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Lab Culture is a podcast by the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL) about public health, laboratory science, and everything in between. Join us for discussions about infectious diseases, food safety, emergency preparedness, newborn screening, environmental health, global health, and more.

Lab Culture is a podcast by the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL) about public health, laboratory science, and everything in between. Join us for discussions about infectious diseases, food safety, emergency preparedness, newborn screening, environmental health, global health, and more.
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Lab Culture is a podcast by the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL) about public health, laboratory science, and everything in between. Join us for discussions about infectious diseases, food safety, emergency preparedness, newborn screening, environmental health, global health, and more.




Lab Culture Extra: Progress in Sierra Leone

APHL has a long history of involvement in Sierra Leone where we’ve provided technical assistance to strengthen the nation’s laboratory system for over a decade. Following the 2014-2015 Ebola outbreak, we were invited back to build laboratory response capability for Ebola and other highly infectious diseases. We found there was a lot to be done: a strategic plan for the laboratory system, renovation of the central lab, training and mentoring of lab staff, reducing turnaround time for Ebola...


Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha: Storytelling and the Flint Water Crisis

Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, author of What the Eyes Don't See: A Story of Crisis, Resistance, and Hope in an American City, joins us for an interview about the importance of storytelling in public health. Did Dr. Mona's successful use of narratives allow Flint's story to be as resilient as the people who lived it? Links Is water in Flint safe to drink? It’s not just a question of chemistry. [Op-ed by Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha] What the Eyes Don't See: A Story of Crisis, Resistance, and Hope in...


2019 Annual Meeting: Day 3

Today was day three of the annual meeting! We started the day with awards ceremony and concluded with the member assembly, listening to many great speakers in between. For many, the highlight was the Dr. Katherine Kelley Distinguished Lecture delivered by Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha. Dr. Mona is a pediatrician, scientist, researcher, activist and author of What the Eyes Don’t See. Her research and the work of her team exposed the deliberate effort to cover up the Flint water crisis and the lead...


2019 APHL Annual Meeting: Day 2

It was another great day at the annual meeting in St. Louis! As the attendees interviewed on this episode will share, some of the highlights included Poster Speed Dating, learning about new technology from exhibitors and, of course, networking. Follow #APHL on Twitter and Instagram for more updates!


2019 Annual Meeting: Day 1

We're in St. Louis for the 2019 APHL Annual Meeting! This episode is a round-up of all the excitement of the first day. It was fascinating and exhausting, just as the annual meeting should be. Follow #APHL on Twitter and Instagram for more updates!


Alaska state virology lab: Freezing temps, wild animals, and extremely dedicated staff

Every area of our country is unique in ways that make public health laboratory work vary from one state or locality to another. But just as Alaska is different from the lower-48 states in most ways, their public health lab's work is too. Have you ever considered all the ways it might be different to work in the Alaska state lab in Fairbanks? This episode of Lab Culture reveals some of the many ways in which working in Alaska is unlike anywhere else. Jayme Parker, manager, Virology Unit,...


Lab Culture Extra: How the WI State Lab Developed a Test for Brodifacoum -- and Why It Matters

In the spring of 2018 patients suffering from profuse bleeding swamped emergency rooms in Illinois and Wisconsin. The cause? Synthetic cannabinoids laced with rat poison. When an outbreak of contaminated synthetic cannabinoids reached Wisconsin in 2018, scientists at the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene (WSLH) rushed to develop the first quantitative method for diagnostic testing of brodifacoum, a powerful anticoagulant used in rat poison. Thanks to their work, patients with...


Extra: Surge of West Nile Virus in North Dakota

What happens inside a public health lab when a health threat sends it into overdrive? Find out how the North Dakota lab met a surge in West Nile Virus in 2018 in this APHL in Action Lab Culture Extra. Links: APHL in Action Archives CDC Preliminary Maps and Data for 2018, West Nile Virus CDC ArboNET Disease Map North Dakota Department of Health – West Nile Virus Key Factors Influencing the Incidence of West Nile Virus in Burleigh County, North Dakota


Exploring bioinformatics: From fellow to full time in Virginia

Kevin Libuit went from the APHL-CDC Bioinformatics Fellowship to a contractor to working full-time as a bioinformatician at the Virginia state lab (VA Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services (DCLS)). First he talks about when he discovered bioinformatics as a field and how the fellowship propelled his career. Then Kevin takes the mic and interviews Dr. Denise Toney, director of Virginia DCLS, about the value and growing need for bioinformaticians in public health...


Introducing: PKU Life Podcast with Kevin Alexander

Fifty-five years ago, newborn screening was born. At the time, though, that little heel prick was performed to screen for only one condition: phenylketonuria (PKU). Without early intervention, babies born with PKU faced severe cognitive, behavioral and other neurological disorders. The advent of PKU newborn screening allowed health care providers and families to make critical changes to a baby’s diet to prevent those consequences. Today, December 3, is PKU Awareness Day. It’s hard to say...


Informatics, health equity and bat snuggles

Joanne Bartkus, APHL's board president and director of the Public Health Laboratory at the Minnesota Department of Health, sat down with Scott Becker, our executive director, and Gynene Sullivan, editor of Lab Matters magazine, to talk about priorities for the year. Their conversation ranged from informatics to health equity to... snuggling with a bat?! Joanne Bartkus, PhD, D(ABMM) Director, Public Health Laboratory, Minnesota Department of Health Scott J. Becker, MS Executive director,...


What a Day! Day 3 of the APHL Annual Meeting

Day 3 of the APHL Annual Meeting was a big one! We had several captivating sessions including this year's Katherine Kelley Distinguished Lecturer, Maryn McKenna, renowned journalist and author. Listen to today's episode to hear a few attendees share what they took away from the day.


Reporting from the Exhibit Hall: Day 2 of the APHL Annual Meeting

A huge component of any APHL Annual Meeting is the exhibit hall. This year we were joined by 68 exhibitors, all of whom were sharing new and interesting products, services and technologies with meeting attendees. In today's episode, we chat with representatives from Roche, Bio-Rad Laboratories and Hologic. Learn more about APHL's corporate membership and other opportunities.


Hello, Pasadena! Day 1 of the APHL Annual Meeting

We are in sunny Pasadena, California for the 2018 APHL Annual Meeting! Here is a little look at what we did on the first day. Stay tuned for updates every day through June 5. 2018 APHL Annual Meeting and Twelfth Government Environmental Laboratory Conference Join the conversation using #APHL on: Twitter Instagram Facebook


Bitten by the public health bug: How I found my lab niche

The people who work in public health laboratories make a difference in your community daily. In this third episode, members of the Emerging Leader Program cohort 10 sit down with their peers to hear how their public health laboratory careers have made an impact. ELP cohort 10 members featured in this episode: Dana WhiteMississippi Public Health LabDr.Ona AdairSouth Carolina Public Health LaboratoryDr. Harmeet KaurLabAspire Assistant Director FellowKristen DurieNew York State Food...


What if there were no public health labs?

Maybe the saying is true: you don’t know what you had until it is gone. For the families in this episode, the absence of public health laboratories turned their worlds upside down and negatively impacted both the present and future. These families represent us all and highlight the vulnerabilities that would exist if there were no public health laboratories working continuously to keep our communities and populations safe. This is the second episode in the series produced by members of the...


Public health labs do that?!

Public health laboratories do a great deal of work that impacts the daily lives of everyone in America. Do you know exactly how much they’re doing? The first episode produced by members of the Emerging Leader Program cohort 10 looks at some of the work performed by public health lab scientists. (*indicates ELP cohort 10 member) Water Quality Testing Interviewer: *Amanda Hughes, program manager of ambient air quality monitoring, State Hygienic Lab at the University of...


What is the APHL Emerging Leader Program?

What is the Emerging Leader Program (ELP)? APHL staff, Pandora Ray and Kajari Shah, share how the ELP got its start and how it has progressed. This year's ELP cohort is producing three episodes for Lab Culture that will be released over the coming weeks. Stay tuned! APHL Emerging Leader Program


Leaders for a TB Free World

Every year on March 24, APHL recognizes World TB Day, a day to focus on the valuable work of our members and partners. While tuberculosis is often considered a disease of the past, it is resurging and presenting significant new public health challenges including drug resistance. This World TB Day, we are sharing an insightful conversation between two TB laboratory leaders: Dr. Marie-Claire Rowlinson, assistant laboratory director, Bureau of Public Health Laboratories, Florida Department of...


APHL's International Team Meeting

In November, Scott Becker, APHL’s executive director, traveled to Johannesburg, South Africa for the second APHL International Team Meeting. While he was there, he sat down with five members of the APHL international team to discuss their work and what led them to pursue a career in laboratory science. The APHL International Team Meeting allows for US-based APHL leadership and global health program staff and consultants working in-country to discuss organizational operations and key...