang tight. We’ll start shortly. Thanks. So I still see people trickling in. So maybe one or two more minutes, and we’ll get started. Thanks.
OK, so I think most people have joined by now. So thanks for joining us today. I’m really excited. My name is Zak Beard. Really excited to have you here for the OneLab kickoff meeting.
I’m going to share the agenda for today and let you know how things are going to go. Quick overview, so we’re going to start with an intro of the Division of Laboratory Systems, then jump into a review of OneLab, where we’re going to look at membership stats and benefits, and discuss the training needs assessment that’s launching today, and then spend some time answering your questions at the end. Couple housekeeping items real quick before we get started. So you’ve probably got this notification when you started. But the session is being recorded. So if you don’t want to be recorded, please disconnect now.
Also, for closed captioning, I’m going to throw the link for captions in the chat box momentarily. So if you need captions, you can access those there. Speaking of chat box, by the way, so we’re not going to be using the chat box per to talk back and forth. Instead, you’ll see, at the bottom of your screen, the Q&A function box. So the Q&A box is where we’re going to be answering questions throughout.
So if things are coming up throughout, put your question in there. And we’re going to answer them at the very end. If we can’t get to your question at the very end, you can email us. So it’s email@example.com. I think Senia, who is going to be speaking later today, will also emphasize this, but please do email us because we really do want to hear from you. And we’re going to respond. So don’t be afraid to just send us a note.
OK, so now we have all this behind us. I’m going to welcome Ren Salerno. He’s the director of the Division of Laboratory Systems here at CDC. He’ll be providing opening remarks, a brief overview of the Division of Laboratory Systems. So, Ren, if you want to come on board. Thanks.
REN SALERNO: All right, thank you very much, Zak. Really appreciate it. And thanks to all of you who’ve joined us this afternoon or, if you’re on the West Coast, this morning for this kickoff of our OneLab initiative. We’re incredibly excited about this initiative. And we are really pleased that all of you have expressed interest in it and have dedicated some time today to learn more about it.
We’ve been thinking about this initiative for a number of years because our division at CDC really tries very hard to work across the public health laboratory community and the clinical laboratory community. And as it turned out, the pandemic really emphasized the importance of building those linkages across those two communities and really to try to help build a more unified clinical laboratory community that spreads across health care and public health. And so we believe that this initiative, which is focused on training needs and education and workforce development, can help to continue building those bridges between those communities and really work towards developing a more unified laboratory system in the United States. Next slide, please.
So I’m just going to spend a couple of minutes telling you a little bit about our division at CDC if you’re not already familiar with it. We are the laboratory group at CDC that is intentionally externally facing. Our responsibility is to support the entire clinical laboratory community across the United States as well as internationally where appropriate.
We focus on advancing laboratory science and practice, specifically for clinical care, public health, as well as health equity. We aim to improve public health patient outcomes and health equity by advancing clinical and public health laboratory quality and safety, data and repository science, as well as workforce competency. And we think of those technical elements as how we define laboratory systems. Next slide, please.
So these are our four goal areas, which really further clarify what we mean when we say a laboratory system. The laboratory system is, from our perspective, really the foundational elements of any clinical laboratory, whether it’s a small community hospital laboratory, a large academic clinical laboratory, or a public health laboratory, or a large commercial laboratory. All clinical facilities, laboratories need these foundational systems elements.
And so hopefully, for those of you from the laboratory community will resonate with all of these goals for our division. Quality laboratory science, essentially, do patients have the ability to rely on our test results as accurate as possible, which depends on having a highly competent laboratory workforce. How can we from CDC help strengthen that workforce and support clinical and public health lab practice?
We also have a responsibility at CDC, as the last year has emphasized over and over, to help the clinical laboratory community be safe and prepared for public health emergencies, especially those emergencies that cross boundaries between clinical and public health. And finally, and again, this has also showed itself to be extremely important and extremely challenging this past year is the ability for all of us to have accessible and usable laboratory data and to improve the access and use of that laboratory data for response, surveillance, as well as patient care, and to essentially elevate the role of the clinical laboratory in our health care system, as well as our public health system. Next slide, please.
Our laboratory community is growing all the time. And this year, it’s grown exponentially. About a year ago, there were– let’s see. I’m trying to remember the exact number– about 260,000 CLIA-certified laboratories in the US. And we’ve added almost 30,000 CLIA-certified facilities in the United States over the past year. That’s an unprecedented increase in the number of CLIA-certified facilities in the United States for a single year.
The majority of that increase is for certificate of waiver laboratories or laboratories or facilities who are conducting point-of-care testing, which is, I’m sure, is not surprising for most of you. But our community is growing very fast. We’re bringing in lots of new people into our community and perhaps people who’ve never done testing before.
And so all of us in this community have an obligation to help that community grow but grow with quality, with safety, and with preparedness and competency in mind. Add one more click there. And so as we estimate– this is an estimate. We don’t really have firm numbers on this– but anywhere around 800,000 laboratory personnel in the United States at this point. And that number is probably also growing as well. Next slide, please.
So our division works hard to try to help strengthen the laboratory workforce across the country. We develop lots and lots of training courses. And if you’re not familiar with our training courses per se, please just look up CDC laboratory training on Google or any other search engine. And you should come very quickly to our website. I think, if you go cdc.gov/labtraining, I think you’ll get there as well.
We also have a responsibility in our division to provide timely technical guidance. The majority, not all of it, but the majority of the laboratory guidance for the CDC COVID-19 website is developed with experts in our division. And so we have that responsibility as well.
And we push out many workforce development programs, such as fellowship programs, leadership programs, as well as other unique targeted opportunities to help enhance the quality of the laboratory workforce across the country. And partnerships, we cannot do any of these things alone. We depend heavily on partnerships across the laboratory community space. These are just four of our important partners, but we have many, many others as well who work with us specifically to help enhance the clinical laboratory workforce in the US.
And I believe I now get to turn this presentation over to Senia Wilkins, who is the chief of our Training and Workforce Development Branch and really the chief architect of the OneLab initiative. Senia.
SENIA WILKINS: Thanks, Ren. So, hey, everybody. As Ren said, I’m Senia Wilkins. I just go by Senia. So you’ll see that in correspondence. You may also see my maiden name Espinoza. I am all of the above. All those names belong to me. And Kelly Winter, who is our deputy chief as Ren mentioned in our Training and Workforce Development Branch, so you’ll be hearing from her in a little bit.
Again, we’re so excited that you are all here. I want to take a moment and get down a little bit deeper into why OneLab, what is the OneLab network, who is supposed to join, what are the plans, both in the immediate and in the future, just to make sure that we’re starting off all from the same page. Also, bear with us. This is our kick-off meeting.
It’s going to be a lot of information coming at you. And it’s going to be pretty one way. We do hope that future meetings are more interactive and more two-way conversation is occurring. So it won’t always be like this.
But we do want to break it up a little bit. So to do that, why don’t we start? Hopefully everybody’s already familiar with polling functions in Zoom. If not, it should pop up. But let’s just get an idea, where is everybody joining us from today?
All right, you should see the question come up. It says, what region are you joining us from today? All you do is just click your selection. And that’s it. It’ll take care of the rest.
ZAK BEARD: Yes. And I see about half have responded. So good. Maybe five or 10 more seconds, and we’ll close it.
SENIA WILKINS: OK, great.
ZAK BEARD: OK.
SENIA WILKINS: All right, so it looks like we’re all over, from all over. So that’s great. But strong representation from the Midwest. I like it. So thank you all for coming today and representing your region.
We tried to pick a time that accommodated most time zones. But it’s never perfect. So thank you for making the time. All right, we’ll have a couple of more polling questions. So that hopefully for those of you that are new to that function gives you an idea of how those work.
So, Zak, let’s go ahead and go to the next slide. So to start off, give you a little bit of context of why OneLab? How did this come about? Ren mentioned our target audiences. And this has been an idea in the making for several years. But COVID really put an even brighter spotlight on the need.
So what you see here is we monitor monthly registration for our training courses ongoing throughout the years. And so what you see here is we pulled registration data on all of our e-learning courses that currently live on our learning management system, which Ren mentioned is called CDC train. I’ll get into that a little bit more later as well.
This chart compares the number of monthly registrations for the year before the COVID-19 response. And it compares it to the year of the response, which is the line in green. And as you can see, there’s been two substantial peaks in registration since activating for the COVID-19 response, which for our agency was January 20th where we formally activated.
And then in the first peak was during the first few months of the response and then another one in late summer, which corresponds with our most popular course, packing and shipping, that was released. A significant update was released during that time. So although we do typically see seasonal bumps in registrations throughout every year, the peaks during the COVID-19 response are much higher.
And so that’s important for a couple reasons. So let’s go to the next slide, please. To look at this a different way, let’s see if it– there we go. So to look at this a different way, we compared our course registrations for COVID-19 relevant courses to our other courses since the start of the emergency response. So what does that mean? How are those courses different?
So over the last year, DLS has released about 49 trainings. And right now, there’s currently 35 active on CDC train. You can access those on our website, which I’ll provide all these links to you in a little bit.
But 14 of those courses are what we are referring to as they’re COVID-19 relevant. Meaning that the knowledge and content in those courses are either broadly related to emergency preparedness and response, such as drafting a continuing operations plan, or foundational in nature, such as molecular biology or packing and shipping or PPE that is needed for every emergency response. So between January and May of 2020, 70% of all the registrations have been for those 14 COVID-19 related response.
And so that’s important for a couple reasons. Because during this time, we weren’t sure. There were so many challenges going on that we were experiencing both personally and professionally and in our work setting. And it was just there was so much going on. We weren’t sure if people were really still wanting to take training, if they had the time to sit down and access a training course or review a job aid.
And this data shows that not only were they still interested, they’re interested at an exponential amount than before. And so that really validated for us. It’s really good for us to know. And it validated that we need to continue to identify education and training needs of our target audiences. And we need to address those by developing resources that are relevant and easy to access.
And there’s different ways we can do that. We are in an emergency response. We all are processing information differently. And so when I say training or education, I’m not referring to your standard 45-minute e-learning course that you log into. That can look in several different ways.
So we’ll talk more about that too. And this is why I’m so excited about this network because you all will be part of that ongoing conversation as well. So again, take home point, we can’t lose sight. We’re in an emergency response. We have a lot of priorities going on, a lot of challenges that we’re trying to address. But we can’t lose sight of the education and training needs of our audiences either.
So that brings me to OneLab. So next slide. So our long-term goal with the OneLab initiative is, again, as Ren said, we want to establish a sustainable learning community of clinical laboratories, public health laboratories, and CDC to collectively support rapid, large-scale emergency responses.
So what does that mean? That means anybody not necessarily with a training background, but anybody who has a role or responsibility in creating or delivery service, education and training services or resources to clinical laboratory audiences, this network is for you. If you’re not quite sure, if you’re maybe not delivering them just yet but you’re thinking about it or maybe you’ve done it here and there, this network is for you. If you’re thinking of ways of how to do that better or you’re just not sure what that looks like or maybe education and training is more self-driven at your organization, this network is for you.
So it doesn’t necessarily mean, again, I do not have a traditional training in laboratory science. My training is in capacity building. However, our target audiences in DLS are public health and clinical laboratory professionals and the laboratory community at large. And so we work to make sure that workforce and training development programs are created specific to these audiences and reach these audiences in a meaningful way. So hopefully that helps clear up really what’s the long-term goal and who is this network for.
So this lens on learning is going to keep coming up. So to look at that in a more visual way, we have this just shows the depictions that emphasizes we want to strengthen networks. We understand there’s existing networks. We want to leverage those.
In some cases, we want to strengthen them. In other cases, we want to connect with them. And so that’s what we’re here to do. We really want to strengthen that interconnectedness among all of us, so that we’re approaching education and training needs particularly during responses or emergencies in a consistent way.
OK, next slide. Now, OneLab, we want to go big with OneLab. But of course, we are currently still in an emergency response, very much so. And so we need to work quickly. And so we have some short-term objectives.
So number one, part of this initiative, we want to stand up a OneLab collaborative network. So congratulations and welcome because you have helped us achieve that first objective today. We’re kicking this off. And we will be part of discussions to keep going with these meetings and our activities with the network as well.
After standing up the network, we are going to deploy a rapid needs assessment. And after this meeting, you’ll immediately have access to these needs assessments. We want to do this needs assessment questionnaire. We want to hear from you all, our boots, eyes, and ears on the ground on, what are the education and training needs that our laboratory professionals are experiencing?
Those needs will then be prioritized. And we fully expect to quickly stand up either some new training resources or education resources. Or you’ll get some existing ones and either expand upon them or modify them, depending on what the need is. And again, that can look like several different ways.
That can be a reference card that helps folks remember what new guidance tips need to be applied to their work. Or it could be a job aid. Or it could look like several different ways. It doesn’t need to be a traditional e-learning course. In fact, we may not have the time to do traditional e-learning courses with the rapid timelines that we’re working with, short timelines we’re working with.
Once those resources are developed, we’re going to do wide-scale dissemination based on Ren’s slide. The community is rich. The community is large. And it’s diverse.
And so we want to make sure that we provide a one-stop shop that’s customized for clinical laboratory professionals that focuses on just COVID-19 resources. And so we’re working on developing that customized channel, that customized platform. So hopefully in the next couple of weeks, those details will become a bit more clear for us. And we’ll be able to share that information with you as well. And then going back to the long-term vision, of course, we want to continue to foster an ongoing learning community even beyond the COVID-19 pandemic response. OK, next slide.
So I’ve talked about this a little bit already. So the initial call for membership are representatives with responsibility for education and training within clinical laboratory professional organizations, manufacturers, large commercial laboratories, and large systems. This list is not exhaustive.
Again, if you are an individual or you work with someone that has the responsibility of providing, developing, connecting clinical laboratory professionals with education and training resources, please make sure you share this information with them and they join us. We also understand that some organizations are bigger than others. And so some feedback we’ve gotten is, OK, well, I have 50 people in my organization that’s interested. Can they all join?
At that point, I think we’d want to have a conversation with the right folks to determine, what does it make sense to represent your organization in this network? Because we want it to maintain functional. We want to maximize engagement and interactivity. And so that might look a little bit different depending on the size of your organization or the structure of your organization. So just keep that in mind as well.
All right, next, what I do want to emphasize with the membership because there’s been a little bit of confusion and some feedback we’ve gotten to is that I just want to clarify CDC has many channels right now. There’s a lot of information being offered to our partners and our members of the public. In this network specifically, we’re really focusing on education and training needs. We’re focusing on that lens. If you’re interested in receiving information on what’s the latest with vaccine dissemination or what is the epi data in the current pandemic, that’s not the information that we’ll be discussing here. But there are certainly other channels that we can connect you with us if that is of interest.
OK, so what are the benefits for members? So as members, you will have access to opportunities to provide CDC, especially your team here, direct feedback with what are the most pressing and urgent training needs that we need to collectively address. You will have access to newly developed and disseminated education and training resources, which you can then share with your organizations and your target audiences as well.
And again, those will be in direct response to a rapid needs assessment that we will deploy today. You will also have access to existing CDC resources, which I’m going to tell you all about. I’m always very excited to teach and connect people about our resources. Because what we find is sometimes people don’t know we exist, and we’re this hidden little gem where we have these free resources available to the clinical laboratory community and public health laboratory community.
And so I’m excited to share all those resources with you today. You will also have access to regular and ongoing communication and also a facilitated space in which to exchange lessons learned and better or best practices with each other, again, with that lens of training and workforce development. OK, next slide.
OK, so we talked about the short-term objectives, the long-term vision. How are we going to get there, right? The network sounds great. And we have these activities planned. But really, we need to start putting forward some strategic goals. And so here’s what you have here today.
And these dovetail nicely into our overall division workforce development strategy. So we’re going. Ultimately, we want to support workforce competency to address current and emerging needs. We want to strengthen the knowledge base with workforce research and review. So we found and other projects and research that we’ve been involved with there’s a lot of data gaps. And so we want to try to help address some of those gaps.
We also want to strengthen, again, recurring theme here, the interconnection between clinical and public health laboratory workforces. So fortifying that bridge and fortifying it specifically to building a common approach to addressing education and training needs. OK, next slide.
And so here is just a visual of it kind of summarizes everything I’ve said. The network is a springboard to having this, to making all of this happen. And really, the heart of OneLab is to provide clinical laboratory resources and trainings to be better prepared and adaptable for emergency responses and especially right now the COVID-19 pandemic. However, while that’s our immediate lens, the COVID-19 pandemic, the long-lasting impact of CDC OneLab will be a community where laboratory training professionals can exchange ideas. And we see free education and training resources to prepare for future public health emergencies as well.
OK, and with that, hopefully that gives you good, solid understanding of the network and what we’re hoping to do in the short term and in the long term. I’m going to hand it over to Kelly. And she’s going to talk about who has signed up so far, which is, again, very exciting.
KELLY WINTER: All right, so let’s take a look at a snapshot of OneLab membership as of this past Monday, which is February 1st. Next slide. So as Senia mentioned earlier, the initial call was for those with responsibility for education and training within clinical laboratory professional organizations, manufacturers, commercial laboratories, and hospital systems.
But based on additional insights from our partners, the network can also include education educators and trainers who serve clinical laboratory audiences, public health professionals who provide education and training resources to clinical audiences. And our partners from APHL will also be engaged with us in helping us continually identify and leverage opportunities to strengthen the interconnection between public health and clinical laboratory, education, and training professionals. Next slide, please.
So we’re thrilled to let you all know that, as of yesterday, we had 1,126 sign ups for this network so far. And about a fourth of those signed up for today’s meeting. So welcome to all of you who have joined us today. And we’re really excited about the interest in this. Next slide.
So let’s dive into a little bit of a snapshot around the network. So it’s important to know that the next few slides are going to show the network through various lenses. And it’s important for you to consider those holistically.
And as we go, we’ll also ask you a few live poll questions to give us a sense of how our audience here today compares with everyone who answered the survey. And one other little bit of housekeeping to be aware of, at the bottom right is your in for that particular question. So note that it might shift a little bit from question to question because this survey had branching questions. Meaning that only subsets of participants received certain questions.
So with that, let’s look at employment settings. So in terms of employment settings, the most common answer was laboratory. So this is great news that basically 3/4 of our audience are those who work in a laboratory. Next slide. All right, so within those who do work in a laboratory setting, most of them worked in either a hospital laboratory or a commercial laboratory setting. Next slide.
So at an organizational level, 85% of those who answered the survey are working in a laboratory that performs COVID-19 testing. So once again, this is at the laboratory level. And then if we go to the next slide, we’ll see that, at an individual level, it’s also clear that the vast majority of you at an individual level are performing COVID-19 testing or are focusing on other COVID-19 related work. Next slide.
So now let’s do a live poll to see how many of you here today have work responsibilities related to the COVID-19 pandemic. So I’ll give you all a second to take the poll question.
ZAK BEARD: Coming in fast, Kelly. OK. I’m going to close it out and share.
KELLY WINTER: All right, so much in alignment with the survey that we provided, it looks like 80% of you all here today, some portion of your work is related to the COVID-19 pandemic. And we want to thank you for your contributions and remind you that one of the big goals of this network is to make sure that we’re working together to provide resources related to the COVID-19 pandemic. All right, so next slide.
Now, going back to those snapshots, for this question, it’s important to remember that people could answer as many of these as were applicable to them. So when we look at who is involved in training and continuing education within their laboratory work, we see that close to half were involved in trainings around internal trainings, whether in the development of them or the delivery of them. And about half provide content for internal trainings. And 5% provide ASCLS pace administrator roles. Next slide, please.
So for this question, you could only select one answer. For this one, it was about your primary role within your laboratory. So we can see, again, that about a quarter of respondents noted that their primary role is in continuing education and training. But the most common answer was clinical testing. Next slide, please.
So now we’re going to do another poll question. This one is to get a sense of who all here today is involved in providing education and training resources to the clinical laboratory community. So we’ll give you all a second to consider that.
And while you’re answering that poll, we just wanted to reiterate that, by the end of this meeting, you might realize that some of your colleagues might be a great fit for this, people that you know withing your network, please feel free to share the link with them. Or if you realize by the end of this meeting that someone else within your own organization would be a better fit in terms of having a closer connection to providing education and training resources, feel free to share the link with them. The URL is cdc.gov/onelab. And we’ll share that again on the screen in a little while.
All right, so it looks like the overwhelming majority of you all who joined us today are providers of education and training resources to the clinical laboratory community. So that’s great to see. And again, we just welcome you sharing this opportunity with others that you deem appropriate. Next slide. Now, I’m going to pass it back to Senia to talk about resisting existing resources.
SENIA WILKINS: All right, thanks, Kelly. OK, so this is the fun part because I get to tell you about what currently is already available. And all that data you saw earlier of how many people have been accessing these resources, it’s great. But we also still get feedback on, oh, we didn’t know that was available, or can you send us your website?
I do want to clarify. So CDC train, because there was the question I saw earlier, CDC train is our learning management system. So it’s our platform through which we deliver a lot of our training. It’s very public health oriented. It scans the entire public health workforce.
And so you can, when you sign up for CDC train, you can select our training. It’s called laboratory training group. And you can sign up for that. And that is specific to the resources that DLS puts on CDC train.
So OneLab is an initiative. And so that customized platform we are looking at, does that look kind of like another version of CDC train as a learning management system? Does it look like a listserv? Does it– we’re kind of exploring like, what does that customized platform look like?
So again, our main website, which Ren mentioned earlier, is cdc.gov/labtraining. That connects you to the learning management system, which is CDC train. So in other words, you can access. You can see what our catalog of courses are on our website. And then when you click on it, it redirects you to the learning management system, which is where you actually register for the course and create your training plan there.
Recently, that website was redesigned. It’s new and improved. You can search better. You can search by keyword. There’s active filters. And so there is an active filter that says COVID-19. And so you can quickly pool those 14 courses that I mentioned earlier that are relevant to the pandemic. Next slide.
And I think, in addition to those or including those 14, I think I said there was a total of 35 courses currently active. And so I just want to give a quick highlight of our most popular courses, the most in-demand courses right now. So that’s packing and shipping dangerous goods. Next slide. Fundamentals of personal protective equipment. Next slide. And fundamentals of working safely in a biological safety cabinet. So those are our top three courses right now. If you’re not familiar with them, I encourage you to look at them, really good content, very much relevant content right now. Next slide.
So in addition to our e-learning courses, we’ve gotten a lot of requests. Again, we’re always listening. And we’re always trying to respond to the feedback that we receive. So we’ve gotten a lot of requests to pull. A lot of our courses have videos or jobs or other documents within the course. And so it’s a bit of a hassle when you have to go back into the course and pull all that stuff out.
So we’ve gotten a request, well, can you pull those job aids out and make them available to us in a PDF format? So during COVID, we understood that was especially needed. So we launched a new web page dedicated to our COVID-19 relevant job aids. You can access those directly from that main website that I just provided, the cdc.gov/labtraining.
You’ll find there’s already a pretty healthy list of jobs there. There’s also brief videos. This was the first year that we released fully illustrated videos demonstrating fundamentals of PPE. There’s three total, I believe, are on our website.
And that was important. Because again, we’re all working from home. We’re all working in a virtual environment. And so we’re also developing resources in that environment.
So where typically we use actors in our videos, we had to shift and say, OK, can we use our illustrators to do these in a different format? And we did. And they’re beautiful. And we’re very proud of them. So I encourage you to look at those as well and share them widely.
And then again, I mentioned this already, but the jobs aids are in PDF format, which have our CDC branding on. It but we also included Word versions without any branding. And you can apply your own organizational heading or format on them. It just depends what best fits your need. OK, next slide.
Also very exciting is we released the first CDC course in virtual reality. So you do need special equipment for this course. You need a headset and sensors. It’s all delineated on the web page for this course.
But we are launching a pilot program this year where we’re going to equip some laboratories with the equipment to see if this is a viable modality right now during the pandemic when a lot of in-person training opportunities are limited. We’re also working to develop what we’re calling a multiplayer lab, or, the first time I’m going to say the name, it is VR OneLab. And with VR OneLab, it’ll be an open training space in virtual reality.
It’ll take us a minute to develop this because we’re still very much in R&D and ensuring that what we release is accessible by everybody and that the equipment is the most appropriate as well. Because we can build it all day long and make it beautiful, but if you all can’t access it, that’s not valuable. And so we’re working on that. So hopefully about a year from now, we’ll have this big multiplayer lab released, hopefully sooner.
And that’ll be think of like open play but for training. And it’ll offer a more dynamic training space and perhaps like video calls or Zoom meetings. So we’re very much looking forward for that.
But you can access our web page. We do have a web page fully dedicated to VR. You can also access it from that main training page. There’s a trailer of the course that gives you a sense of how does that feel and look different than a traditional e-learning course.
And as of yes, Monday, we will release a new update to this course. The current course is focused on setting up the BSC. And this update, a massive update that we’re about to release on Monday, will actually allow learners to work within the BSE, so cleaning up spills, conducting emergency shutdown procedures. And again, all of that is simulated to, again, see if, can learners retain the knowledge and apply the knowledge and a skill-based way when real-life emergency situations are simulated?
So very promising technology. We’re exploring it. We’re still testing it. So again, this is an opportunity where we’re going to need your feedback as well. Next slide.
And again, our laboratory training website, just to reiterate, here it is again. If you want to go directly to the VR page, the URL is there in the slide. It’s backslash lab training backslash VR dot HTML. This page explains why we started exploring VR, what have we found so far.
There are certain criteria. Like VR isn’t a fit for everything. And it is pretty expensive to develop. So again, it’s important for us to be transparent on what are we working on, what are we finding, and share that with our target audiences. And next slide.
Another exciting service that we have recently launched in the last couple of months are– I always get tripped up when I explain this. But let me see if I can do it justice. So we’re calling it e-learning syndication.
And what it allows us to be able to do with our partners is we are now able to syndicate our e-learning courses on any learning management system beyond just CDC train. So we understand and recognize that you may all have your own version of CDC train. Like you may have Blackboard, or you may have a version of Moodle. You may have your own delivery platform on how you disseminate your training resources.
Up until before we launched the syndication system, we weren’t able to share with you our course files, so that you could also put them on your learning management system. And you can track them just like you would anything else you put on that. But now with e-learning syndication, we’re able to do that. So our e-learning courses can live on any other learning management system if that is of interest to you.
There are terms of access. It’s kind of like website syndication. I’m not sure if you all are familiar with that. But it’s similar to where you’re leveraging content from a different partner. And you’re putting it on your own channel. And then every time the host, every time the owners of the content update the course, it automatically reflects wherever it’s living on any LMS.
So it’s pretty magical. If you can’t tell, I’m not a big technology person. But this is amazing to me. And it is available for you. There’s a web page. You can request the service. There is a terms of agreement that we enter in just to make sure that this all works seamlessly to your benefit and also that we are ensuring that the most up-to-date content is always available to you. So another great innovative service available.
And then also, I mentioned before that we have many channels. A lot of those channels live within DLS to make sure that you are accessing information, even if it’s not related to education and training, which is our heart and soul. And one of those resources is the clinical laboratory COVID-19 response calls.
Those are hosted by my fellow branch chief Jasmine Chaitram and others in DLS and across the agency. Those happen on a biweekly basis. And so if you’re not familiar with these and you’re looking for an additional channel on answering technical questions, receiving the latest information on COVID as it relates to laboratories, please sign up. And you can find all the information on this link here.
OK, oh, I think I got through everything. So training needs assessment, next steps. So the training needs assessment, I mentioned earlier that this is going to be the immediate next step now that we’ve stood up all of you with a network. So next slide, yeah. Thank you.
So the training needs assessment is composed of two main strategies. One is the questionnaire, and one is focus groups. So the survey or the questionnaire will launch today. So immediately after this meeting, as soon as you close out of your window, internet magic is supposed to happen. And a new window will pop up with the training needs assessment.
But if that doesn’t happen, if you’re like me and that internet magic never quite works for you, the link is also going to be in the chat of the meeting. And you will also receive the link via email. So you should receive it multiple ways.
You have three weeks to complete that questionnaire. It closes on February 26th. Again, participation is completely voluntary. But I really encourage you to fill that out. The more feedback we get, the stronger we’re going to be able to respond to those needs that we’re seeing on the ground.
It takes about five minutes to complete. And also, I know we have three weeks to complete it. But please complete it as soon as you’re able to. We’ll be looking at that data on a rolling basis. OK, let’s see. And next slide.
So what comes after that needs assessment? Or what does that whole process look like? So again, today, we’ll launch the questionnaire. The survey will submit. It will close on the 26th.
And we’re also standing up focus groups. Many of you have already signed up for focus groups. All of those are filled up. Again, we were surprised and grateful for the interest for signing up for those focus groups. And in the focus groups, it’ll really allow individuals to express more in detail what are the needs that they’re experiencing or that they’re observing. And we’ll be able to capture nuances that you’re not able to capture in a questionnaire, for example.
Currently, because of the interest, all of those focus groups are already filled except for the focus groups– there’s still some spots left for the focus groups dedicated pace administrators/pace providers. So if you are a pace administrator or a pace provider and you haven’t signed up for a focus group, I encourage you to do so. The only way to do that right now is by emailing our box, so firstname.lastname@example.org. Just shoot us an email. We’ll sign you up for the focus group.
There’s a few spots lab. So please, please, if you’re a pace administrator or provider, please go ahead and do that. We would really love your feedback. OK. And next slide.
So now we’re at the question and answer time. I think I’ve answered some of the questions that I’ve said here and there. But I’m sure we have many more. And anything we don’t answer today, please email our box, email@example.com. If you have ideas on how do we make these meetings more interactive, what have you seen work well, please send those to us also at OneLab.
Again, this is going to be an evolving process. And it’s going to be an evolving process with you working with us. So please don’t hesitate to let us know what ideas you have or what thoughts you have to share, so that we can continue improving. OK, I’m going to hand it over to, I think, Kelly is moderating.
KELLY WINTER: Yeah. So I will ask you questions, and you will answer. So we’ll start with a few that you addressed during the presentation but we just wanted to reiterate. So one of those was, do you have a link where we can direct additional staff who are interested? So I’m just going to go ahead and paste these in the chat for the benefit of the whole group. But if you want to just cover that real fast.
SENIA WILKINS: Yeah. Perfect. So just go to cdc.gov/onelab. And that’ll give you all the information of the network. And you’ll be able to sign up there.
I will also mention that these slides, I think Zak said this at the very beginning, but it feels like it’s only been 50 minutes. But it feels like a long time ago already. So these slides coupled with the audio recording will be available for everybody as well. And we’ll send a blast email out letting you know when that’s available. We just need to, of course, modify the files and everything, so that they’ll work on our web page.
KELLY WINTER: And here’s another one that you touched on earlier but just want to reiterate. Someone asked, is OneLab lab replacing the CDC train program?
SENIA WILKINS: Right. And again, CDC train is a learning management system. And so the OneLab initiative is different than the dissemination channel. It includes a dissemination channel. And so our dissemination strategy to get to that wide-scale dissemination will include our current platform, which is to CDC train, our current learning management system.
It will include that syndication service that I explained a little bit ago. And it’ll also include, perhaps, a new learning management system and other dissemination channels to make sure this is getting out in a focused, clear, and rapid way. So more on that to come.
KELLY WINTER: All right, so next question was, will the files be available? I’m just reiterating that in chat for everyone’s benefit. So someone asked whether there are free CEUs available.
SENIA WILKINS: Yes. Yes. So many, many of our courses, actually, the majority of them are offer pace credit, which again is a CE specialized for laboratory professionals. We are a longstanding pace provider. And so we work closely with ASCLS, so please take a look at our– and on the website, I think there’s only a few that don’t offer pace credits. But the majority of them do. And that’s all easily identified on our website. I think there’s even a filter that says pace that you can just click on. And it’ll bring them all up.
KELLY WINTER: Yes. All right, so here’s a question on the network membership. So the question is, how might OneLab engage with academic programs?
SENIA WILKINS: Yeah. That’s a great question. I think we welcome them at the table. While our focus has been the pipeline, like the next generation of clinical laboratory professionals, it’s certainly on our mind on how best to reach those folks. So I think definitely join the network. And we’ll have those conversations together.
I’ve received some feedback already from academic institutions on, can we syndicate your courses? Can we add them to our curricula? Can we? And here are some needs that we’re experiencing.
Like one big need where VR might be able to help down the road or some of the existing programs that some of our partners have are there’s a challenge around completing the practicum, for example. That’s been difficult to do. There’s limited opportunities.
And so we have engaged in conversations with our partners around those challenges. So I think it’s completely appropriate to join the network. And we’ll work together to see, OK, are you needs being met? Or do we need to pivot and think of a different type of strategy together?
KELLY WINTER: All right, next question, what is the geographic scope of OneLab? Is it US only?
SENIA WILKINS: That’s a great question too. Right now, it’s targeted to US. But if you’re international and you’d like to join, there’s nothing stopping us from that. Our lens is really domestic right now.
But what we have found is our program, in general, is domestic focus. But we’ve had a lot of interest internationally as well. And CDC train is open to everybody as well. Any dissemination channel we put out is open to everybody.
And so certainly, international audiences have access to our resources. And I’d welcome their feedback as well. So I think while the focus right now is domestic, I encourage participation from international audiences as well.
KELLY WINTER: All right, next question, will the members of the OneLab network see the output of the training needs assessment?
SENIA WILKINS: Yes, absolutely. In fact, I think I skipped over that in the timeline. So we want to discuss meeting schedules, future meeting schedules with all of you, what makes sense. Again, I know we’re all really, really busy.
So what we’re going to do, we’re having the kickoff today. We will launch the survey. It’ll close in three weeks. We’ll analyze the results. And then we’ll come back together. Our next meeting will be where we show you all the results of the needs assessment, and we’ll discuss together.
And we’re thinking that will probably be end the March, around there. And so we’ll keep you posted on that next meeting. And then after that meeting, hopefully we’ll fall into a more regular schedule of standing meetings. But I want to get a little bit more feedback from you all on that as well.
KELLY WINTER: All right, and then we have some people who are interested in being part of a dissemination pilot around virtual reality. So if you’d like to speak to that.
SENIA WILKINS: Oh, that’s perfect. Yeah. I think, so right now, I’m waiting to hear. So we work with several partners across CDC. And we’re trying to figure out the scalability of that program. How many sites are we able to conduct this pilot with?
And so we’re trying to figure all that out. But we definitely, if you’re interested, let us know. Because if you’re not in the first round, at least we have your name. And we’ll keep you in mind for future rounds. Go ahead and email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. And that’s also monitored 24/7. And we keep up to date with that. So please, feel free to email us there, express your interest. And we’ll make sure we take note of that.
KELLY WINTER: And I would just add to that if you missed that email address and you know the one for OneLab, we will figure it out as long as you mention this around VR dissemination. We will make sure we triage those. So last couple questions, we have a question about, does OneLab offer a lab simulation courses?
SENIA WILKINS: Let’s see if I’m answering that right. And maybe, Kelly, you can jump in. So all of our courses are meant to simulate real scenarios. And so there’s graphics. And there’s videos to simulate it in that way.
A more in-depth simulation is our VR course. That is like you’re fully immersed in a laboratory, in a virtual laboratory. And you’re able to move from the waist up and function in that virtual lab. I’m not sure if that’s what was meant by the question. But hopefully that helps.
Now, future options, I think, the possibilities, like I said, we want to do this multiplayer lab. We’re currently working on a new VR course focused on PPE. That will be released hopefully by September. And so we’re still working on those type of simulations, if that helps.
KELLY WINTER: Yeah. I think that captured the sentiment of the question. So I think we’re almost out at time. If you want to give any kind of closing remark of– oh, there’s one last one that just came in. So will there be any opportunity to collaborate in presentations offered by OneLab?
SENIA WILKINS: Yes, absolutely. I definitely do not want to be talking every single time. And part of the purpose of OneLab is to bring everyone’s expertise to the table and share those lessons learned and present challenges. And we collectively help to address them and find solutions. So yes, that’s absolutely the vision for OneLab.
I think we just want to see, how do we structure this moving forward? And I think like is it breakout sessions? And do we have an agenda where we call for folks beforehand?
I think once we figure out, once we get the results from the needs assessment, maybe it’ll become a bit more clear. Like, OK, here’s what we need to address to start off with. And let’s do a call for certain kinds of presentations or make a theme during a meeting, for example. I think there’s lots of good possibility. But absolutely, we want to hear from everybody here as well.
KELLY WINTER: Let’s see. I’m looking to see if we can grab maybe one more question. So someone asked about making training resources available from partners, so posting links from partner training resources and making them available in some way to others in the network.
SENIA WILKINS: Yeah. That’s a great question too. So as part of our work with CLIA, which Ren mentioned earlier, this issue has come up as well. Like, how can we create a resource that includes not only our resources for education and training but also those of our partners? And so the question is perfect because we’re in discussions around how to best do that.
I think, likely, in the interim, we will probably post a page on our website that includes some of our partners and links out to some of those resources. That’s in progress. If you have ideas or you have resources that you think we should look at to be included, please send them to us.
We always want to leverage our partner work. But we also need to be careful about endorsing certain organizations over others. And so our lens is just a little bit more specialized, in a way, than one would think. And so we’re just trying to make sure that we’re very clear about like, here’s our criteria on posting these resources.
But I also don’t want to give the impression that we’ve reviewed all of those resources. And they’ve met all of our training quality standards, for example. But I think there’s a good way we can do that. So we’re in discussions about it. So please stay tuned.
KELLY WINTER: And one that I’ll answer real quickly is someone asked about learning management systems with regard to syndication. So that would be our e-track where we’re making some of our courses available to others through syndication. I would say if you’ll just email the OneLab box with your question about that, the requester was anonymous, we’ll get you some more information on that. So we’re almost at time. Any closing remarks, Senia?
SENIA WILKINS: Yeah. Just a reminder, please do the needs assessment. Again, it should pop up right after you close out of this meeting. Thank you all so much. I’m blown away by the interest.
I was blown away by the registration for the learning courses throughout the year. But now I’m even more blown away with the interest with our network. And so again, it just solidifies there’s a need here and there’s a real interest here that we need to focus on and we need to work on together.
And so I’m really excited to have you all be on board. And please communicate with us. Like I said, we’re always monitoring that box. We’re always responding to the questions that come to us there.
And this is going to be your network. And so any ideas, like I said earlier on how to structure it down the road or what kinds of things do you want to see, please, please email us. Thank you, everybody. Have a great weekend. Have a great Friday. And we’ll see you all soon.
KELLY WINTER: Thank you.