Popular Online Medical Laboratory Science Program at University of Cincinnati Reaches 20-Year Milestone

When Gideon Labiner, Associate Professor–Educator, joined the University of Cincinnati (UC) in September 2001, his first week coincided with 9/11. He spent his earliest days at UC helping students process what was happening, while learning the ropes of his new job.

Gideon’s arrival marked the beginning of a transformative period for UC’s online bachelor’s

in medical laboratory science program. The early 2000s were pivotal years for the almost 80-

Gideon Labiner, MS, MLS(ASCP)
Gideon Labiner, MS, MLS(ASCP), Associate Professor-Educator, teaches Special Topics in Medical Laboratory Science, Advanced Clinical Molecular & Immunological Diagnostics, and the Capstone course in UC’s online BS MLS program

year-old program. Gideon played an instrumental role in shaping a new online program, leveraging his professional and educational background to contribute to its establishment.

BS MLS Program Circa World War II

Here’s an interesting fact from Prof. Labiner, who says he’s become somewhat of a historian for UC’s Bachelor of Science (BS) in Medical Laboratory Science (MLS) program offerings: The on-campus MLS program dates to Word War II, and the first class graduated in the mid-1940s.

Countless students have gone through the program since then. Gideon says UC’s reputation and its abundance of lab science graduates are two reasons Cincinnati, OH, is a vibrant hub for laboratory science. “A lot of what happened here at UC and throughout our city changed the field of medicine within and outside our state,” he said.

Now back to the early 2000s and Gideon’s arrival at UC. Within a year after joining our university, Gideon and others on staff began developing the online MLT-to-MLS Bachelor of Science (BS) program. When it launched in the summer of 2004, it was only UC’s second program to go entirely online. (Today, UC offers more than 100 online degrees!) “It was like an education incubator,” he said. “We faced many hurdles to bring this program to students living anywhere in the country.”

Key Takeaways

    • UC’s online BS in MLS program is a convenient choice for those who already completed an associate degree program in Clinical Laboratory Technician (CLT) or Medical Laboratory Technician (MLT) – or have equivalent education or experience (e.g., military MLT’s)
    • UC’s medical laboratory science program graduates consistently perform higher than the national average on the American Society for Clinical Pathology’s Board of Certification Exam in medical laboratory science.
    • UC’s online BS MLS program curriculum equips graduates to excel in many roles including Medical Laboratory Scientists & Managers, Research and Development Technicians, Clinical Supervisors, Forensic Examiners, Technical Specialists, Education & Instruction Specialists, Laboratory Information Professionals, Veterinarian Laboratory Specialists

Changes During the Online Program’s Two Decades

Much has changed since 2004 for the Bachelor’s in Medical Laboratory Science program and the laboratory science field. Initially, there were 48 students in UC’s inaugural online program. Within 10 years, Gideon says 1,000 students graduated, and he estimates more than 2,000 people have completed the program.

Today, the online Medical Laboratory Science program lives in UC’s College of Allied Health Sciences (CAHS). CAHS is part of UC’s Academic Health Center with the College of Medicine, the James L. Winkle College of Pharmacy, and the College of Nursing. The four colleges work together to promote interprofessional learning, which has become an emergent, crucial topic nationally in the health professions due to evidence that team-based care produces superior patient outcomes.

Another big change Prof. Labiner witnessed is in the medical laboratory science field itself, including its name. Gideon recalled the initial term for the major and profession, “medical technology,” saying it was followed by “clinic laboratory science,” and then “medical laboratory science.”

It’s no surprise that technology has evolved since 2004. Prof. Labiner recalls the available tools being unsophisticated and finicky. He used the old PowerPoint Producer program to tediously code UC presentations. (“I’m happy those days are long gone,” he said.) Now, Prof. Labiner enjoys employing his graphic design and writing skills when creating presentations for students. His appreciation for art makes its way into the virtual classroom, as well, as enlivening the material students see.

The Student Population: Then and Now

In the early years of the online MLS bachelor’s program, Gideon remembers more mid-career people enrolling. People signed up because they’d been searching for a distance learning program. They were pleased to find UC’s program flexible enough to help them manage their studies alongside the demands of work and home.

Soon, students from all over the US began joining the program. Students with military backgrounds working in labs enrolled, too. “As a bachelor’s completion program, military students have always been a great fit for UC,” Gideon said. “I’ve taught students stationed in Japan and Europe and know some who took their exams in the middle of an ocean.”

Over the years, Gideon has seen more men choose the online MLS program. The age range of students has become broader, with distance-learning classmates now spanning from their early twenties to their late sixties.

Gideon says many people entering the program talk about how their interest in medical laboratory science was influenced by watching forensic-themed TV shows with their families, like Bones.

Professional Experience Prior to UC

Before joining our university, Gideon was a forensic DNA analyst at Marshall University where he earned a Master’s in Forensic Science.

The work was both exciting and challenging. Gideon said, “We received a large Department of Justice grant to establish Marshall’s forensic DNA laboratory. I was in the right place at the right time and gained a lot of experience in a DNA lab, which was a relatively new area in the late ‘90s.”

Prior to Marshall University, Gideon spent several years at a small private clinical laboratory, working in numerous areas of the lab.

Medical Laboratory Science Program and Field Still Evolving

Gideon cites the obvious impact the pandemic made on the laboratory science field. He helped dozens of UC students understand molecular tests and how viruses mutate, and the critical nature of lab and hospital safety.

Outside of UC’s medical laboratory program, changes are happening in the laboratory science field. Recently, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) published its final rules related to personnel regulations under Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA). (Here’s information about the CMS ruling, which includes changes to the personnel who work in medical laboratory science and the nomenclature used in this field.)

Kudos to the Larger Production Team

Gideon works hand in hand with many others at UC who have connections to the MLS program. Associate Professor–Educator Erin Rumpke, MS, MLS(ASCP), is the BS MLS’ Program Director. Courtney Gutierrez, Jennifer Macht, and Mel Woods are Program Managers. (Find other faculty members online)

Med Lab Science staff includes two Student Success Coordinators, Dalton Boucher and Kyle Cline. They check in with students regularly to assist with registration questions, help students navigate the program and UC in general, encourage academic success, and explore students’ graduation plans. (Online students are welcome to attend graduation in person in Cincinnati.)

Next Best Step: Connect With a UC Representative

If you want to learn more about the Bachelor of Science (BS) in MLS program, here’s what to do: Connect with an Enrollment Services Advisor online, or reach the team on weekdays by calling (833) 556-8611. Ask the advisor about available scholarship opportunities, including those for active military members and veterans.

For students interested in earning a Master of Science (MS) in MLS degree, explore UC’s online program. Graduates of the online BS MLS program are eligible for an automatic, one-time $1,000 scholarship for MS program to help them continue to be leaders in the lab.

birds eye view of students working at a round table with laptops and study materials
Need additional student resources?
Already an online student? UC Online has additional tips and tricks to ensure you are on the path to success. Check out our Student Resources section for what you need to maximize your learning.
Corporate Taxation professionals having a meeting
Helping You Build a Better Business Through Continuing Education
Employee recruitment and retention is crucial for the growth and profitability of an organization and should be a high priority for every business. At the University of Cincinnati Online, we want to help develop and retain your employees through our Business Partnership offering.

Sign up for updates from UC Online

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.