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SDSU medical laboratory science program receives $750,000 award to improve student learning

A medical laboratory sciences student works at a microscope in a lab on campus.

The medical laboratory science program at South Dakota State University has received a $750,000 award from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention through the South Dakota Department of Health to promote the medical laboratory profession in South Dakota. 

This award marks a major step forward for the growing medical laboratory science program at SDSU. 

How the program will grow 

“This award brings a lot of exciting opportunities that have been on hold,” Stacie Lansink, director of the medical laboratory science program, said. 

Through this award, the medical laboratory science program will be able to update lab equipment to be used by on-campus students. The funds will also be used to purchase additional technology that will improve the program’s online offerings. 

April Nelsen, a clinical assistant professor in the program, noted that the funds will be used to purchase new equipment like a slide scanner and microscopes, which will improve learning for both on-campus and remote, train-in-place students. 

“The slide scanner will allow train-in-place students to perform microscopic work from their site, and the new microscopes and technology would allow instructors to monitor student learning in real time,” Nelsen explained. 

In addition to new equipment and technology, the funds will also be used to improve recruiting and grow programs within the department through increased scholarship support. 

Each of these new opportunities will directly improve student learning in the program. 

Addressing a workforce shortage 

Both Lansink and Nelsen noted that there is an increasing workforce demand for medical laboratory professionals, pointing to a 2022 Forbes article highlighting the workforce shortage

Medical laboratory professionals play an important role in health care. Lab tests inform approximately two-thirds of all medical decisions made by physicians. 

While support from health care systems and alumni is still needed, Lansink explained that this award is a major step to improving the delivery of the program and lowering the financial barrier of entry into the program. 

The result is a higher quality and more accessible medical laboratory science program that will be able to continue to address the growing workforce need.