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International Federation of Clinical Chemistry Forms Partnership With the Labs Are Vital(TM) Initiative

Promoting the Critical Role of Laboratory Professionals and Addressing the

Issues Facing Clinical Labs Worldwide

ABBOTT PARK, Ill., April 4, 2008 /PRNewswire/ -- Clinical laboratory professionals worldwide are coming together in support of an initiative to raise international awareness of the role played by clinical laboratory professionals in health care and their vital contribution to improve patient outcomes. Through a program called Labs Are Vital(TM), sponsored by Abbott (NYSE: ABT), the International Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (IFCC) and its 76 national societies are working together to elevate the role of laboratory professionals and to address issues facing the profession globally.

"As the focus on disease management continues to grow in importance, the role of early diagnosis and highly trained clinical lab professionals becomes evermore essential to global health care," said Jocelyn Hicks, IFCC president. "Labs Are Vital is an initiative that seeks to provide these professionals a greater presence within the global health care system while educating consumers about the critical role of the clinical lab to their health."

IFCC has joined Abbott in a commitment to support new, international Labs Are Vital initiatives designed to improve clinical and economic outcomes for patients by enhancing the role laboratories and laboratorians play in the delivery of health care. The first step in this process is to highlight the vital -- but often underappreciated -- role laboratorians currently play in the delivery of care. Program components include the launch of an international Web site as well as an active educational campaign.

"Laboratory professionals guide clinicians throughout the process of diagnosis and clinical decision making, and play one of the most profound roles in care giving," Hicks added. "These professionals quietly generate sensitive, precise, and life-saving data everyday. We all depend upon a highly trained cadre of clinical lab professionals to carefully conduct an increasingly more sophisticated and delicate generation of clinical tests."

The vocation of the laboratory professional is to educate clinicians about the best and most accurate tests to perform for hundreds of different medical conditions. In fact, 70 percent of the objective information used in clinical decision-making comes from data collected in the clinical lab.

This year's Labs Are Vital initiative also will address issues specific to each of the regional members of IFCC, including those related to aging population of lab professionals and the workforce shortage.

About International Federation of Clinical Chemistry

The International Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine is composed of 76 full member national societies of clinical chemistry representing more than 30,000 clinical chemists, 38 corporate members and five affiliate members. The IFCC strives to enhance the scientific level and quality of diagnostics and therapy for patients throughout the world. Further information can be found at

About Labs Are Vital

Labs Are Vital is a multi-pronged, multi-year education and awareness initiative designed to highlight the critical role that laboratory professionals play in health care and to address the issues facing laboratories today. The program includes a public awareness campaign, a recruitment initiative, an instrument donation program, and a variety of Web-based resources for laboratory professionals and focuses attention on the life-saving work medical laboratory scientists provide that aid in diagnosing disease and improving health outcomes. For more information on the Labs Are Vital program, please visit

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