Alan Wainwright nominated as President-Elect of the IFBLS

Alan Wainwright nominated as President-Elect of the IFBLS
11 October 2018
IBMS Executive Head of Education, Alan Wainwright, tells us about his current and future work with the IFBLS

The International Federation of Biomedical Laboratory Science:

The International Federation of Biomedical Laboratory Science (IFBLS) is a not for profit organisation made up of international member associations that represent biomedical laboratory scientists across the world and have direct input into the World Health Organisation's (WHO) development of policy and standards. Membership of the IFBLS provides an opportunity for international engagement through a professional body which acts as the global voice for biomedical laboratory scientists. The IFBLS has similar objectives to the Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS): to support, advance and promote good scientific laboratory practice through the development and adherence to high quality standards; to support and promote education and advancement of science and technology in the professional development of those working in biomedical laboratory science; and to support, advance and promote ethical and professional values that facilitate the exchange of ideas and help to develop partnerships within the global healthcare community.

Alan Wainwright on his role at the IFBLS:

Since 2015, I have been the Institute’s representative at IFBLS meetings as the Chief Delegate and have been able to promote the work of the IBMS as an international speaker on education, training and CPD. In 2016, I was elected to the IFBLS Board of Directors (BoD) and this year re-elected to the BoD and also nominated as President-Elect. I am grateful to the IBMS for supporting me and giving me the opportunity to use the experience I have gained as part of the senior management team on the international stage. Not only have I been able to further the work of IFBLS but also as an ambassador of the IBMS raise our profile through the opportunities to network and actively promote our approach to professional development and standard setting - further strengthening the IBMS's international standing. 

During the last two years I have been contributing to the work of the IFBLS in 3 key areas: the Member Liaison Strategy which highlighted the areas of commonality and also complexity between member associations in Africa and identified the need for a better understanding of professional training and regulation and the key issues/drivers for change and how countries vary in their approach to these, the Student Forum, to see how it can inform the work of the IFBLS Board of Directors and ultimately benefit our associate members by reviewing the role of the Student Forum at Congress to give greater clarity to its purpose (you can see one of the outcomes of this by viewing their video on the IFBLS Facebook page), and the International Standard Classification of Occupations (ISCO) Task Group to develop a case for biomedical laboratory scientists to be classified in a higher group that better represents the role and tasks undertaken in patient healthcare.

For me the strength of IFBLS, like the IBMS, is its membership and its access to a diverse range of expertise and individuals committed to the profession.  We are able to create and share friendship and knowledge and, through these, improve our trust and understanding between member countries so that we can achieve long-standing and mutual benefits that are underpinned by commonality and unity in professional standards and recognition. Furthermore, as an associate member of IFBLS, opportunities exist for members to engage as specialist advisors to the IFBLS scientific network and share their expertise on a global stage. All of this leads to greater connectivity, sustainable relationships and benefits to future generations of biomedical laboratory scientists. Value is added to this through the spirit of international collaboration and our challenge is to ensure there are collaborative opportunities across the full spectrum of our membership. This can be achieved by finding common issues that attract the input of members, sharing information through quality events like our Conferences, and projects that give us the opportunities to engage with esteemed organisations such as WHO.

My role as President-Elect will enable me to continue my work on the Development Committee but, with the President and Past-President, I will also work on the Management Committee to ensure we work in accordance with our Bye-Laws, continually review and update our policies and procedures and deliver our strategic work plan, which includes directly working with the WHO and raising the profile of biomedical laboratory scientists across the globe.    

Science is a fundamental part of society and culture and, like the IBMS, the IFBLS is uniquely placed to promote our profession. We share a universal language in biomedical laboratory science and we can use our collective knowledge to promote the profession's vital role at the heart of everybody's healthcare: in vaccination and infection, nutrition, blood tests, transplantation, and drug development.  If people begin to see biomedical science as an important part of their health and care, they will also begin to recognise the significance of what biomedical laboratory scientists are doing in hospitals across the world. The IFBLS BoD and indeed the wider membership of IFBLS is and will continue to be pivotal in achieving this. 

With the support of the IBMS I am committed to continuing this work because I see organisational stability, communication and full engagement with all members as crucial to achieving our shared objectives. It is a fantastic opportunity on all levels: personal, professional and organisational.


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