allied health

By Alyssa Menkes
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Medical and Research Technology: Fulfilling a Healthcare Need


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round the clock each day medical technologists, also called clinical laboratory scientists, provide vital information to physicians. They do so by performing a variety of laboratory procedures which range from identifying microorganisms to providing blood for emergency transfusions. These professionals are trained in clinical chemistry, hematology, immunology, microbiology, blood banking, and laboratory management. They are dedicated to providing test accuracy, quality of work and patient confidentiality.
The first class of medical and research technologists graduated in 1971 from a program offered in the department of pathology. Twenty years later, the medical and research technology program blossomed into a self- sustaining department to meet a critical and growing health care need. Today, the department of medical and research technology (DMRT) is the largest accredited medical technology program in the state of Maryland, and confers both undergraduate and graduate degrees. With over 1200 graduates working in hospitals, clinics, laboratories and research institutions throughout the state and across the country, the DMRT at the University of Maryland School of Medicine is educating the best and the brightest for this dynamic field and positions graduates for additional career development.

“As with many of the allied health professions, there is a tremendous shortage of medical technologists,” says Sanford Stass, MD, interim chair of the DMRT and chair of the medical school’s department of pathology. “This best kept secret of a profession needs to be publicized exponentially in order to properly staff all the areas of healthcare that these individuals satisfy. The demand is great, and the opportunities are endless.”

Students who are pursuing the bachelor of science degree enter the program in their junior year and may specialize in either the medical technology track or biotechnology research track. In addition to lecture and laboratory instruction, students in both tracks complete externship training. Students who are obtaining their master of science degree choose between a biomedical research track or laboratory management track which can lead to other professional careers.

The DMRT offers an accelerated one-year categorical certificate program for individuals who already possess a BS degree in a basic science area, such as chemistry or biology. Deirdre DeSantis-Parsons, MS, program director and assistant professor in the DMRT explains, “People don’t realize the possibilities that graduates of our programs have available to them. For example, we developed the state’s first bachelors program in biotechnology research. We have students doing externships and graduates working in pharmaceutical companies, government, academic research and biomedical laboratories as well as the development and production of diagnostic products and pharmaceuticals.”
Sanford Stass, MD
Considering that the state of Maryland is one of five major areas for biotechnology in the nation, the opportunities locally are astounding. “We are working hard to recruit individuals into this multi-faceted field by getting out into the high schools and the community at large,” says Kimberly Walker, PhD, graduate program director and a graduate of the DMRT. “We have so much to offer here in terms of an education and a career by being a part of the medical school. And in the spirit of the mission and vision, we have an obligation to the citizens of Maryland and beyond.”

For more information
about the DMRT, please
call 410-706-7664 or email
DMRTInquiries@som.umaryland.edu.

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