The Institute for Infectious Animal Diseases (IIAD), a Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Center of Excellence, in partnership with the Norman Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture, Texas A&M AgriLife Research, the Texas A&M University System and BM Consultants, recently trained four senior executive laboratory managers from the Bangladesh Livestock Research Institute (BLRI).
This training was conducted in response to a need for additional personnel to receive bioinformatics training for avian influenza and training conducted on laboratory management, quality management and building laboratory networks. Through an in-person workshop and a follow-on project, the program focused on quality management systems and executive laboratory management – aiming to strengthen capacity for sample collection, receiving and diagnostic processing, quality management systems, and tracking and reporting of disease information.
In September 2016, Barbara Martin, M.S., founder of BM Consultants, LLC, and David Korcal, BSMT, ASCP, Managing Director of Korcal Practical Quality, LLC, traveled to Phnom Penh, Cambodia to host a 10-day, in-person, train-the-trainer workshop to teach participants quality management and laboratory management principles. During the workshop, participants received 80 hours of hands-on training to provide them with both the skills necessary to oversee laboratory operations and the best management practices to detect and diagnose diseases in a laboratory setting. The training was consistent with animal health guidelines and expectations from the World Organisation for Animal Health and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
“The trainees now have the technical knowledge in executive laboratory management and quality management systems to implement changes into their laboratory operations to improve their efficiency and effectiveness,” said Miguel Gonzalez, MIA, Program Coordinator for IIAD. “This is a continuation of training efforts sponsored by the United States Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service, to improve the technical capacity of the staff and personnel and the Bangladesh Livestock Research Institute.”
After the participants returned to BLRI, they completed a follow-on project over the course of a three-week period in October and November 2016. This follow-on project was performed to continue educational development and provide the participants the opportunity to implement the information and knowledge gained into their daily laboratory operations.
During the follow-on project, participants were given three situational scenarios to work through as a group. The first scenario focused on laboratory management topics such as sample processing and throughput, the creation and use of standard operating procedures, and the establishment of appropriate laboratory workflow using existing floor plans. During the second scenario, the participants addressed additional situations, including: establishing personnel roles and responsibilities, task delegation, setting performance expectations, determining costs related to diagnostic testing, managing laboratory supplies and reagents, and testing prioritization under an emergency situation. The third and final scenario focused on efficient equipment usage, the creation and optimization of a new laboratory, and how to best structure mission statements and organizational values.
“We covered so much material during the two weeks together, we needed a way to determine if the training was effective and the trainees developed the skills necessary to be laboratory managers,” Martin said. “We used the scenarios to assess the trainees’ understanding of the materials as well as their ability use the skills gained during the training to address situations commonly occurring in laboratories. The trainees demonstrated they had mastered the concepts taught and developed skills related to the training objectives and it was very rewarding to see the thoroughness and quality of the answers.”
Upon completion of the program, there were requests for additional technical assistance for future trainings. Participants provided feedback about the need for additional training in the following areas: cost-benefit analysis to assist in determining the direct and indirect costs associated with participating in donor-funded projects; implementation of a quality management system to include goals and timelines; how to address corrective and preventive actions; and setting up labs within a network.