If you’re interested in a refresher on current best practices in laboratory medicine, you won’t want to miss AACC’s “Professional Practice in Clinical Chemistry: Supporting Patient Care from Cradle to Grave” conference in Philadelphia, April 26-30, 2015.

“This is geared toward anyone who is interested in laboratory medicine, not just post-doctoral trainees, but also those who have been working in laboratories and want to learn about other areas,” says Jim Nichols, PhD, committee chair for this course and a professor of pathology, microbiology, and immunology and medical director for clinical chemistry at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tennessee. Regardless of their current practice setting, attendees will find value in the course, he added. For example, an individual focused primarily on hematology testing might want to learn more about cancer diagnostics. “Many of these areas are now overlapping,” adds Nichols. Lab regulators and inspectors also will gain practical insights for their work, he suggests.

Speakers will take a case-based approach to teach best practices and current top issues in each subject area. Panel discussions will follow lectures in order to allow attendees to interact with speakers. “The whole course will take us through the patient—from conception to grave,” says Nichols. Intended to be comprehensive, Professional Practice in Clinical Chemistry will cover issues laboratorians face daily with testing in the prenatal period, in women’s health, men’s health, high-risk pregnancies, birth, pediatrics, adult medicine, infectious disease, cancer, geriatrics, pain management, and toxicology.

The conference has been offered in the past, but in 2015, “we are trying to take a fresh approach,” explains Nichols, who himself attended this conference while studying for his boards years ago. The emphasis will be on interactive learning. “We want to engage the audience, so we are going to have feedback,” enabling the audience to respond to questions, too, he adds. “We’re also going to have sessions in the evenings in which we will go through unknown cases and will be asking the audience to help solve diagnostic problems.”

Attending this course “sort of brings it all together and shows you areas that you are familiar with, as well as areas that you may not know a lot about,” observes Nichols, adding that it is also a great networking opportunity to meet other professionals with similar interests.

The cost to attend the conference—which offers 37 ACCENT credits and 37 CME credits—is $995 for AACC members and $1,220 for non-members. Register online.