The Honorable Vernon Ehlers
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515-2203
Dear Representative Ehlers:
The American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC) endorses your legislation, H.R. 100, the National Science Education Act, which would establish and expand programs relating to science, mathematics, engineering and technology education. AACC agrees that additional federal funding is critical to improving the quality and quantity of math and science instruction in our nation's schools.
AACC also shares your concern regarding the shortage of individuals with math and science skills necessary to fill many of the technology-driven jobs in our economy. One area particularly affected by this shortage is laboratory medicine. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the health care sector will require 9,000 new medical technologists and medical technicians, annually, from 1998-2008, just to keep pace with employer needs.
However, industry data indicates that only 5,000 individuals will graduate from medical technology and technician programs each year-thus resulting in a yearly 4,000 shortfall in the number of laboratorians necessary to provide adequate patient care. Without more high school graduates with math and science skills to enter into clinical laboratory science programs, this trend will only get exacerbated.
As President of a scientific society, I, and the more than 10,000 members of AACC, commend your efforts to improve our children's education in mathematics and science. Our nation's ability to compete in tomorrow's world requires that we invest the resources in science education today.
By way of background, AACC is the principal association of professional laboratory scientists--including MDs, PhDs and medical technologists. AACC's members develop and use chemical concepts, procedures, techniques and instrumentation in health-related investigations and work in hospitals, independent laboratories and the diagnostics industry nationwide. The AACC provides national leadership in advancing the practice and profession of clinical laboratory science and its application to health care. If you have any questions or we may be of any assistance, please call me at (215) 662-6575 or Vince Stine, Director, Government Affairs, at (202) 835-8721.
Larry Kricka, D.Phil., F.A.C.B.,
C.Chem., F.R.S.C., F.R.C.Path.