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Making an impact: Dr. Larissa Matukas improving the world of microbiology

By Editor on 4/20/2023

National Volunteer Week: Dr. Larissa MatukasDr. Larissa Matukas is an Associate Professor in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology at the University of Toronto, Head of the Division of Microbiology, Unity Health Toronto, and an Infectious Diseases specialist at St. Michael’s Hospital. Her specific areas of interest and expertise are in microbiology quality improvement, application of novel diagnostics, utilization and stewardship and antimicrobial resistance. With over 60 publications in her areas of interest, she has been sought out as an expert to contribute to guidelines on implementing quality management system in microbiology, best practices in specimen collection, and Choosing Wisely Canada for microbiology. She is currently leading studies on the impact of modifying microbiology reporting to influence prescriber behaviour to address antimicrobial resistance, the effect of rapid tuberculosis testing on infection prevention and control practices and has investigated several improvements of COVID-19 diagnostics during the pandemic. She is a respected educator who has contributed to improving the delivery of medical microbiology post graduate medical training programs nationally and around the world. She has volunteered on the board of the Canadian Foundation for Infectious Diseases and is the current President.

Dr. Matukas has been a member of the IQMH Bacteriology and Parasitology Scientific Committees since 2019 and says, “It is a wonderfully humbling and rewarding experience to work with experts in bacteriology, mycology and parasitology from across the country. It is a true collaboration with a common goal to improve patient care by setting the bar at a high but achievable level for diagnostics. We discuss the merits of new evidence, what our role as a committee is to ensure that labs are aware of these new advances and plan the implementation of these new standards.”

On her experience with the committee, Dr. Matukas says, “We are continuously reviewing new evidence in the practice of medical microbiology and   introduce these updates through proficiency testing challenges. She adds, “We provide written committee comments that outline the background information and introduce the new knowledge that should be incorporated into routine standard operating practices. We provide guidance and support to labs that may struggle with adopting the new guidance by outlining the impact on patient care and providing tailored suggestions to improve the quality of their work.”

As a scholar, Dr. Matukas says she has adopted the motto that, “I am in the business of knowledge creation and knowledge dissemination. Being a committee member fuels my mission of knowledge dissemination. I am passionate about improving the lives of patients with infectious diseases, by improving the quality of specimen collection, introducing novel diagnostics, and reducing antimicrobial resistance.” Dr. Matukas sees her role on the committee to engage on a broad reach to address these goals. “Given my specialized training I see it as my responsibility to share this knowledge for the betterment of microbiology labs and for the patients that we serve.”

IQMH Proficiency Testing is grateful for the commitment and support of the medical diagnostics community, and we appreciate our volunteers who donate their time and valuable expertise to our programs. Thank you, Dr. Matukas!

National Volunteer Week

Institute for Quality Management in Healthcare

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