For CLS Alumna, Hands-On Learning is Key
Jasjit Kaur Multani, M.P.H., M.L.S.(ASCP)CM, ’12P prefers to learn by doing. As a result, when she was reviewing potential college programs, the practical aspects of the Bachelor of Science degree program in Clinical Laboratory Sciences (CLS) in the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences attracted her attention.
“I liked that it was a professional program,” Ms. Multani explained. “I could get clinical experience within the bachelor’s environment and be ready to get a job.”
Like most CLS graduates, she was quickly hired and spent five years as a clinical laboratory scientist in transfusion medicine at Northwell Health. When she began to consider graduate school, Ms. Multani realized that a master’s in public health degree would broaden her opportunities. In 2017, she received an M.P.H. in Epidemiology and Biostatistics from the Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University. Today she works as a consulting scientist at Exponent®, an international engineering, scientific, environmental, and health consulting firm serving corporations, insurance carriers, government agencies, law firms, and individuals.
Among Ms. Multani’s recent projects was an analysis of existing national health and nutrition data to determine how healthcare costs would be affected if American adults improved their diet quality. Although this type of work is far different from that of a laboratory, Ms. Multani acknowledges the importance of her laboratory training at St. John’s. “I value my clinical experience and apply it all the time when I am looking at clinical data.”
The College’s 138-credit bachelor’s degree program in Clinical Laboratory Science covers University core requirements, basic science, and clinical laboratory medicine. Equally important, students gain valuable experience by fulfilling as many as five clinical rotations in all areas of laboratory medicine, the feature that initially interested Ms. Multani.
The CLS program has built-in experiential education opportunities. “Students must work a certain number of hours in a lab to receive their license, so we build in that hands-on experience. Students do not have to find their own internships,” explained Lisa Hochstein, M.S., M.L.S. (ASCP) CM, CLS Program Director and Associate Professor-Industry Professional.
Job prospects are excellent. “We all hear about the nursing shortage, but the shortage in our field is one many do not realize.” According to Prof. Hochstein, CLS graduates are commonly offered job opportunities in hospitals where they have completed their rotations.
The CLS program is a good choice for students who enjoy science and are interested in healthcare but do not see themselves in a patient-centered role. “Approximately 70 percent of diagnoses are made on the basis of laboratory tests,” Prof. Hochstein said. “So, the work of a clinical laboratory scientist is significant. You can really help people even if you do not have direct contact with patients.”
Ms. Multani’s career path from traditional lab work to research and consulting demonstrates the versatility of the clinical laboratory sciences degree and contributed to the College’s decision during the Spring 2018 semester to present her with the Distinguished Young Alumni Award. “When I first learned I was selected, I was surprised and honored,” she said. “It meant that my professional achievements since graduating from St. John's had been recognized.”
“I feel proud as an alumna of the University’s CLS program. By receiving this award, I am able to give attention and insight into the clinical laboratory sciences profession.” In true Vincentian fashion, Ms. Multani will use her career experience to mentor current CLS students. “I am excited to be a mentor,” she said. “CLS students need to know that the kind of work I do is an option.”