Lab Professionals Change Lives Every Day – Just Ask Rachael Malmberg

November 05, 2020 Categories: ACLA Blog

Every day, laboratory professionals use their expertise to perform complex diagnostic testing to help doctors, patients and families piece together the full picture of health. As both a patient and a director of patient engagement, Rachael Malmberg has a one-of-a-kind perspective into the dedication and innovation driving the laboratory industry.

In 2017, as a young mother and former professional hockey player for the U.S. Olympic team, Rachael watched as her life changed forever with a simple diagnosis – Stage IV adenocarcinoma. But with the help of an advanced diagnostic test, Rachel’s doctors discovered the presence of a mutation that allowed her to use a targeted therapeutic treatment, effectively saving her life.

Today, Rachael works for NeoGenomics Laboratories’ Informatics department, developing a patient portal that provides actionable information and resources based on patients’ cancer diagnoses. Her work is grounded in a greater understanding and appreciation of the patient experience as she continues to navigate it herself.  

“When you’re going through the diagnosis process, I don’t think you fully understand and are aware of all the different people who are working together to find the best answer for you,” Rachael said. Laboratory professionals all across the country work behind the scenes performing high-complexity diagnostic tests and delivering often life-saving results for the patients on the other end of the test.

Reflecting on her own journey, Rachael understands just how invaluable dedicated lab professionals are to better health. Meeting Dr. Hummel for the first time – the molecular pathologist who read her slide – Rachael expressed just how grateful she is to have had a fully invested lab team. “The fact that I get an opportunity to thank you for reading my tests, you saved my life and changed the trajectory of what I am going and most importantly the treatment I am on giving me a better quality of life,” shared Rachael.

When the two finally met, virtually, Rachael expressed her deep gratitude to Dr. Hummel for the role she played, as well as the role all lab professionals play, in providing life-saving diagnostic care. “I’ve been a recipient of what you’ve done, and so I know the importance of helping people understand what you do behind the scenes,” shared Rachael.

Providing her perspective from inside the lab, Dr. Hummel explains that “Usually, I’m just thinking, if I slow down or if I get a drink of water, that’s two more results I can’t get to someone. So, it’s kind of nice to just put an actual person behind it and remember what the results are doing.”

Watch below for highlights from the interview with both Rachael Malmberg and Dr. Jennifer Hummel and to learn more about the critical work performed by laboratory professionals across the country.

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