The best of both worlds – Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

With a basic science research department located at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry and a large clinical department at London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC), there is no doubt that the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine have their work cut out for them in such a complex and unique educational and research environment.

Tucked away on the fourth floor of Dental Sciences Building you can find the department’s administrative office. They are a small but powerful team who helps to bridge the gap between basic and clinical departments, and work hard to keep everything running smoothly.

The administrative office team is made up of Mair Hughes, Manager, Administration and Finance; Mellonie Carnahan, Finance/HR Coordinator; Cheryl Campbell, Education Coordinator – Postgraduate and Undergraduate Programs; Tracey Koning, Education Coordinator – Graduate Programs; Susan Underhill, Administrative Assistant; Linda Jackson-Boeters, Departmental Technician; and Kathilyn Allewell, Media Specialist.

With such a wide-spread department, Hughes stresses the importance of working collaboratively and communicating effectively with her team.

“We try to learn from each other, and we all work actively to make things better and more efficient,” Hughes said. “For example, we are all currently working on moving our surveys from Survey Monkey to Western University’s Qualtrics survey system. We have found that working together on this project has helped everyone work more efficiently.”

Aside from the daily traffic and requests that make their way through the main office, you can also find Kathilyn Allewell, the department’s Media Specialist, just down the hall running the School’s poster printing service. As for the Departmental Technician, Linda Jackson-Boeters, she can be found supporting researchers and their students with experiments and monitoring for any safety concerns.

And while having the best of both worlds as a basic and clinical department makes Pathology and Laboratory Medicine unique, it can, at times, become their biggest challenge.

“Administratively, there is often twice the work, meetings and committees. While many departments may only have one promotion committee, we have two – one for clinical and one for basic,” explained Hughes.

The department’s incredible ability to work well as a team has also helped support their competitive and kind-hearted spirit outside the office.

Each year, the department participates in the LHSC holiday food bank drive. They always bring some healthy competition to the challenge – they collected a total of 7,160 pounds of non-perishables last year.

In addition to the food drive, the administrative office team decided to contribute to Toy Mountain last year, in lieu of a traditional holiday gift exchange. The idea caught on and spread throughout the entire department and piles of toys were donated.

Hughes explained that she and her team feel good about the work they do that helps faculty members, students and trainees develop their careers.  

“We hope that we can get the message out there that our department is special” said Hughes. “We can hopefully help other departments see a bigger picture, but it also means that we sometimes need their help and support to tackle the complexities of who we are as a basic and clinical department.”