​​​​​​​​​Summer 2018

​APHL offers laboratory biosafety professionals technical and leadership skills to support their unique role

​Laboratory biosafety professionals are entering the field in unprecedented numbers, creating an immediate need for specialized training.

Biosafe360° brings training direct to overscheduled biosafety professionals who are frequently on the road helping clinical laboratories refine their biosafety systems. Since its inception in 2016, the online program has trained 160 biosafety professionals in the US and globally.

Historically, biosafety training has concentrated on honing technical skills. Yet technical skills alone cannot motivate laboratory staff to replace unsafe habits with sound biosafety practices. Developing a "biosafety positive" culture demands mastery of a range of leadership skills needed to convene, facilitate, advise and influence staff at clinical and public health laboratories.

The Biosafe360° curriculum focuses on the interrelationships between technical and leadership skills. It explores topics such as organizational culture, outreach, training strategies and ethics using a combination of expert lectures, on-screen content and real-life exercises. In one exercise that blended technical and leadership skills, participants swabbed their colleagues' cell phones to test for microbial contamination in the laboratory. When results showed growth of Micrococcus luteus, Corynebacterium amycolatum and other microbes, participants took the initiative to discuss cell phone use in the laboratory with administrators.

Now Biosafe360° is adding two more online courses directed to domestic and international laboratory professionals at public health and clinical laboratories. Both courses are available at no cost. The first, a three-month leadership course, explores emotional intelligence, motivating from behind the scenes, creating a reliable organization, risk communication and more. Participants who successfully complete this program will be awarded ASCLS P.A.C.E.® credits.* The second—designed for self-directed mentoring—examines topics in biosafety ethics, research, training strategies, risk mitigation and biorisk management, among others.

APHL is committed to strengthening knowledge of biosafety across all laboratories. Laboratory scientists can find out more about biosafety training at aphl.org/biosafety. For more information on Biosafe360°, contact Sean Page, associate specialist, Public Health Preparedness and Response at biosafety@aphl.org.

* APHL is an approved continuing education provider for the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science (ASCLS).​