Longstanding clinical laboratory science teacher retires
Sally Greenbeck, MPH, MT(ASCP), in the lab.
After 26 years of service to LLU and LLUMC, Sally Greenbeck, MPH, MT(ASCP), program director for clinical laboratory science in the School of Allied Health Professions, retired in June of this year. Ms. Greenbeck first came to LLUMC in 1977 when she was hired to work in the hematology department of the clinical laboratory.
Shortly after arriving, she began teaching medical technology students during their clinical rotations. When the hematology lead instructor position became available, Ms. Greenbeck decided to pursue her new love for teaching and took on this challenging position. Having never given formal lectures before, this would be a new experience.
“I barely stayed one lecture ahead of the students,” says Ms. Greenbeck.
In 1979, Ms. Greenbeck became the education coordinator for the medical technology program.
“Teaching was fun, and Dr. [Richard] Hubbard (PhD, the department chairman at the time) encouraged participation in professional organizations.”
In 1981, Ms. Greenbeck accepted a position at the faculty medical laboratory working in the immunology and radioimmunoassay departments.
“Immunology was becoming an important component of hematology. The new position was an excellent way to obtain technical skills that complemented my hematology knowledge,” she says.
In 1986, Ms. Greenbeck and her family moved to Virginia, where she continued using her expertise as the technical supervisor for hematology at the American Medical Laboratory. But, California beckoned, and two years later she returned to Loma Linda.
“The environment at LLUMC and at the University was stimulating, challenging, and caring. I couldn’t wait to return to what I viewed as my work family,” she says.
Ms. Greenbeck picked up where she left off, and returned to teaching hematology. Soon after her return, the new department chair, John Lewis, PhD, offered her the position of clinical laboratory science education coordinator again. This time the position offered new challenges. Ms. Greenbeck became involved in teaching urinalysis, clinical biochemistry, clinical chemistry, instrumentation, sociology, management, and senior seminar.
“Dr. Lewis’ mentoring allowed me to eventually be a candidate for the program director position,” she says.
And, in 2000 she became program director. Ms. Greenbeck describes these years as the “Golden Days” of her career.
Dr. Lewis, former chair of the department of clinical laboratory science, recaps his years working with Sally: “When I took the chairmanship of the then-department of medical technology, Sally joined the team and firmly, but gently, helped mold the department. Without her efforts in those early years, clinical laboratory science would not be what it is today. She was, and is, totally dedicated to the profession. Motivated, organized, and passionate about providing an excellent program, she is the consummate student advocate. Her leadership qualities are envious!”
Ms. Greenbeck’s most memorable time during her tenure includes participating in the California State Student Bowl competition. She helped to prepare LLU students to compete with other medical technology schools across the state. This was an “exciting event for students and faculty.” She assisted in leading the medical technology class of 1985 to the state championship.
Accreditation and regulatory requirements have had a large impact in the changes Ms. Greenbeck has seen in the clinical laboratory science program over the years.
“Expectations are much higher now, both in terms of student outcomes, as well as faculty training and responsibility. New technical developments are the hallmark of our profession, so incorporation of new content has always been an important component of the program,” she says. “The profession now requires training in a greater number of technical topics, and also places more emphasis on structured professional behavior and management skills.”
Her years of teaching have been rewarding for Ms. Greenbeck.
“The most rewarding aspect is working with the students; the chance to help them overcome difficulties…and watch them graduate and become working professionals. I am amazed to think of the number of students whose lives I’ve touched through teaching. It is also humbling to know that a number of the students that I’ve worked with have gone on to become respected physicians and professionals.”
James Pappas, MD, medical director for the clinical laboratory science program and the LLUMC clinical laboratory and vice president of quality and patient safety, says of Ms. Greenbeck, “Sally represents a combination of excellent people skills, leadership, and operational savvy. To find so many skills wrapped up in one human is indeed rare.”
As for the future, Ms. Greenbeck plans to focus on her family, her husband, children, and grandchildren. She will continue to teach the two-quarter hematology course so that she can remain involved with helping young people learn and grow. Her staff will miss her leadership and vision, but are happy she is still around part time.
Kathy Davis, clinical coordinator for the clinical laboratory science program, sums it up for all of the CLS faculty when she says, “Sally has been a stellar example of professionalism for the entire department of clinical lab science. Her presence in the administrative role of program director will surely be missed by both students and faculty.”