Participants design and execute a project that improves their laboratories' operations. They work with their assigned mentor to develop the concept, goals, objectives, and methods to address the implementation of the project in their home laboratories. At the end of the program, participants present their projects to fellow program participants, mentors, and faculty at the program finale meeting.
Participants design and execute a project that improves their laboratories' operations. They work with their assigned mentor to develop the concept, goals, objectives, and methods to address the implementation of the project in their home laboratories. They spend approximately 60-100 hours developing and implementing their projects over the duration of the nine-month program, and have several interim deliverables due at key checkpoints during the program.
At the end of the program, participants present their projects to fellow program participants, mentors, and faculty at the program finale meeting. The Capstone project is an individualized part of the curriculum that can be customized to meet the goals for each laboratory.
The Project should be viewed as an opportunity for participants to:
- Identify an area in the laboratory’s operations that needs improvement
- Immerse oneself in solving an important problem in the laboratory
- Develop, expand, and hone leadership, management, analytical, and communication skills
- Focus on an area of particular interest in laboratory operations
The goals of the Capstone Project are to:
- Complete a comprehensive laboratory capacity assessment and identify areas of opportunity to address operational challenges in the laboratory
- Demonstrate competency in leadership and management through implementation of changes in an area of need
- Evaluate the successes and weaknesses of implementing new practices, polices, or technology though formal evaluation and analysis
- Hone communication skills and use them to summarize findings in professional-quality written reports and presentations
Support for the Capstone Project
While conducting the Capstone project, participants work closely with a mentor as well as program faculty to support them in project implementation. Experience has shown that mentors are essential to ensuring learners persist with the coursework and Capstone project to complete the certificate program. At the start of the program, participants are assigned a mentor from the country or region. The mentor is a practitioner of stature in the field of clinical or public health laboratory medicine and receives training in mentoring duties and responsibilities before assuming the role.
The mentor informally teaches, encourages, and challenges the participant to improve skills in laboratory management. More specifically, the mentor:
- Assists in project design and implementation
- Monitors progress throughout the project
- Reviews project deliverables
- Helps in preparing for the Capstone presentation
Both the program course work and the Capstone project are structured to assure that participants achieve core competencies in skill areas such as leadership, management, communication, policy development, and statistical analysis of laboratory data.