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April 23, 2021 OneLab Network: Findings from the COVID-19 Training Needs Assessment Meeting – Transcript and Audio

The views expressed in written materials or publications and by speakers and moderators do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the Department of Health and Human Services, nor does the mention of trade names, commercial practices, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. government.

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Date of session: 04/23/2021

CHELSEA PARSONS: All right, good morning, everyone, or afternoon, depending on where you’re joining us from. We can go ahead and get started. My name is Chelsea Parsons, and I’m a consultant with Guidehouse supporting the CDC OneLab Initiative.

A couple of notes about the webinar before we dive in. If you’re having any technical issues throughout, feel free to email the OneLab inbox for support. That’s Again, that is

If you have any questions throughout the session, you can insert them into the Q&A function below. You’ll see an option to click a Q&A icon. And that’s where you can put any questions. Feel free to add more than one. If your question isn’t addressed right away, we might waiting for that at the end. We’re going to have a little Q&A session.

But if by any chance your questions didn’t get answered today, feel free to always reach out to that email address. We’ll have a 5 minute Q&A session at the end like I mentioned. We’ll review questions, do our best to answer as many as possible. Note that I’ve posted the link to the live captions in the chat.

If you do use those, be sure to keep this Zoom web page open as well as that link open to make sure that you can do both at the same time, you don’t accidentally leave the meeting. With that, I’ll pass it over to Senia Wilkins from CDC’s Division of Laboratory Systems.

YESCENIA WILKINS: Thanks Chelsea. Good morning, everybody. Happy Friday. Happy Lab Week. I hope you all got to celebrate a bit within your organizations and groups. Probably looked a bit different still this year, but even so, happy Lab Week. It’s always good to just celebrate a little bit extra and acknowledge all of the work that you do and our colleagues and partners a bit more.

So I’m Senia Wilkins. Again, I’m the Chief of Training and Workforce Development within the Division of Laboratory Systems at CDC. So welcome to our OneLab Network meeting. I believe this is the third one we’ve done so far. So if you’re joining us for the first time, welcome.

And for those of you that have been with us since the first meeting, you’ll start to notice some patterns as we’re starting to get more into a groove. So we have an exciting presentation for you all today. So let’s go ahead and get started.

OK, just a recap again for some– just a refresher for those of you that heard this last time interest and perhaps an introduction for those of you that are hearing it for the first time, one of the main components of the OneLab Initiative that we wanted to do immediately is do a training needs assessment.

And do a training needs assessment in the sense of what are the current urgent education and training needs that we’re experiencing on the ground right now that we can quickly address, either by leveraging existing resources or creating new ones? And so you’re going to hear a lot about that today from some of my colleagues that have been working on this initiative with us as well.

But this just gives an overview of the life span of this training needs assessment. We began collecting data right after the first OneLab Network meeting. And through surveys, we also conducted some focus groups that many of you participated in. All of that data was analyzed, and what you’ll be hearing today is what came of that data and how we plan to address it.

Now, before we get started, let’s just take a moment to answer a few poll questions to get a better idea of who’s with us today. We had quite a large number of people register. And it looks like we still have folks trickling in. So let’s start with our first question. OK, where are you joining us from today? We’ll leave that up for a little bit.

OK, so as we can see, we have pretty good representation from all regions, which is what we like to see. And welcome again to our non-US and international partners. We’re excited to have you all. As I’ve mentioned in previous calls, this network is really targeted at our domestic clinical and public health laboratory professionals. But we want to welcome all of our laboratory partners, because we do believe the resources and the discussions we have as part of this initiative will be valuable outside of that focus as well.

OK, next question. Do you have a role in training and education of clinical laboratory professionals? Again, those questions should have been familiar. We’re going to try to ask these open questions each time just to get an idea of who’s with us each time we get together.

Beautiful. Most of you have a role in education and training, and that’s great. Because, again, this network is for you. So we always like to see that, but it’s always good to know who’s still in the no category or who’s unsure. Next question. Last one. Did you participate in the OneLab training needs assessment survey specifically?

OK, great. Fantastic. So the majority have, so that’s exciting. You’ll get to see how your individual feedback fed into the overall whole. And for those of you who didn’t, you’ll get to hear what was asked and what came of those results, and, again, what are we planning to do moving forward? While we’re going to be sharing with you all today what our current action plan is, we certainly hope that these results will be helpful to you all.

And if you want to take them a step further or go in a different direction than what you hear today, please feel free to use these results in whichever way most benefits you all. If you need help thinking through that, you can always reach out to us, and we’re happy to have a conversation with you.

And with that, I’m going to pass it over to my colleague Dr. Omair Janjua. He is a consultant with Guidehouse who works closely with us on this OneLab and was instrumental to the analysis of the training needs assessment based on the survey that we’ve been talking about.

As a reminder, today’s audio, transcript, and slides, all of those that we share today will be posted online afterwards. So you can follow the hyperlink to the existing resources. The slides are going to be text-heavy. These aren’t following our typical presentation guidelines, because we want them to serve as reference slides for you all and make sure that you have the information all in one place. So bear with us as you see those text-heavy slides.

Additionally, as Chelsea mentioned a little while ago, my team and I will be monitoring the Q&A section. Just in case you have questions throughout, please put your questions in there. We’ll either answer them in the chat, or we’ll address them towards the end of this webinar today. And any questions about the resources, the findings, please go ahead and put those in the chat. And I’ll now hand the presentation off to Dr. Janjua. Dr. Janjua?

OMAIR JANJUA: All right. Thank you, everyone. And thank you all for joining. My name is Dr. Omair Janjua, and as Senia mentioned, I’m a Guidehouse consultant supporting the OneLab Initiative. So on this slide are the high-level finding from our training needs assessment. And in the center circle, you’ll find a major education training theme that emerged from our assessment. And around this are the cross-cutting needs that apply to all the themes in the inner circle.

Now, let’s take a closer look at these findings. Three distinct education and training themes emerged from our training needs assessment with the most prevalent theme being the technical topics that directly relate to COVID-19 testing. And these included testing and laboratory quality, regulations, guidelines and reporting, and laboratory safety.

Some unique themes that were highlighted from our training needs assessment that were not as technical or scientific in nature were the preparedness and emergency operations and crisis leadership needs. And what’s important to note here is how these needs were exacerbated by the burden brought on by the pandemic. And as we move through this presentation, we’re going to take a deeper dive into each one of these themes.

Four cross-cutting needs emerged from the training needs assessment that are supportive of a unified response to laboratory education and training needs. And firstly, we heard that clinical laboratorians like yourself were feeling isolated and siloed from their peers. And they were looking for a collaborative environment to face these new challenges together.

Secondly, we heard that clinical laboratorians were struggling to keep up with various testing and regulatory updates related to COVID-19 testing. And they were having to scan multiple websites to get these updates. What they needed was a centralized resource where all these updates are easy to locate and access. Additionally, we heard that currently available learning modules were inefficient and taking too much time away from the bench. And this is adding to the already increased workloads brought on by the pandemic.

And finally, COVID-19 has resulted in an unprecedented surge of information requests from the general public more specifically medical sites. And clinical laboratorians are feeling overwhelmed by this. And there was a clear need for cohesive messaging for the public to help alleviate this burden.


Now, let’s take a deeper dive into each of the specific training and education themes. So we’re going to start off our detailed discussion by first showing the specific topics clinical laboratorians reported as the most critical COVID-19-related education and training needs.

And of these, I’d like to take a moment to emphasize the top five, which are validating and performing tests, regulations, interpreting guidelines, selecting the right tests, and laboratory safety. And as we highlighted earlier, technical topics fell into three distinct areas with the first one being testing and laboratory quality shown here.

The most prevalent finding in this topic was the need for clarity and technical support around validating and performing COVID-19 tests. Your colleagues also reported they were relying too heavily on manufacturing sites for updated information and lack clarity around test selection and sample preparation for those tests.

And on this slide, you’ll see a format that we’ll use throughout this presentation. On the left hand of the slide, you’ll find specific identified topics from the training needs assessment. And on the right hand of this slide is a list of CDC resources which are currently available to address these needs as well as upcoming resources that are planned or in production by the OneLab team.

And for those of you seeking resources, anything that is listed as available now and is underlined, it will include a hyperlink that you can use to access immediately. And as such, we won’t read through each of them but we’ll provide this presentation to you after the meeting is over. And we encourage you to both utilize these resources and also share them with your colleagues on the front lines of the pandemic.

Let’s get back to the testing laboratory quality technical topic. The most common finding in this technical topic was test validation. And as an example, what is the impact of COVID-19 variance on test validity? And what happens to test validity if a laboratorian runs out of reagents and has to make a substitution? And to the right, you’ll find the CDC currently has a wealth of information already available to support testing and laboratory quality, including many eLearning courses, job aids, and webinars.

In relation to COVID-19 variants specifically, the OneLab team is preparing a network meeting and job aid to specifically address testing and validating COVID-19 variants. You can look forward to that in the summer of this year. The final testing and laboratory quality topic was related to search support clinical laboratorians were receiving in the form of new and often inexperienced hires from various backgrounds.

Your colleagues consistently reported a need for a toolkit to streamline on-boarding of new hires. And the OneLab team is committed to creating and providing a new hire toolkit that we’ve made available in all of this year. So in addition to testing and laboratory quality, regulations, guidelines and reporting was a major pain point for clinical laboratorians in the field.

In particular, there was a lot of concern around emergency use reauthorizations and the appropriate intended use of tests in the dynamic COVID-19 testing environment. And additionally, maintaining compliance with CLIA and reporting correctly across multiple state lines also emerged as critical education and training needs.

So as we mentioned in the last slide, emergency use authorizations and the implications on testing came up as a major finding in the training needs assessment. And for those of you seeking resources to address this need right now, please see the available frequently asked questions on COVID-19 guidance and regulations available now at the CDC.

Additionally, reporting of public health officials and healthcare providers emerged as major education training needs. And within this finding, the CDC has resources specifically addressing those you’ll also find to the right. And we encourage you to check these out. And lastly, for those of you concerned about laboratory compliance and keeping up with it, be on the lookout for an upcoming CLIA 101 curriculum which will be made available to you in fall of this year.

And our final technical topic was laboratory safety. And our laboratory safety is always important. The workplace changes brought on by the pandemic have exacerbated safety risks and increased the need for additional laboratory safety education and training. Labs are different sizes in levels of experience. And as such we had different levels of education and training needs for safety that were reported.

And among the many names that were present in this topic, biosafety, PPE were the top education and training needs where resources were needed the most. And of course, anyone who enters a lab already has training in PPE. And if you do need a refresher, there are many courses already available by the CDC listed on the right.

But what’s unique about the identified topics from the training needs assessment is a specific focus on the risks that the COVID-19 pandemic have introduced into the clinical laboratory environment specifically on how they introduce risk into PPE usage, biosafety, and risk assessment guidelines and what needs to be updated in order to account for these risks.

And of the resources available, we would like to highlight the existing LabVR Biological Safety Cabinet VR course and the Risk Assessment Process, as well as the upcoming LabVR PPE Edition VR course and Risk Management eLearning and Curriculum coming up later this year.

So that’s it for the technical topics. Let’s move on to the next theme, the training needs assessment. And the next theme is preparedness and emergency operations. So our findings indicate that managers need training and laboratory operations, funding, and supply chain management. And what’s important to note here is how the pandemic exacerbated these issues.

They were there before, but they were really brought to the forefront now. And our common finding was that smaller and standalone labs particularly struggling with this need. When we asked your colleagues to expand upon these education training needs, they said the biggest impact of this need was on the throughput of COVID-19 tests, which relies heavily on steady funding, steady supply chain, and operational equipment.

So as you all know, OneLab is focused primarily on laboratory education and training. And although specific topics, such as supply chain management and procurement and revenue cycle, not the usual topics of the clinical laboratory training environment, the pandemic has really shown how important it is to have adequate training in these areas during an emergency in order to maintain continuity of operations.

And with that in mind, currently the CDC has a continuity of operations planning eLearning course available which we invite you all to make use of. And in addition to this, the OneLab is developing an emergency laboratory operations toolkit for release later this year and the supply chain lessons learned question and answer session network event which we want to use to address the specific questions you have related to supply chain and give you the specific resources you need to address them.

And our final themes in training needs assessment, the findings indicated that clinical laboratory senior leaders need training in crisis leadership and communication. And again, this is an area where I’d ask all of us to appreciate the wide variety of clinical laboratories that exist in the US and answered our training and needs assessment survey.

And we heard from your peers that they sometimes felt unprepared to handle this crisis and are lacking the critical support they need to lead through this. When we probed a bit further, we learn that leaders are reporting their staff are feeling overwhelmed, burned out, and underappreciated as front line healthcare respondents in the general news coverage of the COVID-19 response.

So crisis leadership and crisis communications were the two major topics that emerged in this theme. And for clinical laboratory leaders with us today, the CDC has a crisis in emergency communications online training and an OSHA guide to managing stress in a crisis pamphlet available for you right now. And in addition to these resources, the OneLab team will be conducting a crisis leadership webinar in the summer and developing a toolkit to be released in the fall to help address these needs specifically.

Speaking of that crisis leadership toolkit, we want to hear from you on identifying topics, tools, and resources that should be a part of this. So I’m going to ask Senia to jump back on and lead us to the first of three quick pauses to gather your feedback in real time.

YESCENIA WILKINS: Thanks, Omair. So yes, as Omair said, we want to get your immediate feedback, thoughts, opinions on what should be included in a leadership toolkit. To do that– because again, we’re on Zoom. We’re all in virtual world. We’re trying not to have this be super boring and we’re trying to be as interactive as we can in a creative way.

So we’re going to use the interactive tool that we’ve been using throughout the branch and division, which we’ve had good success with, just to gather some open feedback like I said, see if this can work as an interactive tool moving forward. So follow the prompts on the screen right there. You go to You can either open up another browser. You can use your phone. You can use another computer, whatever works best for you.

And once you go to, you punch in the code right there, 59475138. You don’t have to worry about that space. That’s just– I don’t know, they put that there for fun. So I’m going to give you all a little bit of time to get situated. And wherever you bring it up, whether it’s another browser window or your phone or another computer, make sure it’s handy for you, because we’re going to return to it at least two more times throughout today’s meeting.

And we’ve also put this information in the chat. And for whatever reason if you’re on your phone and you can’t see the screen, just go over to the chat function and the same information is there. And once you get to this tool and you punch in the code, you’ll see this question and you’ll be able to answer your– oh, I see some people are already doing it.

So you can put in your feedback, and see, we’re seeing it in real time. So it pops up here. I think this makes it a really cool feature as we’re just seeing the answers as they come in. And again, we’re going to use these. We do have the ability to make a record of this feedback so that we can look at it as we’re developing this toolkit.

And it’s open. Don’t worry too much about grammar, or if you’re like– we just want to spend for what you’re thinking. So you can go– sky’s the limit. You can talk about format. You can talk about themes. You can talk about specific resources, checklists, topics, whatever comes to mind as this is a pressing issue or thing or resource that needs to be addressed in a leadership toolkit for clinical laboratory professionals during times of crisis.

And also reminder, please do not close out of this Zoom meeting. I know when I first accessed this tool, I did that on accident, and then I was a mess. It looks like everybody is getting the hang of this, which is great. OK, guides on how to schedule staff for the volume of testing. Yes, absolutely. Operations, we’ve heard a lot of operations needs, guidelines and checklists in terms of format. Good.

Do a competency assessment. Examples of communication that would be effective during crises. These are really good coming through. Motivate and back up laboratorians and improve communications with other key actors. Absolutely. General budget and inventory management. Yep, you’ll see– I think Omair touched on that. That’s come up a couple of times.

Great. Share practices that worked. I’m still seeing a few come in. OK. I think we’ve reached a good point. So thank you so much for sharing. Again, we will look at these. And if you didn’t get a chance to put– if this closed out before you were able to put your feedback, you can always email us at because this is going to be definitely at the forefront of our minds over the next couple of weeks.

And I’m glad that you all seem to be pretty comfortable with this tool, because like I said, we’re going to use it a couple more times. Let’s see. Now, I’m going to hand it back over to Omair. And he’s going to walk us through the cross-cutting need that– as he mentioned before, those are relevant to– they weren’t necessarily topic-specific because they were relevant to all the needs that came up. Omair?

OMAIR JANJUA: Great. Thanks, Senia. And next we’re going to go over the cross-cutting needs that emerged at training needs assessment. And I want to thank you all for giving your responses inventively because some of these actually showed up in our cross-cutting needs. And hopefully, we can address some of those today. We’ll talk about how they’re going to be addressed in the future.

So as a quick refresher, we found for cross-cutting needs that support a unified response to laboratory education and training needs. And the first one, that was for a collaborative environment for clinical laboratorians to interact with their peers. The second one was for centralized resources which were easy to locate and access.

Third cross-cutting need was for flexible learning modules to help improve training efficiency. And finally, cohesive messaging for the public in the face of high volume information requests. So our first cross-cutting need is for the collaborative environment for clinical laboratorians. And in this finding, your colleague told us the challenges they were facing in connecting with their peers beyond their own team and often feeling siloed off from other laboratories.

This was made worse by the lack of in-person conferences due to travel restrictions brought on by the COVID pandemic. And I’ll say what emerged as the most common finding for this need was a specific request for a collaborative space where clinical laboratorians such as yourself could talk and interact with each other such as an online forum, regular virtual conference setting or anything that promotes collaboration among your peers.

So our identified topics here are simple and straight to the point. Your colleagues are asking for collaboration across public health laboratories and clinical laboratories, an environment to share best practices and lessons learned, and confidence they can attend together. So in addressing this need, let’s first highlight what’s already available.

The first one here is, of course, OneLab. We encourage you to continue attending our meetings and using our resources. And we also would encourage you to please also join the bi-weekly COVID-19 laboratory called also known as CLCR, which include a live discussion and a question and answer session.

And at the bottom, you’ll see in the future we hope to provide you with the LabVR OneLab Edition. That would include a virtual lab with a collaborative environment, which is pretty cool, and the OneLab Summit Virtual Conference. And those dates are still to be decided.

So our next cross-cutting need is for centralized resources. And for this need, throughout the training needs assessment, your colleagues reported that the existing resources were disseminated across various channels, making them challenging to locate and access. So that process of locating and accessing these updates not only wastes precious time and takes the laboratorians away from the bench, but it also creates a risk of missing those critical COVID-19-related testing updates.

And one of the overarching needs as well was for a centralized source for education and training resources related to COVID testing and regulatory updates from multiple agencies, including the FDA, CMS, CDC, CLIA, and CAP. How the specific topic identified for this crossing and aid all revolve around COVID-19 resources, training and regulatory updates being centralized, easy to find, and easy to access.

So in addition to what’s currently available on the right at the CDC, we encourage you to check out what OneLab is doing. And we’re continuously developing the OneLab Initiative website, the OneLab REACH Learning Management System and the Online Regulation Tracker to help address this cross-cutting need.

The next cross-cutting need is for flexible learning modules which minimize the time spent away from bench. And with this need, your colleagues told us that are currently available COVID-19 education and training resources, they require too much time to complete. They did not have enough format flexibility. And they were not tailored to the specific needs of the clinical outcomes we’re looking for. And lastly, they were not very engaging.

And some of the specific topics we identified for this cross-cutting need were short self-paced trainings that offered continuing education units, webinars, visual-heavy one-pagers, infographics, or factsheets, and interactive and engaging trainings. And for this education training need, you’ll find that many resources are already available from the CDC and many upcoming resources will be provided by the OneLab team.

And to the right of note are the upcoming Training of Trainers series, which will cover effectively training adult learners in point of care testing as well as case studies the OneLab team will create based on highlighted training needs from the OneLab Network meeting. So, again, we encourage you to attend, ask questions, give your feedback, and talk to us.

And finally, our last cross-cutting need is for cohesive messaging for the public. And I saw that some of you had mentioned this in the Menti responses. And as well as throughout our interviews with our colleagues, we heard that clinical laboratorians are receiving more questions from more sources than they’ve ever received before. And they’re really struggling to keep up.

And of note were questions from non-medical sites and the general public, which were particularly burdensome, and there was a clear need for standardized materials. And there’s a common thread across all these findings. And of course, you’ll see here, and there’s a clear need and a clear lack of consistent, cohesive public-facing messaging tools and which creates challenge in responding to these high volume of information requests.

And for this cross-cutting need, we broke down the scientific topics to align with their appropriate education and training resources and for the specific topics identified addressing the public’s frequently asked questions. An example of this was a potential patient asking, what does a positive or negative result mean? If it’s positive, do I have to get a follow-up test? How does it relate to COVID-19 variants?

Addressing healthcare providers’ frequently asked questions on test sensitivity, specificity in clinical laboratory workflow. And some examples of this where physicians asking clinical laboratorians how accurate a test is and also how long it will take to get the results.

Communicating the role and responsibilities of clinical laboratorians in the pandemic was another topic identified. And this is to help address the gap of knowledge the general public has about who you are, what you do, and how critical you are to the health and safety of the general public. And finally, providing tools to respond to the unprecedented influx of information requests was the last identified topic we found.

So for this cross-cutting need, I strongly encourage you all to check out the existing CDC resources in the space, including the CDC COVID-19 FAQs and the CDC COVID-19 testing over. And in addition to this, the OneLab team is looking forward to providing you with an upcoming– there’s a test for that video and prepared responses to the general public’s frequently asked questions.

And so this is another example, where we want your feedback. So the prepared responses for the general public’s FAQs is a resource that we’re excited to create and we also want your resistance with. And with that in mind, I’m going to pass it back over to Senia to gather your feedback on this specific resource.

YESCENIA WILKINS: OK. Thanks, Omair. So lots of information I’m sure everyone is processing. But again, let’s navigate back over to If you have the window still open wherever you went to before, it should refresh with a new question. If not, no worries. We’ve just got to navigate back to Same code. The code is here on the screen. It’s also in the chat if you can’t see the screen. So go ahead and navigate over.

And we really want to get a sense for what this FAQ tool that we want to build, it’s come up before that laboratory professionals or anyone in the laboratory community for that matter more so than ever before are getting inundated with questions from the public. So what are those questions? What are those questions that you tend to get asked a lot yourself or that you’ve heard your laboratory learners or colleagues that are being asked frequently?

And again, don’t worry if your question is repetitive or already on the screen. In fact, we like that. We want to see which ones come out of– it’s like the common ones of the common ones. So please, and again don’t worry about grammar. We’re not going to copy-edit where– this is a friendly space for fast fingers or fast brain, slow fingers, however the typos come out. But please put your thoughts here.

Again, we’re going to look at these. And these are going to help us generate that FAQ tool that will be for our target audience and learners, but it’s meant to answer questions that are coming from the general public. So it’ll be in more plain language and hopefully easier to understand. Great. We already have a bunch coming in. This is great.

Is the vaccine safe? Yeah, simple question, loaded answer. How to interpret tests. Great, great. How accurate is the test? OK, good, good. I’m already thinking of some tools that might help with some of these, or we can leverage some of the content. Is COVID real? It hurts my heart every time I hear it. But yes, frequently asked question.

How long does it take to get a COVID result? These are great. Yes, keep them coming. And again, if we run out of time or you think of more questions, you want to put more in here, please email us at It can be fast. We know everybody’s tight on time. You can just put FAQ as the subject line and just write all your FAQs in that email. And we’ll take a look at them. Great.

How is it only 14 days that you are sick for? How is it only 14 days that you are sick for? Great. What vaccine being should I get? Are the screening tests reliable? These are great. Keep them coming. Which test for what? Great. What is not detected? Yep, so more on that theme of, how do I interpret these results?

Yeah, we’ve seen that as more and more– we’re going more and more into digital medical records and providers are communicating more and more with your digital record, we see a lot of questions come up. Sometimes patients are just getting the results, they’re not getting an explanation of the results. So that’s a great question as well.

Great. We see the 14-day question come up again. Why do I need to wear a mask if I got the vaccine? Yeah, that’s a tricky one. Great. As a quick resource too for those of you– I don’t know, there’s probably varying levels of being active on social media. But CDC has done most recently in particular, I think, they’ve stepped up their game in their Instagram posts.

There are very clear visuals and guidance sentences for the general public that I have found really helpful and I tend to share with a lot of my family and friends. So if you’re not aware of that channel, it may be worth just looking into just– even if you don’t want to be active on there, just to see what messages CDC and FDA and others are posting on there. Since there’s a character limit, I like those messages, because it just makes it be right to the point.

OK, great. Looks like the flow has slowed down, so we’re going to go ahead and move on from this one. But again, feel free to email us. So before we wrap up today, we’re going to go into a Q&A session in a minute. I just want to remind everybody, Omair has said this throughout the presentation but a lot of the resources you’ve heard about today, those that already exist, you can find them or link to them from our training page. So

So I just want to put a plug for that resource. And again, please share it if you haven’t already done so. But keep that one handy. And one additional resource I want to share– I’m sure if I’ve shared it in this group before or not. But my division, we did recognize because we heard the centralized resources or lack of centralized resources challenge come up early on in the response.

And so what we’ve done is we’ve put together this resource page. And this is it right here. And it’s not new content but what it does is it serves as a hub and it pulls existing links from all over the CDC website that are specific to laboratory practice. So this is a good page to keep handy as well as let me get to those FAQs, the scientific FAQs that I always have a hard time finding, or let me get to those training resources that I know are COVID specific.

Those are all listed on this page as well. So just another resource that I want to make everybody aware of in case you aren’t yet. Next slide, and just to recap this graphic may be familiar to some of you. It has grown. So based on your feedback as well as program strategy and internal discussions with leadership within the division and the agency, we’ve expanded the OneLab Initiative by planning to go deeper in some of the original components.

But also some new ones have emerged. You heard about those today. So LabVR, we’re going to think about, how can we leverage that technology in a way that maybe goes beyond a course as we traditionally think about it? And so you’ll be getting more information on that coming soon. And also OneLab REACH. I’m very excited about OneLab REACH. REACH stands for Rapid Education and Capacity-building Hub. And so you’ll also be receiving additional information on that in the future.

And the OneLab Summit, we’ll be talking about more in future meetings. We’re looking at options on bringing us together in a virtual way through a conference so that we don’t have to do webinar format every time we meet together. And so we’re thinking through that, and we’ll be asking for your input for that moving forward as well.

OK, next slide. All right, so Q&As. Let’s go ahead and tackle a couple of Q&As. It’s going to be brief, but I want to make sure that we have some time to answer some of the pressing questions.

KELLY WINTER: Sure, so I’ll read these to you, Senia. And hi, everyone. I’m Kelly Winter. I’m the Deputy for the Training Workforce Development branch. So among the questions that I see in the Q&A function are, can you tell me more about VR training?

YESCENIA WILKINS: Yes, absolutely. So I’m glad you asked. So if you go to that lovely training page that I just talked about, you can link to our VR page. And that will let you know how we’re approaching VR courses, and how do we think about it? And what are the criteria that we look for when deciding should we utilize VR? Because it does take a while to develop.

But the OneLab– I’m assuming the question is about the OneLab specific resource that I just mentioned. And so in the spirit of OneLab bringing everybody together to work on emergency responses and leveraging each other’s expertise and lessons learned, we want to create a virtual laboratory in which multiple people can zap in.

I’m not a tech person so I’m sure I’m not using the correct terminology here, but that can be poured in with their headsets. They zap into the space at the same time and they can interact with each via their avatars, however that shows up in the laboratory space, and talk with one another. And we’re really excited about it, because in this virtual world, I think we all have Zoom fatigue or Teams fatigue or Skype fatigue. And so this will be another creative option to have.

Of course, we’re going to need special equipment to utilize the space. And then once we’re in that space, it can be used for multiple purposes like on-boarding or walkthroughs of a lab. Or there’s going to be varying levels of interactivity with the stuff in that virtual lab. So that’s going to come on a rolling basis. But that’s what we’re thinking in terms of like big picture, where we’re hoping to go with this multiplayer open play simulated lab. So as we have more details, we will definitely share that with this network.

KELLY WINTER: All right, next question. What is OneLab REACH that was referenced on a couple of the slides?

YESCENIA WILKINS: Yes, I did go through it quickly. So I’m glad you asked. So, again, OneLab REACH, REACH stands for Rapid Education and Capacity-building Hub. So the OneLab REACH is going to be a learning management system. I’ve referenced it in the past. It was exciting to see the feedback for the need of centralized resources, a need for a platform or a hub for all of our laboratory education and training resources coming from CDC to be placed.

And even I’ve been with the division for about almost four years now. And I believe the first partner meeting I attended, this same feedback was shared with me, the need for a customized dissemination channel of the many education and training resources that my group and others at CDC create and deliver for the laboratory community.

So now, we get to make it a reality, which is very exciting. So this will be a learning management system. And for those of you that are like, whoa, what is that? So it’s a platform that will allow us to put all of our resources on. And only laboratory COVID-19-relevant resources, courses, job aids, videos, webinars will be on this learning management system.

You’ll be able to create your account, register for training, keep track of your training plans, keep track of your certificates, re-pace accreditation. So we’re very, very excited about this new resource. And it’ll be complementary to our existing learning management system, which is CDC TRAIN, which we utilize in collaboration with the Public Health Foundation.

And many of you are familiar with that platform. And so I encourage everybody, when we release OneLab REACH, we will be letting you all know. And I know it’s a pain to keep up with usernames and passwords, but train is so broad that you should definitely still keep your username and password for that platform if you’re already there.

But you should definitely register for REACH once we release it, because that’s where all the laboratory specific resources relevant to COVID-19 will live. So thank you for asking. We’re excited we’re going to be sharing that with you. And we’re going to be asking for your help once that’s released. We’re shooting for August, but hopefully it’ll be much sooner than that. And we’re going to ask for your help to help us get the word out on that resource, and get folks signed up. OK.

KELLY WINTER: All right, next question. What is the– there is a test for that video?

YESCENIA WILKINS: Yeah, good. Yeah, thank you for asking. Because I know it’s hard to see a big line listing of these resources. So we heard you, and we’ve heard from others that– and again, it came out in the FAQ exercise we just did– there is a need for the general public to understand, what are the different testing options and how do they make a decision about that given their current situation?

So what we’ve decided to do is take our testing guidance and almost make it like FAQs, but instead of questions, it’s scenarios. So we’re going to make a few scenario-based short videos that have a laboratory professional character walk the viewers through a common scenario.

For example, I think I may have had COVID in the past, but I’m not sure. How do I find out? Just some of these common scenarios that we hear about. And try to apply the test testing through that scenario. So hopefully, it’ll resonate a bit more, and it’ll become more relevant information. Or at least demonstrate, what’s the thought process that I should walk through to make these decisions?

So we’re excited about them. They’re going through formal clearance approval review right now. And so as soon as we have a more solid timeline on that, we’ll be able to share those with you as well. But in the meantime– I don’t have the link. I’ll share it as soon as I find it. But there is an FDA video for those of you that haven’t seen it.

I just saw it this week actually that does a really nice overview of testing in general. And it’s less than three minutes. It’s on YouTube. It’s animated. I thought it was really well done. And so that same style is what we’ll be using for these scenario-based videos. So I think if you just google FDA testing overview video either in YouTube or Google, then you can find that video.

KELLY WINTER: All right, so next question. Someone asked, can I syndicate any of these resources?

YESCENIA WILKINS: Yes, so that eLearning courses that are COVID-relevant that are currently up– I think there’s about 13 of them that are currently up on our training page. You absolutely can syndicate those. For those of you that are maybe thinking, what does that mean? So we now have the ability to– so we have a learning management system, right? And you come, and you sign on to it, and you manage your training.

But you all may have your own learning management system. And up until recently, it wasn’t easy for us to share source files with you all to display our courses on your system so that you can continue to track the progress of your own learners as well. And we can maintain version control, because that was a worry that if we start sharing course files whenever we update a course, it becomes a logistical nightmare to make sure that the updated content is alive everywhere that we’ve shared it.

So with our new eLearning syndication system, you can put in a request to us. Again, you can reach that page from our lab training website. You can say, dear DLS, we really want to syndicate the BSC eLearning course on our learning management system. Can you please tell us how to do that? And we will connect you with the right team to make that happen.

There is MOU involved, and a lot of folks are like, oh, why do we have to sign a memorandum of understanding? But it’s really more of a terms of access, which is standard with any type of really– like upload or download, where you just agree to the terms of agreement. And it’s really just stating that partners aren’t going to charge for a resource, because, again, it’s government owned. It should be free.

People are going to change the content because– I wouldn’t be able to change it, but I’m sure people are very tech savvy. They can change it if they wanted to. So it’s more around that, more around those lines of the MOU. It’s more of a terms of access agreement. And then we get those files over to you, and you put them right on your system. Ah, thanks Kelly. And Kelly put the link in the chat. So thank you. You can access more information there as well.

KELLY WINTER: And just wanted– before we get to the next question, wanted to express out loud a comment from a OneLab Network member who said that they are eagerly working with their LMS manager to begin syndicating training courses. So they’re really excited about the possibility of syndication.

So on to the next question. I’m going to flip this around a little bit differently than it was asked just to make sure you’re clear of what the question is. So the question is, is there a CDC resource page that includes links to non-federal resources?

And so the context of this is that this person is preparing to launch a new web app to ensure the accuracy of COVID testing via comprehensive risk assessment. So they intend to offer it to COVID testing labs for free. And so that’s why they’re asking about whether there’s a page for non-federal link.

YESCENIA WILKINS: Yeah. No, that’s a great question. Not yet, but we are working on that. So we can certainly have– this is something we want to work with the network on is right now we’ve recently updated our OneLab and so you can take a look at that And I think there can definitely be a space fair of shared resources from network members for example.

So definitely keep us in the loop with that. You can, again, send us an email. Let us know what’s the resource that you want to share, because we’re having conversations right now about how best to do that. What was happening in the past is that– because it’s a heavy lift. Our website– I don’t want to get into the details, but it’s a heavy lift to keep our pages current, especially when links are changing often or maybe they break.

And so we decided– and it was really hard to find those resources from our partners. We’re kind of buried within this gigantic website. So we just needed to take a pause and strategize again on what’s the best way to do this? What’s the criteria for putting resources on our website that are from our partners?

How do we make them easy to access? How do we ensure that the links are still working all the time? So we’re in that process. So definitely if you have resources that you think are free, relevant to our audience, please share with us, because we definitely want to do that with this network.

KELLY WINTER: All right. So the next question is a simple one, but an important one for us to reiterate, which is, when will this presentation be shared, and where? And can people share it with non-OneLab Network members?

YESCENIA WILKINS: Yeah, absolutely. So all this information is public-facing. You can share the link with anyone you’d like to forward it to that you think it’d be helpful. Also encourage them to sign up for the OneLab Network if they haven’t already so that way they can receive all updates on the resources as well. And Kelly, remind me, it usually takes us about a week or two, right? To post everything for this meeting.

KELLY WINTER: Yes, we usually say two to be safe, but typically it’s more like one.

YESCENIA WILKINS: Yep, so just keep checking back. Probably like in a week, check back on the OneLab page to see if these resources are available.

KELLY WINTER: All right, so the next question, there’s a question around OneLab and whether it’s the same as ASCP. And by ASCP, I believe they mean the American Society for Clinical Pathology. So if you could just clarify a little bit about that.

YESCENIA WILKINS: Do we mean the OneLab Initiative? Is that–

KELLY WINTER: I believe so. That’s the context. It’s the OneLab Initiative as opposed to the American Society for Clinical Pathology.

YESCENIA WILKINS: So OneLab is an initiative. It’s not an organization. And we definitely want representatives from all relevant organizations to join if there’s a role in education and training. And again, the focus of OneLab right now is an initiative. And this network in particular is we’re focusing on education and training needs for right now to start with the clinical laboratory audience.

But eventually as we’ve talked about in the past, we want to look for bridging activities. Those activities that will help us bridge more with our public health education and training laboratory partners so that, again, we’re OneLab when it comes to approaching the education and training needs before, during, and after a response.

So that’s what I think makes us different and also inclusive of organizations and partners that have that role and that either want to contribute to this initiative in the network or are curious and think that the resources coming out of this network will be useful.

CHELSEA PARSONS: Awesome. I think that’s all the time we have for questions if we want to keep going. But if we didn’t get to your question like we said earlier, we’ll be sure to take note of them. And feel free to email the OneLab inbox.

YESCENIA WILKINS: All right, thank you, everyone. Really great questions. And as we’re planning– again, every time we do a meeting, we’re already planning for the next meeting. And so please save the date. We’re going to have a next meeting in June 2021. As soon as we have that specific date, we’ll be sending out notification of that.

But again, we want to get your feedback as I’ve mentioned over these meetings. What would you like to see discussed in OneLab? So head on back over to your, wherever you had it open, or you can open it again, same URL, same code. And we’re going to keep this open even after the meeting closes just to let you put your feedback in.

What topics would you like to be covered in future OneLab meeting? For example, you might want us to dive deeper into VR and how is that going to be useful, and let’s have an open discussion about that. Or maybe some of you really enjoyed those breakout sessions from the second meeting and you want to do more of that to discuss some of the results and how those can be utilized.

Or again, maybe you want to hear about a different type of resource more in depth. So please let us know. Again, if you don’t put it here, you can send us an email, because we definitely want to respond to– again, this is your network, so we definitely want you at the table when we’re deciding these meetings moving forward. And it’s a good way to keep the meetings fresh too so that everybody stays engaged.

And this one’s a little bit different. This format is a word cloud. So instead of individual responses, it’s going to create a nice word cloud for us. So that is something that we can reference each time we’re looking at planning for our next meeting.

OK, great. Well, thank you again for joining us to reviewing the findings of the COVID-19 rapid needs assessment. Again, as a reminder these slides and audio and the scripts will be available within the next two weeks, usually sooner like Kelly said. And as Chelsea mentioned, if we weren’t able to answer one of your questions today, please email us at

We’re looking forward to our continued collaboration and being able to assist you with all of your education and training needs. So thank you, everybody. Have a great weekend. Happy Friday. Happy end of Lab Week. And we will see you all soon. Bye-bye.