Two Mayo Clinic laboratories, Neuroimmunology and Clinical Mass Spectrometry, received the John Ellingson Summit Award from PossAbilities. The Summit Award is given annually to an organization that has made an exceptional overall effort at participating in the PossAbilities Supported Employment Program. The award nominees are evaluated in a number of areas:
- Wages, benefits, etc. (growth of job duties, raises, and benefit options)
- Willingness to provide needed accommodations
- Including supported employees as part of the team
- Extending a hand of friendship and community support
How Neuroimmunology Works with PossAbilities
In the Mayo Medical Laboratories Neuroimmunology Laboratory, many of the assays performed require the use of pre-numbered test tubes. “Prior to working with PossAbilities, laboratory technologists would spend hours performing this task on a daily basis,” says Supervisor Debby Svihel. “In the beginning of 2010, this work was transitioned to the PossAbilities group.”
Each day around noon (Monday to Friday), staff members from PossAbilities arrive in the Neuroimmunology Laboratory to deliver the tubes they labeled for the laboratory and pick up needed supplies to perform the next day’s work. On average, PossAbilities labels nearly 100,000 tubes for the laboratory every month.
Work Performed by PossAbilities in Clinical Mass Spectrometry Laboratory
In the Clinical Mass Spectrometry Laboratory (CMSL), PossAbilities staff perform similar work as in the Neuroimmunology Laboratory. “Many of our high-volume assays require large amounts of numbered tubes because there are multiple analytical extraction steps that the samples have to go through before they can be analyzed,” says Supervisor Matt Hanley. “The laboratory needs the tubes to be numbered so that DLMP staff can ensure specimen integrity."
Numbering tubes is a labor-intensive and time-consuming process that the CMSL used to have its laboratory assistants and technologists perform on an as-needed basis. The laboratory now has PossAbilities employees labeling nearly 40,000 tubes per month, allowing the laboratory assistants and techs to focus their efforts on clinical testing. This change also minimizes potential repetitive-motion issues among the CMSL staff. The PossAbilities group performs deliveries and pickups, and the staff’s work is extremely legible and consistent, which is very important given the critical steps for which the tubes are used.
“We started using this service in 2014 based on Debby’s recommendation,” adds Hanley. “We started by piloting a small handful of tests on the endocrine side. Based on our extreme satisfaction with PossAbilities, we expanded the process to include nicotine urine and free testosterone tests in 2015, and we continue to look for other areas where we can use this service.”
Congratulations to both the Neuroimmunology and the Clinical Mass Spectrometry Laboratories on receiving this significant award from a community organization.
PossAbilities creates opportunities for children and adults with disabilities to contribute to and connect with the community. PossAbilities serves approximately 600 individuals with disabilities and their families from Dodge, Fillmore, Goodhue, Houston, Mower, Olmsted, Rice, Steele, Wabasha, and Winona counties in the state of Minnesota, including a few people from Hennepin. For more information about the organization, visit www.possabilities.org.