Energetic Microbiologist-Turned-Ambassador Puts Out a Call to Action for Medical Laboratory Volunteers for Haiti, Guatemala, and the Dominican Republic

From volunteer services, to replaced equipment, to outdated NCCLS materials, anything can be of help in poor countries where no medical laboratories come anywhere close to those of the caliber many of us take for granted.

Carla Orner never sleeps. No one as busy as she is has time to waste on even a little shut-eye. She is the full-time ambassador for Heart to Heart International. Her relationship with Heart to Heart International (HHI) began during her attendance at a regional meeting of a medical laboratory organization. “A speaker who was a HHI employee asked for medical laboratory volunteers to assist in its mission,” she says. The rest is history, as the saying goes!  She works with doctors and nurses who volunteer, but her primary goal is to attract more medical laboratory technicians and technologists to join the volunteer effort through Heart to Heart. One tip that Orner shares with potential volunteers is that of the “mobile” CLIA license, which allows the establishment of a lab that can be operated anywhere in the United States.  In all her experience in filling out forms for CLIA, Orner confessed, “I never saw the box labeled ‘mobile.’”

Orner also continues to present at CLMA and ASCP, among other organizations’ annual and regional meetings.  For many years, she held a position as general manager of Regional Laboratory Alliance in Kansas City, MO, where she led an integrated network of community based hospitals and independent reference laboratories. Her 36 years of laboratory experience included night shift, evening shift, and 15 years microbiology. Among all of that, Orner was awarded a B.S. in Medical Technology from Central Missouri State University, and an MBA from MidAmerica Nazarene University. (more…)