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Howard Community College Names Laboratory in Honor of COLA, a Nonprofit Medical Laboratory Accreditor

Howard Community College named its medical technician laboratory on Monday in honor of COLA, a Columbia-based laboratory accreditation, education, and consultation organization. COLA recently pledged $25,000 to the Howard Community College Educational Foundation to establish an endowment that supports scholarships for students studying to become medical laboratory technicians.

The newly named COLA medical technician lab is located in the college’s Health Sciences building, which opened in January 2013. The lab provides hands-on instructional space for students to learn how to prepare specimens, take samples, conduct tests, analyze results, and work with instrumentation that would be found in hospitals, doctors’ offices, or research facilities.

“When COLA recognized the growing shortage in the laboratory workforce, I am grateful that the organization reached out to Howard Community College to collaborate on finding local solutions and supporting our medical technician curricula,” said Dr. Kate Hetherington, president of Howard Community College. “I applaud COLA and its leadership for partnering with the college to make an immediate difference in the lives of our students and to strengthen the career pathways in our community.”New technology in laboratories also requires that professionals administering laboratory tests have high-level training and expertise. The COLA medical technician lab boasts hematology and chemistry analyzers from such companies as Abbott Diagnostics, Sysmex, Carolina Chemistries, Alpha Wassermann, Siemens, Bayer, and Fisher Scientific.

“By investing in Howard Community College, we are investing in the future of health care,” said Doug Beigel, chief executive officer of COLA. “With the national shortage of health care professionals, COLA understands that community colleges are integral to closing the gap and ensuring this nation has well-trained, and well-educated laboratory technicians.”

Maintaining a strong market of qualified health professionals is critical. By integrating the medical laboratory technician curricula with other health science fields on campus, Howard Community College ensures that students learn to work together as teams, preparing for their future places of employment, where healthcare professionals and medical technicians collaborate to make the best decisions for patient care.

COLA is a physician-directed organization whose purpose is to promote excellence in laboratory medicine and patient care through a program of voluntary education, consultation, and accreditation. It serves the medical communities by offering educational opportunities to those involved in the laboratory sciences, and this commitment extends to students to aspire to be laboratory professionals. COLA also launched a “Give Back Day” program to introduce young people to lab science careers through talks in schools and colleges.

The Howard Community College Educational Foundation is a nonprofit organization that provides funds for scholarships, grants and programs that support Howard Community College. The COLA endowment will ensure future generations of medical laboratory technicians have the financial support they need to pursue their education.

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