New Jersey Department of Health

PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
Monday, April 25, 2016

Cathleen D. Bennett
Acting Commissioner

For Further Information Contact:
Office of Communications
(609) 984-7160

Christie Administration Recognizes Medical Laboratory Professionals Week

New Jersey Acting Health Commissioner Cathleen Bennett recognizes National Medical Laboratory Professionals Week, April 24-30, by commending New Jersey's laboratory professionals who play a vital part in every aspect of healthcare, including medical diagnosis and public health prevention.

"Every day, New Jersey's laboratory professionals play a vital role in health care and especially in protecting the public’s health," Acting Commissioner Bennett said. "Laboratory professionals work at commercial and hospital laboratories as well as the Department's Public Health and Environmental Laboratory (PHEL) and conduct tests daily that help residents manage chronic disease, ensure drinking and recreational water is safe, detect and report disease outbreaks, and work closely with local, state and federal agencies in maintaining vigilance against bioterrorism."

Recognizing that New Jersey's laboratory professionals are vital members of the healthcare system and public health team, Governor Chris Christie issued a proclamation declaring April 24-30, 2016 as Medical Laboratory Professionals Week.

Each year, PHEL conducts more than 5 million tests for a wide range of microbial and metabolic diseases and chemical contaminants on a variety of environmental and clinical samples. PHEL data is generated in close collaboration with epidemiologists, local health officials and multiple state agencies, federal partners and healthcare providers who use the laboratory information to protect the public.

Some of the highlights of PHEL's work include:

  • The Newborn Screening Program annually conducts more than 4 million laboratory tests for metabolic and genetic disorders on every child born in the state.
  • The Radio Analytical and Inorganic Laboratories work with the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to test the state's drinking water and the waters of Barnegat Bay to support Governor Christie's initiative to maintain this important waterway.
  • The Biothreat Response Laboratory works with federal and state law enforcement agencies and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to maintain operation of New Jersey Biological Safety Level 3 (BSL3) capabilities to test for potential biological agents that could be used in terrorist attacks. This includes agents such as plague, anthrax and ricin.
  • The Microbiology and Molecular Detection Laboratories work with the Department's Communicable Disease Services to develop viral surveillance data on diseases such as influenza and West Nile Virus and other mosquito-borne viruses, such as Zika. Staff also tests food and clinical specimens in support of infectious disease outbreak investigations.

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