A biological and chemical expert at Saint Louis University is expressing concern over a shortage of clinical lab scientists and the possibility the shortage could affect the U.S. response to bioterrorism. Clinical lab scientists are the behind-the-scenes medical professionals who perform and interpret lab tests. Peggy Edwards, the Chair of the Clinical Laboratory Science Department at Saint Louis University, says theseprofessionals are the ones who will be called on to perform critical duties in the event of an attack involving biological or chemical weapons – and they’re leaving the profession. Edwards is calling for an increase infunding and salaries. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports 9,000 such scientists will be needed each year for the next ten years, but the nation’s clinical laboratory science education programs are graduating half that number.
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