Mayo Clinic Labs @Work
Thousands of people in hundreds of different roles work at Mayo Clinic Laboratories. Mayo Clinic Labs @Work offers a glimpse behind the scenes into this busy reference laboratory, featuring staff from throughout the organization talking about what they do and why they do it.
When I graduated high school, I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go. I went to college for a year and struggled to find a direction that would allow me to commit to a long-term career path. I learned of a medical transcription program sponsored by Mayo Clinic where you trained for three months and if you passed the end exam you were hired as a Mayo employee. After completing the program, I supported Mayo Clinic’s obstetrics and gynecology department as a transcriptionist for a short period of time. Then, I transitioned to the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology (DLMP), where I held various positions over the course of 16 years before moving to Mayo Clinic Laboratories (MCL).
Since joining MCL, I’ve had the privilege to work with several teams as part of MCL Operations. Through these positions, I’ve been fortunate to fully appreciate and see the impactful contributions this team makes to Mayo Clinic’s success. I knew working for Mayo Clinic would be an immense honor and an avenue where I could begin to explore countless opportunities. Since joining Mayo Clinic 22 years ago, I have furthered my education, grown professionally, and have learned so much from a number of colleagues.
Currently, I support MCL as the senior manager for global logistics. I joined this team in May 2023. Each day brings unique opportunities to work with a wide range of stakeholders within MCL. This includes partnering with our field team to support our clients and working directly with several couriers, carriers, and vendors who support retrieval and delivery of 38,000 patient samples daily. The team is responsible for tracking and monitoring work to and from MCL, providing mitigation strategies for shipments, supporting client requests on pick-up times and carrier preferences as well as daily interactions with a vast network of couriers across the country through management of more than 175 unique routes. This encompasses nearly 1,300 daily stops and potentially 604 on-call stops.
The team is also responsible for domestic and international support of clients, managing issues that arise with custom holds, permits, declarations, and daily engagement with brokers. Each day lends to opportunities to be creative, provide customer support, and network to ensure patient samples arrive for testing without delay. In my role as senior manager, I support this dynamic operation and identify and implement opportunities to improve our services, functions, and capacity.
In logistics, there are many impacts that can divert daily operations from the “happy path,” which requires the team to adjust swiftly and timely. Navigating these daily nuances while ensuring patient samples arrive within stability at the appropriate temperature is critical to patient care and supporting providers. Through collaboration with our internal teams at MCL along with the multitude of vendors we engage with daily, I want to build trust with our clients and patients so when they send their precious sample to Mayo Clinic Labs for testing, they can have peace of mind and be assured it will arrive safely and ready to be processed and diagnosed by the best in the world.
While I started my career not really knowing where I wanted to go, I found myself expanding my professional career toward business management. Through this, I have been able to find a passion I’m really excited about. I love problem-solving, and the thrill of finding a new angle or opportunity to network across various healthcare focuses allows me to expand my knowledge and impact. I’ve learned I’m someone that would much rather have a dynamic day over a standard one and that brings me satisfaction in my job.
Logistic operations and impacts are always evolving, and this often results in a reactive approach in addressing delays, flight diversions, custom holds, courier services, and more. The clock is always ticking which requires you to adjust quickly as well as make decisions wisely but timely. You are always concerned about the patient sample in transit. Logistic success is heavily dependent on relationships with every touchpoint along the way, ensuring clear objectives and good communication. It’s hard to be reactive to a situation and I am eager to help identify ways our service can be proactive in support of our patient sample transit. My team has already begun to implement practices to support this shift. I’m excited to see our operation grow as we continue to develop new ways to drive our logistic support forward.
I love working with various people across our organization to bring about impactful change to our operation and help Mayo Clinic shine. In addition, I love when clients feel like they have a partner in the care of their patients. While I’ve never worked directly with patients, I have always felt the work I do has an important impact on our mission and values. Working on a team that strives and pulls together in the most remarkable ways to bring about success is energizing and keeps me excited for another day!
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Robin Huiras-Carlson's connection with Mayo Clinic traces back to her early years, marked by a diagnosis of a rare genetic condition at the age of 10. Today, as a senior marketing specialist with Mayo Clinic Laboratories, she draws inspiration and purpose from this personal journey to illuminate Mayo’s positive impact on patients and ongoing evolution in diagnostics.
Becca Johnson, a dedicated project manager, joined Mayo Clinic in 2014, driven by a desire to contribute to an organization making a global impact. With BioPharma Diagnostics, Becca oversees large projects, ensuring efficient sample handling and timely client results. Committed to patient-centric care, she works on transitioning clients to electronic solutions for streamlined processes. Becca finds purpose in collaborative efforts that shape healthcare's future and positively impact patients' lives.
In her current role as senior manager for global logistics at Mayo Clinic Laboratories, Sarah Mason oversees the coordination of patient sample shipments by working with a network of stakeholders, couriers, carriers, and vendors. Sarah emphasizes the critical nature of safe and timely delivery of more than 38,000 samples each day, highlighting the dynamic challenges in healthcare logistics. Through her work, she finds meaning and purpose in collaborating with diverse teams to bring impactful change to Mayo Clinic operations and its patients.