A new online master’s degree program in clinical laboratory science designed for working professionals—the first of its kind our state—has welcomed its inaugural student cohort, which began instruction in summer 2020. The program, housed in the Department of Allied Health Sciences’ Division of Clinical Laboratory Science, aims to prepare its graduates for service through education, research, and clinical laboratory administration. It will also contribute to innovative solutions for better delivery of health care and develop leaders in the clinical laboratory profession.
Robert Goode, a veteran of the U.S. Army and first-year master’s degree student, studied at George Washington University and worked in clinical laboratory science during his time in the military.
He worked for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, including completion of a fellowship for VA executives, before entering the private sector at Duke University Hospital’s Duke Central Automated Laboratory as a supervisor.
“Anybody who enters the health care field, they want to help people. So, it’s been instilled in me to help others,” Goode said.
Goode also served abroad in Germany and completed active duty at Womack Army Medical Center where he conducted laboratory work.
“I wanted to do my part in order to serve, and I felt like my part would be medical related, which is why I really enjoyed and loved being a clinical laboratory scientist in the military,” Goode said.
Goode said the medical field requires a lifetime of learning, which spurred him to explore the master’s degree program. He hopes to gain skills in molecular testing, leadership skills, and a better understanding the nuances of clinical research studies, all in an effort to improve patient care and outcomes.
“As an allied health professional, we really need to have the critical knowledge that we provide to the doctors to make sure our patients are taken care of in the best way,” Goode said. He hopes to pursue a doctorate in clinical laboratory science.
Goode said time management, a skill he gained during his time in the military, is key to his success in the program, as he is balancing family responsibilities along with working second shift.
“If you look at UNC’s reputation, speaks for itself. I’m honored to be part of the first class,” he said.
Miranda Holt ’20 joins Goode in the program; she completed the bachelor’s degree program offered by the division in May. Initially considering pre-med, when Holt discovered the hands-on and problem solving nature of the profession, she knew she had found the right fit.
“I was interested in medicine, and I wanted to continue to do something that will affect patient care,” Holt said. “Doing this master’s program, it makes me more confident I’ll be able to continue to impact patient care in different ways.”
Holt works in transfusion medical services at McLendon Clinical Laboratories. While she is unsure about what she hopes to pursue following completion of the program, the ability to choose her own electives, such as coursework in epidemiology at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, appealed to her.
“I really wanted to keep furthering my education and go for all of the opportunities I have,” Holt said.
Amber Vaughn, an alumna of Radford University, holds a certification in medical laboratory science and hopes to pursue leadership opportunities, such as teaching, following program completion.
“You’re that voice for that small group of people in the lab,” Vaughn said. “I want to be a role model for other people.”
The Division of Clinical Laboratory Science is led by Susan Beck, PhD, MLS(ASCP)CM.