Annual NSH Symposia Convention Blog 2014

nsh_logo_2014_02The center of the histology world will be deep in the heart of Texas this week. The National Society for Histotechnology is hosting its 40th Annual Symposia Convention in Austin, Texas from August 22-27. Many of our Mayo Clinic colleagues will be blogging from this year's conference, providing you highlights, new discoveries, photos, and the lighter-side of histotechnology.  Follow along all week for updates.

Posted on Aug. 27 at 4:45 p.m.

NSH Wrap-Up

By Jesse Schafer, Histology Supervisor, Ashli Schedlbauer, Histology Technician, and Anthony Liss, Histology/Gross Cutting Technician

NSH was a trip highly worthwhile, as it directly aligns with Mayo Clinic’s mission of putting the needs of the patient first through sharing of best practices, continuing education, and innovation of processes and technology. As a team, we gathered more than a dozen unique opportunities to improve the safety, quality, and efficiency of our clinical Histology Laboratory practice.

It was a privilege to have the opportunity to attend and to join, mingle, and meet colleagues from across the world who share the same passion of improving the quality of patient care. The connections made will continue to be a vibrant conduit for continuing the exchange of best practices and implementation of new products and services. - Jesse

Austin, Texas is a great city with so many amazing things to see! I am so thankful to everyone who helped make all of it possible for my colleagues and I to participate in this NSH event. We had a great time, made great new friends from all over, and learned a lot of new things that we can bring back to the laboratory and hopefully help Mayo’s future! - Ashli

It was such a wonderful experience attending the 2014 NSH National Symposium. It was great to be able to meet with other Histology Techs and laboratory leadership from across the country and around the world. I was able to discuss some techniques and protocols that we use on a daily basis here in the Histology Laboratory at Mayo Clinic Rochester to help other labs increase patient care, patient safety, and turnaround times. It was also a great experience to hear what techniques other labs use.

I’m excited to share what I learned from other Techs with my coworkers and colleagues in the Histology Laboratory. I’m also thrilled to share some of the new ideas and techniques that I learned from the educational classes that I took. It’s Mayo Clinic’s, and my personal, goal to increase the already high standard of patient care and patient safe in any way possible. This was a great experience overall and I hope to attend next years. - Anthony

Posted on Aug. 26 at 12:45 p.m.

NSH Vendor Product and Equipment Exhibits

By Jesse Schafer, Histology Supervisor

NSH vendor product and equipment exhibits
NSH vendor product and equipment exhibits

I'm eager to debrief with the Mayo Clinic NSH travel team to prioritize the opportunities in leadership, education, and clinical workflow identified during the conference workshops and exhibits.

The NSH Vendor Exhibits were impressive. Nearly 100 vendors were present, from well-known manufacturers to upstart innovators, to demonstrate new ways to deliver healthcare within today's advanced clinical laboratories. A few examples of the technology opportunities I identified included:

  • Novel tissue cutting systems that may reduce employee fatigue during microtomy and improve turnaround
  • Innovative tissue reagents that are environmentally minded and augment the quality of patient diagnostics
  • Re-engineered equipment designs that enhance workplace ergonomics and employee safety
  • Alternative supply sourcing options that may improve the economics of clinical supply acquisition and favorably impact health care affordability.

I intend to promptly pursue all of these leads in partnership with my clinical colleagues. I was pleased to observe that, in most all respects, the Mayo Clinic Histology Laboratory employs preeminent and innovative technologies and processes across the breath of our clinical practice.

Perhaps what I'm most appreciative of in Mayo Clinic's holistic commitment to serve the needs of the patient is the inclusion and adatability of our desire to pursue new workflows and technologies that strategically advance the quality of patient care. Accordingly, the Histology Laboratory of Mayo Clinic of Rochester, Minn. may elect to participate in the beta evaluation of several new products and technologies observed during the symposium.

Our team made multiple contacts with clinical professionals around the world that will facilitate continued sharing of new ideas and best practices. Through ongoing engagements with likeminded professionals, Mayo's mission to serve the needs of the patient first and to openly share what we've learned in 150 years of service to the patient is increasingly fulfilled.

Posted on Aug. 25 at 3:10 p.m.

NSH Workshops

By Ashli Schedlbauer, Histology Technician

Day 3 at NSH started off with some Starbucks coffee, eggs, bacon, and fruit for breakfast, while listening to a speaker on proper specimen labeling and tracking. After, I went to a class discussing grossing tissue and certain processes that work well, in addition to the specific schooling or degrees needed for the grossing room based on CAP regulations. It was very interesting to learn about.

I also had the opportunity to see some amazing new equipment at the vendor fair this morning! I saw new, cool embedding centers that the laboratory would love, and a new microtome which has many new features. I wish I could show my coworkers some of these cool toys!

This afternoon, I am attending the workshop, "Troubleshooting Silver Stains in the Histology Laboratory," which focuses on breaking down all the silver strains into four types: Argentaffin (Fontana-Masson); Argyrophil (Churukian-Schenk, Steiner, Bielschowski, etc.); Oxidation/Reducation (Gordon-Sweet, PASM, GMS, etc.); and Metal substitution (Von Kossa). This workshop also explains the chemistry of the stains, and correlates the chemistry with the troubleshooting of staining difficulties.

Posted on Aug. 25 at 10:40 a.m.

Day 3 at NSH

By Anthony Liss, Histology/Gross Cutting Technician

Good morning from Austin, TX! This morning, I attended a talk, "Uniform Labeling of Slides and Blocks in Surgical Pathology," which focused on the guidelines for labeling created by the College of American Pathologists (CAP) and the NSH. This lecture explained the origins of the project and the conclusions the committee has drawn based on its research and surveying. It was good to know that the Anatomic Pathology Laboratory at Mayo Clinic is at the forefront on this issue and striving to improve patient safety.

I also attended a workshop titled "Surgical Pathology Dissection: A Histotech's Guide to Grossing." This workshop reviewed the fundamentals of gross dissection such as orientation, dissection, marking, description, and sampling. It also examined the role of the pathologist, pathology assistant, and histotechnologist in this evolving area of the laboratory. The workshop was a great review on new techniques for gross dissection.

This morning, I also have the opportunity to take a few tours of new products that some of the venders have to offer. I'm looking to play with some new toys!

Later, I will be attending, "Histochemical Stains in Diagnosis-Views of the Histotechnologist and Pathologist," which focuses on the use of special histochemical stains to solve specific diagnostic problems.

Posted on Aug. 24 at 8:00 p.m.

Enjoying Austin, TX

By Jesse Schafer, Histology Supervisor

The Mayo Clinic NSH 2014 team took some time to enjoy Austin, TX!

Enjoying Austin, TX

Posted on Aug. 24 at 2:00 p.m.

NHS Poster Presentations

By Ashli Schedlbauer, Histology Technician, and Anthony Liss, Histology/Gross Cutting Technician

I attended an afternoon session about research and food and drug administration, and how it relates to histology — very interesting information! I also presented my poster, which went great. I am very happy with my poster and can't wait to see the results! - Ashli

ashli poster
Ashli Schedlbauer poster: "Continuous Flow in a Large and Fast Paced Histology Lab"

This afternoon, I attended the class, "Antibody Challenge," and learned more about how and why pathologists and consultants order IHC panels. It was very helpful to understand why panels are ordered and what the pathologists are looking for.

This afternoon was also the poster presentation. There were a lot of great posters and many interested viewers with great questions! It was a great experience to learn and interact with other poster presenters. I will also be attending the class, "Transitional Research - Shortening the Time from Bench to Bedside." This will be the last class of the day. I'm looking forward to exploring more of what Austin, TX has to offer. As the Austin motto says, "Keep Austin Weird." - Anthony

anthony poster
Anthony Liss poster, "The Reduction of Tissue Floaters in the Histology Lab"

Posted on Aug. 24 at 11:30 a.m.

NHS Lecture: "An Overview of ISH and IHC for the Histotechnician"

By Jesse Schafer, Histology Supervisor

A small snapshot of the thousands of Histotechnology professionals that are attending from around the world.
A small snapshot of the thousands of Histotechnology professionals that are attending from around the world.

Day two of the NSH symposium is off to a great start! I just finished a lecture, "An Overview of ISH and IHC for the Histotechnician," presented by Dr. Dale Telgenhoff, associate professor and Histotechnology program director at Tarleton State University.

Molecular techniques are routinely ordered in most histology laboratories. Dr. Telgenhoff's presentation focused on the basic science of ISH and IHC, assay development and optimization, and diagnostic, theranostic, and prognostic value to the patient.

I've been highly impressed with the caliber of the presentations thus far. It's a privilege to be part of a focused medical professional opportunity to broaden histopathology understanding — particularly as I look for insights that may further enhance the performance of the Mayo Clinic of Rochester, Minn. Histology Laboratory services.

Posted on Aug. 24 at 8:00 a.m.

Day 2 at NHS

By Ashli Schedlbauer, Histology Technician, and Anthony Liss, Histology/Gross Cutting Technician

Austin, TX, of the largest urban colonies in the world.
Austin, TX, of the largest urban colonies in the world.

Last night was great fun with some great people, but today is game day! It's time for a class on "Implementation of WSI for Diagnostic Purposes: The Role of Histotechnologists." Then, I'm off to set up my poster on "The Continuous Flow Method and Presentation!" Then, hopefully I will get some well needed food with some great people before they leave the conference to fly home. Later this afternoon, I will attend another class and dinner and hang out at the hotel. - Ashli

The second day at the NSH conference started off with a tasty continental breakfast and coffee! My first class today is, "Antibody Challenge." After this class, my colleagues and I from Mayo Clinic Rochester will be presenting our posters. There are four of us presenting in which three of the posters are centered around improving and promoting patient care and safety. Stay tuned for more fun and updates! - Anthony

Posted on Aug. 23 at 1:08 p.m.

NHS Session: "Grossing Dermatology Specimens - Techniques and Gross Pathology"

By Jesse Schafer, Histology Supervisor

Grossing Dermatology SpecimensI just finished my first NSH session titled: "Grossing Dermatology Specimens - Techniques and Gross Pathology." It was highly engaging, well structured, and contained a comprehensive range of content. The course was taught by Angela Johnsrud, assistant supervisor of the Mayo Clinic of Rochester, Minn. Histology Laboratory.

A key takeaway for me was a greater awareness of the close relationship between the level of accuracy and care provided at the time of grossing and the direct impact upon the diagnostic quality of the subsequent tissue submitted for pathologist review. The course included hands-on grossing experience of preserved tissue, as well as recommended grossing conventions, best practices, and case study examples.

Additionally, I gained a greater level of admiration for the passion the members of the Mayo Clinic team sincerely possess and emanate both in the clinical setting as well as amongst likeminded peers and medical professionals for the shared mission of compassionate and excellent patient care.

Posted on Aug. 23 at 9:42 a.m.

Day 1 Recap at NHS

By Jesse Schafer, Histology Supervisor, Anthony Liss, Histology/Gross Cutting Technician, and Ashli Schedlbauer, Histology Technician

I started day 1 at NHS with a morning session on dermatology grossing. It was fantastic! - Jesse

The NHS convention center patio during morning break.
The NHS convention center patio during morning break.

The flights were enjoyable, and I'm all settled into my hotel. I got my registration complete and about to start my workshop titled, "Effective Employee Training: How a Training Resource and Action Committee (TARC) Team Wins the Race." I'm looking forward to improving my trainer abilities and techniques. Stay tuned for more updates! - Anthony

We just arrived in Austin, TX and are having a blast! We took a cab from the airport and the driver told us of some great places to eat and to see live music. The hotel rooms are unbelievable and the view is nice too! I had my first workshop of the convention on "training." There are many diverse people here and I couldn't be more blessed to have this opportunity to network and exchange ideas and challenges with other fellow Histotechs! - Ashli

ashli conference


Posted on Aug. 22 at 10:17 p.m.

Opening Session for First Participants

By Jesse Schafer, Histology Supervisor

Opening sessionThe NHS opening session consisted of delicious food, prizes, and ice breakers! During the session, I met the Histology supervisor from the Peter MacCullum Cancer Center in Australia, in addition to the Minnesota chapter president for Histology. We swapped ideas, methods, and stories about our diverse experiences.

NSH attendees are a really fun group of professionals to get to know. Histology personnel have sincere passion for their patient care services. The staff of the Mayo Clinic, Histology Laboratory of Rochester, Minn. — in my opinion — are an archetype of this same passion.

Posted on Aug. 22 at 6:26 p.m.

Welcome to Austin, TX

By Jesse Schafer, Histology Supervisor

Greetings friends of Mayo! I have just arrived in Austin, TX for the 40th Annual National Society for Histology (NSH) Symposium. This year's convention is held in the Live Music Capital of the World, Austin, TX, Aug. 22 - 27, 2014. The NSH Symposium/Convention is the event for histotechnologists to discover new methods, share best practices, and preview what the latest vendors have to offer. I'm eager to discover new technologies, process innovation, and leadership perspectives to infuse with Mayo Clinic of Rochester's world class Histology Laboratory.


Posted on Aug. 22 at 1:37 p.m.

Workshop: "Validations: What IHC Means to Me"

Erin Grimes, HT(ASCP)
Erin Grimes, HT(ASCP)

On Saturday, Aug. 23, Erin Grimes,HT(ASCP), will deliver Workshop #27, "Validations: What IHC Means to Me." The workshop is scheduled from 3-4:30 p.m. in Ballroom E of the Austin Convention Center.

About the Workshop

Validation and optimization of assays, antibodies and equipment contribute significantly to high-quality patient care and also increase laboratory performance measures. Without accurate, well-documented validations, test results may not be accurate or reliable. The College of American Pathologists (CAP) and other accrediting agencies have regulatory requirements for validation protocols and associated documentation. In this educational session, the validation and optimization processes will be detailed in straightforward steps to ensure consistency, accuracy and manageability of these integral components of laboratory operations. A focus on validation of immunohistochemistry assays will be highlighted for histology lab personnel.

Posted on Aug. 22 at 2:28 p.m.

Workshop: "Grossing Dermatology Specimens: Techniques and Gross Pathology"

Angela Johnsrud, HT (ASCP)
Angela Johnsrud, HT (ASCP)

On Saturday, Aug. 23, Angela Johnsrud, HT(ASCP), will deliver Workshop #10, "Grossing Dermatology Specimens: Techniques And Gross Pathology." The workshop will be held in room 11AB of the Austin Convention Center.

About the Workshop

Dermatology specimens may be common in the histology laboratory; however, their clinical indications and gross pathology can be complex and compelling. Technicians that handle dermatology specimens can benefit from a basic overview of different types of dermatology specimens, including a review of how and why they are taken. This workshop will cover what happens during the grossing process, what to look for when grossing and the essential components of a complete gross description. Common pathological conditions related to dermatology biopsies will be reviewed and examples will be provided. Participants will be able to handle, describe and dissect a range of dermatology specimens in order to enhance their understanding of the specimens themselves and the grossing techniques that ultimately support diagnostic quality and excellent patient care.

Posted on Aug. 22 at 12:38 p.m.

Five abstracts accepted at NSH

Five Mayo Clinic posters have been accepted for this year's conference.
Five Mayo Clinic posters have been accepted for this year's conference.

Of the 14 clinical posters accepted by NSH for this year's poster session, five are from Mayo Clinic authors. We couldn't be prouder of our histotechnology personnel for this strong academic output. When you you are in the poster hall, please check out the following posters. We look forward to your questions and feedback.

    by Anthony Liss HT (ASCPCM); Kimberly Balding B.S. HTL (ASCPCM); Amanda Lipsky B.S. HTL (ASCPCM); Garcia, Joaquin M.D.
    IMPROVE PATIENT SAFETY IN THE HISTOLOGY LABORATORY by Tiffany Mainella, BS, HTL (ASCPCM); Benjamin Barrett, AS; Joaquin Garcia, MD
    CONFIRM ORIENTATION: PRESERVING EPIDERMIS AND UNDERLYING TISSUE by Elizabeth Druffel, AS, HT (ASCPCM); Tiffany Mainella, BS, HTL (ASCPCM); Heather Voigt, BS, HTL (ASCPCM); Joaquin Garcia, MD; Jesse Schafer, BS

Posted on Aug. 22 at 11:37 a.m.

Mayo Clinic Presenters to Deliver Two Workshops

As part of the NSH Conference, two Mayo Clinic presenters will deliver workshop presentations.

  • From 8-11:30 a.m. on Saturday morning, Aug. 23, Angela Johnsrud,HT(ASCP), will conduct Workshop #10, titled, "Grossing Dermatology Specimens: Techniques And Gross Pathology." The workshop will be held in room 11AB of the Austin Convention Center.
  • Also on Saturday, Aug. 23, Erin Grimes,HT(ASCP), will deliver Workshop #27, "Validations: What IHC Means to Me." The workshop is scheduled from 3-4:30 p.m. in Ballroom E of the Austin Convention Center.




Andy Tofilon

Andy Tofilon is a Marketing Segment Manager at Mayo Medical Laboratories. He leads strategies for corporate communications, public relations, and new media innovations. Andy has worked at Mayo Clinic since 2003. Outside of work, Andy can be found running, hiking, snapping photos, and most importantly, spending time with his family.


What a great idea! It’s wonderful to hear comments in real time from participants at NSH, I feel like those of us ‘back home’ are able to participate in a small way as well.

That’s great – thank you for sharing!

Fun reading about your experiences! Thanks.

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