The Clinical Laboratory Science Program, established in 1976, is accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences. The Hispanic population has traditionally been under represented in allied health fields such as clinical laboratory science. Students in the program are primarily Hispanic, first generation, college students. Many are migrants, single parents or recent immigrants with a strong commitment to remain in the area. The program has a number of supports to help students succeed academically. Examples include:
· An orientation at the beginning of the program, which includes former students, current seniors, as well as laboratory managers
· A peer mentoring program which matches senior and junior students
· A faculty mentoring program
· A White Coat Ceremony symbolizing the code of ethics and responsibility students will assume as members of the health care team.
· An open house to bring families into the educational process since support is crucial to student success and integral to the Hispanic culture. In addition, the program obtained a 4-year, $1,375,000 Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students grant through HRSA. This encourages students to devote more time to their studies instead of working part time.
Since 1978, the program has grown from 10 students and 2 clinical sites to 23 students and 8 clinical sites a year. Graduates are eligible to sit for the national medical laboratory science certification exam.
The mission of the Clinical Laboratory Science Program is to provide a quality educational experience, which prepares clinical laboratory scientists for leadership roles in a multicultural health care system. Excellence in teaching is enhanced by faculty engaged in research, creative activities as well as professional service to the Profession, the University and the Community. The goals are:
1) To provide a quality education to students enrolled in the clinical laboratory science program that will allow them to perform as competent career entry professionals.
2) To provide a flexible curriculum, which meets the needs of the traditional as well as the non-traditional student.
To provide a curriculum that presents opportunities for students to develop leadership skills
The Clinical Laboratory Science Program accepts 23 students every fall semester. These students take 59 credit hours in 15 months.
· Since the inception of the program, there have been approximately 508 graduates and 418 are identified as Hispanic.
· Success on the national certification exams has been excellent. Since 2010, the program has a first time pass rate of 94%.
· In 2000 and again in 2007 a graduate of the program achieved the top score for their exam.
· The cohort graduating in December 2014 and taking the exam from January - December 2015 had a 100% pass rate.
· This cohort also had a graduation rate of 96% and a 96% job placement rate.
· The cohort slated to graduate December 2015 won 2nd place at the Texas Association for Clinical Laboratory Science Student Bowl competition and had 8 out of 21 (38%) students graduating with honors.
· Students in the program sponsored 2 blood drives during the year and participated in More Health and Operation Lone Star. They also performed glucose testing as a community service project in Alamo, Texas in Fall 2015.
The majority of the students have remained in the Rio Grande Valley and many are now in leadership positions within local healthcare facilities. Twelve healthcare entities were polled:
· 14 out of 17 Lab Directors or Assistant Lab Directors are graduates of the program.
· 30 out of 37 supervisors are graduates of the program.
Several graduates hold administrative positions at other levels in health care facilities. Such as infection control directors, director for Quality Management and Statistics, Vice President for Ambulatory Services, and Chief Administrative Director for a local hospital.