IQMH brings together experts in the field of laboratory medicine to elevate confidence in the healthcare system.
The IQMH Proficiency Testing Scientific Committees are composed of physicians, technologists and scientists who provide advice to IQMH regarding the fundamental design of Proficiency Testing surveys and ensure that clinically-relevant selection of challenges and appropriate performance evaluation are developed and implemented each year. IQMH is grateful for the commitment and support of the medical laboratory community and appreciates all the volunteers who donate their time and valuable expertise to our programs.
It’s our privilege to recognize Dr. Angela Rutledge, PhD, FCACB, who has served IQMH as a volunteer since 2018. During her last semester of undergraduate studies at McMaster University, Angela took a course in clinical biochemistry and instantly knew that she wanted to become a clinical biochemist. Since a PhD would be required for that profession, she applied to the University of Toronto for graduate studies, and then completed a PhD in lipoprotein metabolism.
Dr. Rutledge was then extremely fortunate to be able to complete a post-doctoral clinical biochemistry training program at McMaster University. Her good fortune continued when she was hired as a clinical biochemist and section head of the endocrinology and maternal serum screening laboratory at London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) in 2013 and was eventually able to complete her exams to obtain certification from the Canadian Academy of Clinical Biochemistry.
She has since come to love endocrinology. Dr. Rutledge took over responsibility for protein electrophoresis in addition to endocrinology testing when LHSC began to refer out prenatal screening instead of performing the testing on-site. Since 2019, she has also overseen the biochemistry section of the laboratories at Alexandra Hospital Ingersoll and Tillsonburg District Memorial Hospital on behalf of LHSC. Dr. Rutledge is grateful for the path her life has taken and the opportunities she has had, and she has no idea what field of work she would have gone into if not for that undergraduate course in clinical biochemistry.
We asked Dr. Rutledge the following questions about her volunteer experience and here's how she responded:
Which scientific committee do you volunteer on and how long have you served?
I have been a member of the Endocrinology and Immunology Scientific Committee since 2018. I joined the committee when they were looking for a new member with endocrinology expertise. I thought my knowledge of endocrinology could be helpful to the committee and that I would also learn a lot by joining.
Do you volunteer on committees with other professional organizations?
I do not at the moment. The routine responsibilities of my job, teaching duties at Western University, various research projects, and the IQMH committee keep me very busy. I want to be able to fully commit to my responsibilities and not be too busy to do so. I also have not found another committee that I think I would enjoy as much or would suit my personal strengths and weaknesses as well as the IQMH committee.
Do you have any achievements that you are particularly proud of through your work with the scientific committee?
I would have to say that the achievements from the committee that I’m most proud of are the two manuscripts we have recently prepared based on IQMH patterns-of-practice survey data:
- Rutledge AC, Johnston A, Bailey D, Booth RA, Edmond P, Leung V, Veljkovic K. Survey of renin and aldosterone testing practices by Ontario laboratories - providing insight into best practices. Pract Lab Med, 2021; 25: e00229, DOI: 10.1016/j.plabm.2021.e00229.
- Rutledge AC, Johnston A, Booth RA, Veljkovic K, Bailey D, Vandenberghe H, Waite G, Allen L, Don-Wauchope A, Chan PC, Stemp J, Edmond P, Leung V, Aslan B. Lot verification practices in Ontario clinical chemistry laboratories – results of a patterns-of-practice survey. REVISED MANUSCRIPT SUBMITTED TO Pract Lab Med in July 2022.
There is a large amount of data on current laboratory practices available from participants of IQMH proficiency testing surveys. We have been able to provide insight into how laboratories handle testing of renin and aldosterone as well as verification of new reagent and calibrator lots, as compared to what is currently considered best practice, and what deficiencies exist in the current recommendations. We believe this is valuable not only for laboratories that participate in IQMH surveys, but for all laboratories across the world to compare their practices to peers and recommendations.
This information may also be useful for those who prepare guidelines on best practices to realize what is practical for laboratories and what is not, and what may still require more clarification or further research. We hope to be able to prepare other manuscripts based on survey data in the future.
What would you say to someone considering volunteering on a scientific committee?
Go for it. And if your experience is anything like mine, you won’t regret it. I have found the other committee members and all the IQMH staff to be wonderful people to work with. While we stay busy completing work on the committee, trying to maintain and improve quality in laboratory testing, we have fun at the same time. Everyone is very collegial and supportive.
I have also learned an incredible amount, such as how others deal with troubleshooting various laboratory issues. I will miss being a part of the committee when my term eventually comes to an end.