Bob McGonnagle, Publisher of CAP Today, Honored with Lifetime Achievement Award at 2023 Executive War College on Diagnostics, Clinical Laboratory, and Pathology Management

McGonnagle’s involvement with medical laboratory medicine spans five decades and 38 years of support for the nation’s anatomic pathologists and clinical laboratory professionals

NEW ORLEANS—It was a standing ovation last week at the Executive War College on Diagnostic, Laboratory, and Pathology Management when Bob McGonnagle—first and only Publisher of CAP Today magazine—received a Lifetime Achievement Award.

The presentation was made in front of 950 attendees. During the presentation, several of McGonnagle’s peers described the multiple ways that he regularly supports the profession of clinical laboratory medicine.

In 1986, McGonnagle was engaged by the College of American Pathologists (CAP) to develop the concept of a new, tabloid-sized, color magazine to be called CAP Today. It was January 1987 when monthly publication of CAP Today formally commenced.

McGonnagle was again tapped by CAP to oversee production of another publication that was created in 1996. Since its inception, he has also been publisher of the Archives of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine.

Al Lui, MD, Robert Michel, Bob McGonnagle, Stan Schofield

During last week’s Executive War College on Diagnostic, Laboratory, and Pathology Management in New Orleans, Bob McGonnagle (center right) was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his 38 years as Publisher of CAP Today, along with his innumerable contributions to advancing the clinical laboratory and anatomic pathology professions. McGonnagle is joined by Robert Michel, founder of the Executive War College on his right; Al Lui, MD, of Innovative Pathology Medical Group on his far right; and Stan Schofield of Compass Group on his left. (Photo copyright: The Dark Report.)

38 Years as Publisher of CAP Today Magazine

But McGonnagle’s duties as publisher are just the starting point of the contributions McGonnagle has made to the House of Laboratory Medicine in the past 38 years. He is regularly seen at pathology and lab meetings, conferences, and workshops throughout the United States and overseas. As a speaker and moderator, he is much in demand. He is often asked to sit in during strategic retreats and think tanks organized by laboratory associations, lab organizations, and lab vendors.

During the presentation ceremony, three of McGonnagle’s peers offered insights and examples of his unstinting support of pathologists, lab managers, and companies serving medical laboratories. First to speak was Stan Schofield, Managing Principal at Compass Group and past CEO of NorDx Laboratories in Scarborough, Maine.

“Bob McGonnagle is excellent as a moderator for conferences, meetings, and conventions and will always say ‘yes’ when asked to serve,” Schofield observed. “He is quick to recognize and adapt to emerging issues. He processes information from various parts of the lab industry, then generates insights and information all can understand and use to the benefit of their respective labs and pathology groups.”

Next to speak was pathologist Al Lui, MD, President and Medical Director, at Innovative Pathology Medical Group in Torrance, California. Lui has been active on committees and initiatives of CAP for decades. “Recognition of Bob McGonnagle’s past and continuing contributions to the profession of pathology and laboratory medicine is long overdue,” he said.

McGonnagle as Farmer, Fan of Classical Music, and Oenophile

Lui then presented slides that showed the range of McGonnagle’s activities outside of his publishing responsibilities. For example, Bob is remote manager of two inherited family farms in Iowa that produce corn, soybeans, and cattle. His wife competes in equestrian events. They are wine aficionados and close personal friends with one of Napa Valley’s most respected vintners.

One key figure in McGonnagle’s publishing activities is the Editor of CAP Today Sherrie Rice. She has served in this role since 1987 and thus has collaborated with Bob for the 38 years of CAP Today’s publication. “His leadership of the periodicals department at the CAP has been brilliant and working alongside him for more than three decades has been the gift of a lifetime,” Rice noted.

Rice also described an underappreciated aspect of McGonnagle’s efforts as Publisher. “Bob constantly works to connect the IVD manufacturers and lab vendors with labs that need and benefit from these solutions,” she noted. “He is quick to recognize emerging technologies and help explain them with in-depth stories in CAP Today that help pathologists and lab managers better understand when such innovations are ready to be implemented.”

A Career That Spans Five Decades

As McGonnagle was handed his Lifetime Achievement Award, Robert Michel, Founder of the Executive War College and Editor-in-Chief of Dark Daily and its sister publication The Dark Report, made several observations. “Bob McGonnagle has all the hallmarks of a loyal friend. He is always willing to help and never asks for anything in return,” Michel noted. “He is discreet and trustworthy, with keen powers of observation and analysis. Our profession is blessed that his career and contributions have spanned five decades.”

All of Bob McGonnagle’s colleagues, friends, and associates are encouraged to use social media to send him congratulations and notes of appreciation for his 38 years of service as Publisher of CAP Today, and for his many contributions to the clinical laboratory and pathology professions.   

Here are social media links where it would be appropriate to post comments about Bob McGonnagle, with best wishes, congratulations, and examples of his selfless support:

On Twitter:

On Twitter:

On LinkedIn:

—Robert L. Michel

Related Information:

Executive War College on Diagnostic, Laboratory, and Pathology Management

College of American Pathologists

Archives of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

Three Prominent Clinical Laboratory Leaders Make the Same Prediction: COVID-19 Testing Will Be Significant Through 2020 and Throughout 2021

CEOs of NorDx Laboratories, Sonora Quest Laboratories, and HealthPartners/Park Nicollet Laboratories expect demand for SARS-CoV-2 tests to only increase in coming months

AUSTIN, TEXAS—For clinical laboratories and anatomic pathology groups in the United States, the single most urgent question is this: how long will the need for substantial volumes of COVID-19 testing continue? Last Wednesday, that question was answered in a most definitive way by CEOs of three nationally-prominent clinical laboratory organizations during a general session of the virtual Executive War College on Clinical Laboratory and Pathology Management.

The short answer is that large volumes of COVID-19 testing will be needed for the remaining weeks of 2020 and substantial COVID-19 testing will occur throughout 2021 and even into 2022. This has major implications for all clinical laboratories in the United States as they plan budgets for 2021 and attempt to manage their supply chain in coming weeks. The additional challenge in coming months is the surge in respiratory virus testing that is typical of an average influenza season.

The title of this information-filled general session was “Coming Next to Clinical Laboratory and Pathology: A Robust Panel Discussion of How Labs Can Prosper Clinically and Financially Going Forward.” Chair and Moderator for the panel was Robert L. Michel, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of The Dark Report and Dark Daily.

Panel is David Dexter and Stan Schofield and Rick L. Panning

The panelists were:

Each panelist was asked how his parent health system and clinical laboratory was preparing to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic through the end of 2020 and into 2021.

First to answer was Panning, whose laboratory serves the Minneapolis-Saint Paul market.

A distinguishing feature of healthcare in the Twin Cities is that it is at the forefront of operational and clinical integration. Competition among health networks is intense and consumer-focused services are essential if a hospital or physician office is to retain its patients and expand market share.

Panning first explained how the pandemic is intensifying in Minnesota. “Our state has been on a two-week path of rising COVID-19 case numbers,” he said. “That rise is mirrored by increased hospitalizations for COVID-19 and ICU bed utilization is going up dramatically. The number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients has doubled during this time and Minnesota is surrounded by states that are even in worse shape than us.”

These trends are matched by the outpatient/outreach experience. “We are also seeing more patients use virtual visits to our clinics, compared to recent months,” noted Panning. “About 35% of clinical visits are virtual because people do not want to physically go into a clinic or doctor’s office.

“Given these recent developments, we’ve had to expand our network of specimen collection sites because of social distancing requirements,” explained Panning. “Each patient collection requires more space, along with more time to clean and sterilize that space before it can be used for the next patient. Our lab and our parent health system are focused on what we call crisis standards of care.

“For all these reasons, our planning points to an ongoing demand for COVID-19 testing,” he added. “Influenza season is arriving, and the pandemic is accelerating. Given that evidence, and the guidance from state and federal officials, we expect our clinical laboratory will be providing significant numbers of COVID-19 tests for the balance of this year and probably far into 2021.”

 COVID-19 Vaccine Could Increase Antibody and Rapid Molecular Testing

Arizona is seeing comparable increases in new daily COVID-19 cases. “There’s been a strong uptick that coincides with the governor’s decision to loosen restrictions that allowed bars and exercise clubs to open,” stated Dexter. “We’ve gone from a 3.8% positivity rate up to 7% as of last night. By the end of this week, we could be a 10% positivity rate.”

Looking at the balance of 2020 and into 2021, Dexter said, “Our lab is in the midst of budget planning. We are budgeting to support an increase in COVID-19 PCR testing in both November and December. Arizona state officials believe that COVID-19 cases will peak at the end of January and we’ll start seeing the downside in February of 2021.”

The possible availability of a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine is another factor in planning at Dexter’s clinical laboratory. “If such a vaccine becomes available, we think there will be a significant increase in antibody testing, probably starting in second quarter and continuing for the balance of 2021. There will also be a need for rapid COVID-19 molecular tests. Today, such tests are simply unavailable. Because of supply chain difficulties, we predict that they won’t be available in sufficient quantities until probably late 2021.”

COVID-19 Testing Supply Shortages Predicted as Demand Increases

At NorDx Laboratories in Portland, Maine, the expectation is that the COVID-19 pandemic will continue even into 2022. “Our team believes that people will be wearing masks for 18 more months and that COVID-19 testing with influenza is going to be the big demand this winter,” observed Schofield. “The demand for both COVID-19 and influenza testing will press all of us up against the wall because there are not enough reagents, plastics, and plates to handle the demand that we see building even now. 

“Our hospitals are already preparing for a second surge of COVID-19 cases,” he said.

COVID-19 patients will be concentrated in only three or four hospitals. The other hospitals will handle routine work. Administration does not want to have COVID-19 patients spread out over 12 or 14 hospitals, as happened last March and April.

“Administration of the health system and our clinical laboratory think that the COVID-19 test volume and demand for these tests will be tough on our lab for another 12 months. This will be particularly true for COVID-19 molecular tests.”

As described above, the CEOs of these three major clinical laboratories believe that the demand for COVID-19 testing will continue well into 2021, and possibly also into 2022. A recording of the full session was captured by the virtual Executive War College and, as a public service to the medical laboratory and pathology profession, access to this recording will be provided to any lab professional who contacts and provides their email address, name, title, and organization.

Executive War College Closing Session

This week’s closing general session of the virtual Executive War College also will deal with the current state of the clinical laboratory industry and bring together three notable lab industry leaders and thinkers. The session, titled “What Comes Next in Healthcare and Laboratory Medicine: Essential Insights to Position Your Clinical Lab and Pathology Group for Clinical and Financial Success, Whether COVID or No COVID,” takes place Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020, from 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM Eastern.

Your presenters will be:

Given the importance of sound strategic planning for all clinical laboratories and pathology groups during their fall budget process, the virtual Executive War College is opening this session to all professionals in laboratory medicine, in vitro diagnostics, and lab informatics.

To register for access, visit: Enter the code: COURTESYCAPTDR. Next, select “apply code” and complete the registration.

—Michael McBride

Related Information:

Coming Next to Clinical Laboratory and Pathology: A Robust Discussion of How Labs Can Prosper Clinically and Financially Going Forward

Expert Panel—What Comes Next in Healthcare and Laboratory Medicine: Essential Insights to Position your Clinical Lab and Pathology Group for Clinical and Financial Success, COVID or No COVID