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A type of knitting, a Canadian television channel, and an ingredient in Gatorade.
These are some of the answers you may get if you ask non-laboratory staff about Cross Matching, CBC, and Protein Electrophoresis.
That's why there's National Med Lab Week (NMLW). Being celebrated from April 16 to 22 this year, it's a week for lab professionals to educate others on their work and highlight the laboratory's critical role in patient care.
"We're part of a profession that primarily works 'behind the scenes,'" says Dr. Runjan Chetty, Interim Medical Director of UHN's Laboratory Medicine Program (LMP). "So this is a chance for our lab staff to get in front of patients and answer some of the unknowns around what goes on in the lab."
Tying into this effort is a series of newly released videos that take viewers inside the labs at Toronto General Hospital, where LMP laboratory technologists show the step-by step process for conducting some of the lab's most common tests.
The videos, jointly created by UHN and the Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science (CSMLS), focus on: Cross Matching, Complete Blood Counts (CBC) and Protein Electrophoresis.
Since their release in mid-March, the three videos collectively have over 115,000 views on Facebook, and have been shared over 2,500 times.
The NMLW booth
Another way to learn about the role of UHN lab staff is to visit the NMLW booth rotating between UHN sites all week. The booth gives patients, visitors and staff an opportunity to talk to UHN lab professionals about their work.
Additionally, booth visitors can perform their own lab test to see what kind of bacteria is hidden on their phone or wallet – or sports fans may want to participate in the lab-themed selfie contest for a chance to win Toronto Blue Jays' tickets.
The booth will be managed by LMP staff and laboratory science students from The Michener Institute of Education at UHN, and will be running from 9 a.m. to noon, Tuesday to Friday. See full schedule below:
The scope of UHN labs
Laboratory testing has an impact on nearly every patient that visits a UHN hospital. With roughly 500 staff, LMP's team of laboratory experts conduct thousands of tests daily to help provide accurate and timely diagnoses to UHN patients.
"It takes the work of all LMP staff to deliver timely test results to UHN patients," says Dr. Chetty. "Our key focus is patient care and our teams provide what's needed to make the best medical decisions as patients move forward on their hospital journey."
For a comprehensive look at how the laboratory is involved with your health, visit
the CSMLS National Med Lab Week site