CMPT – A vision for the future

Dr. Lucy Perrone

Dr. Lucy Perrone, the Donald B. Rix Professor of Laboratory Quality and Associate Professor in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, joined the Faculty of Medicine at UBC on March 14, 2022. Dr. Perrone currently chairs the Canadian (formerly Clinical) Microbiology Proficiency Testing Program (CMPT) and is the Director of the Program Office for Laboratory Quality Management (POLQM), programs that were created and lead by Dr. Michael Noble, now Professor Emeritus, for more than 20 years.

Since taking on these leadership roles in June, Dr. Perrone has been working with her team on several initiatives which are aimed at ensuring program sustainability and enabling growth.  In June the team held a retreat which included team building activities, a SWOT analysis, and a strategic planning exercise which enabled greater visibility into the strengths and vulnerabilities of the programs and opportunities for growth. This series of meetings resulted in the team agreement upon several strategic goals for both programs encompassing: improving global visibility of our quality assurance services and education programs in laboratory quality; strengthening our laboratory processes to ensure sustainability of existing programs; and enabling growth of the proficiency testing and educational programs for laboratory professionals’ portfolios.

Dr Perrone and her team envision CMPT as a leading service provider for Canadian and global testing laboratories and a highly valued and respected resource for external quality assessment in the field of microbiology. CMPT aims to expand its portfolio of services beyond the clinical laboratory to include programs that support public health and safety; to reflect that transition CMPT’s name was changed from “clinical” to “Canadian”.

In April CMPT recruited Denise Hilker as a program assistant working with CMPT Coordinator, Esther Kwok on customer relations. Following the success of the COVID-19 proficiency testing program, CMPT will begin offering an expanded respiratory panel to laboratory customers in early 2023. The foundational research and development for this panel has been led by Research Associate Dr. Selvarani Vimalanathan and Dr. Sammi Treagus, both of whom were recruited to CMPT in the summer.

CMPT is also launching a Cannabis microbiology EQA program in early 2023 in collaboration with Proficiency Testing Canada out of Ontario. Research and development for this new program is being led by CMPT’s senior technologist, Caleb Lee, and Mahfuza Sreya, a graduate from UBC’s BLMSc program.

A number of internal quality and process improvement initiatives including laboratory space realignment and digitization of documents and records have been undertaken by CMPT and we wish to thank departmental leadership for their support. In October CMPT turned 40 years old and marked this achievement during a two-day annual general meeting which brings together all technical committee members and key stakeholders for a review of programs and strategic planning for the upcoming program year.

Dr. Perrone envisions POLQM (CMPT’s sister program) to be a hub for educational programs for laboratory professionals in the area of quality and service. POLQM currently offers the UBC Certificate Course in Laboratory Quality Management (LQM) which is currently enrolling students for January 2023. POLQM will be developing and launching two new online courses in 2023. In August Dr. Perrone with support from professional staff Veronica Restelli and Maggie Ma was awarded a Continuous Learning Advancement Fund (CLAF) education award for a new proposal to develop an innovate online certificate course in antimicrobial susceptibility testing. The funding level of $66,000 will support the course development team and subject matter experts for the next 12 months. The new AST course aims to launch in September 2023.

Since joining UBC Dr. Perrone has dedicated significant time to public outreach to and including public and private partners in laboratory medicine services including all of the health authorities and laboratory enterprises under the BC Provincial Health Services Authority as well as other Ministry of Health and key stakeholders across Canada. In June Dr. Perrone joined a collaboration led by Dr. Michael Allard to address issues of diagnostic testing access and quality.  UBC’s Remote Communities Drone Transport Initiative will test the feasibility of enhancing access to physically necessary health care services (lab, pharmacy, supplies) for First Nations communities. The pilot project will serve as a model for long-term improvements in health equity for underserved Canadians.

Dr. Perrone continues to conduct research and practice on diagnostic testing, laboratory systems, capacity building, and improving human resources for health with a focus on resource-limited countries.   She continues to advise the World Health Organization and the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics in Geneva on country level adaptation and adoption of national essential diagnostics lists and be a champion of quality.

In June Dr. Perrone gave a virtual presentation at a the “Uropathology and Quality assurance in Pathology” conference held in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia and hosted by the Mongolian Ministry of Health.  In October Dr Perrone presented talks at two well attended national and regional meetings and attended one international conference:

  • European Organization for External Quality Assurance Providers in Laboratory Medicine (EQALM), Athens, Greece
  • Africa CDC, ASLM Regional Meeting on National Essential Diagnostics Lists for Western Africa.
  • Canadian Diagnostic Executive Forum, Toronto, Ontario


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