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Press Release

Metro State assumes sponsorship of medical laboratory science program


Contact: Metro State: Tim Carroll, Office 303-556-5136, Cell 303-870-7705
The Colorado Health Foundation: Suzanne Beranek, Office 303-953-3668

Posted: March 14, 2012



(Denver) — Metropolitan State College of Denver will operate the Colorado Center for Medical Laboratory Science effective July 1, 2012. The program, which provides post-baccalaureate-level training for medical laboratory scientists, is currently sponsored by the Colorado Health Foundation.

Established in 1962, the program has been sponsored by the Foundation since the 1990s. With the goal of moving the program toward self-sufficiency, the Foundation’s board of directors directed its staff to find a new sponsor in 2007. After extensive conversations with several potential sponsors, the Foundation reached an agreement with Metro State. The program complements Metro State’s baccalaureate-level nursing program and its Department of Health Professions, which houses academic programs in gerontology, health care management, human nutrition and dietetics, integrative therapies and recreation professions.

“We recognize that health care is a key industry for Colorado, and it’s our commitment as an urban institution to ensure we are producing a pipeline of highly qualified candidates to fill these jobs,” said Metro State President Stephen Jordan. “Adding the medical laboratory science program complements and expands upon Metro State’s recognized health profession education programs.”

In addition to honoring the program’s historical ties with laboratories and academic institutions, the transfer fulfills its ongoing commitment to meet the Rocky Mountain region’s rapidly growing clinical workforce needs. Last year, the program moved from Presbyterian St. Luke’s Medical Center—where it has been housed since the 1980s—into a new expanded teaching facility at the Medical Center of Aurora. Metro State will continue to lease that space at a market rate. Under the agreement, the Foundation will provide nearly $1 million to offset operational costs and tuition, and the program will increase the number of students it enrolls from 18 to 24. No tax dollars will be used to support the program.

“This gives Metro State yet another educational training program to benefit working professionals with relevant, applied-learning opportunities,” said Carol Svendsen, associate vice president of extended campus programs at Metro State. “Since the demand for medical laboratory scientists is growing locally and nationally, there is much potential to expand this program as a sole provider in the Denver-metro area.”

The transfer comes as the field of medical laboratory science experiences a severe workforce shortage. A 2008 U.S. Department of Labor study estimated that 53,300 new medical laboratory scientists would be needed nationally between 2008 and 2018. In Colorado, the laboratory science field projects a 26 percent increase in job demand during the next 10 years.

According to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, the average salary for a medical laboratory science professional is $58,218. The program offers a nationally accredited, one-year post-baccalaureate program that includes a variety of student laboratory and clinical course work in all areas of laboratory medicine. Graduates are eligible to sit for the national certification examination in medical laboratory science (MLS) offered by the American Society for Clinical Pathology. The program has retained 90 percent of its graduates for Colorado-based positions with 70 percent of them remaining in metropolitan Denver.

“We believe that Metro State is an excellent fit for the Colorado Center for Medical Laboratory Science,” said Anne Warhover, president and CEO of the Foundation. “We’re confident Metro State can foster the program’s continued growth and long-term sustainability while addressing a critical health care workforce need.”

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About Metropolitan State College of Denver
With nearly 24,000 students, Metro State is Colorado’s leader in educating undergraduate Coloradans and enrolls the highest number of students of color among the state’s four-year colleges. The College now offers master’s degrees in accounting, teaching and social work. It boasts nearly 75,000 alumni, the bulk of whom remain in Colorado after graduation.

 

About the Colorado Health Foundation
The Colorado Health Foundation works to make Colorado the healthiest state in the nation by increasing the number of Coloradans with health insurance, ensuring they have access to quality, coordinated care and encouraging healthy living. The Foundation invests in the community through grants and initiatives to health-related nonprofits that focus on these goals, as well as operating medical education programs to increase the health care workforce. For more information, please visit www.ColoradoHealth.org.