Baylor Esoteric And Molecular Lab Receives Award From NBOA

Monday, February 22, 2021
Dr. Elizabeth Forrester and Dr. Dawn Richards
Dr. Elizabeth Forrester and Dr. Dawn Richards

The National Business Officers Association has honored the Baylor Esoteric and Molecular Laboratory with the Jeffery Shields Award for Innovation Excellence in School Business Operations, calling Baylor a school that has "capitalized on their strengths to serve essential community needs and build a strong financial future."

The award was established to recognize member schools that demonstrate innovation in approaches, programs, and practices that serve as a model to the independent school community.

In NetAssets, the organization's online magazine, NBOA President Jeffery Shields named Baylor among schools that have "'shaken up' their organizations and disrupted the status quo by implementing new ideas and transforming organizational culture."

In mid-March 2020, during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, the availability and speed of testing for the novel coronavirus was one of the biggest obstacles to fighting spread of the disease. Baylor School faculty members Elizabeth Forrester and Dawn Richards, both Ph.D. research scientists trained in molecular biology, developed a testing protocol for COVID-19 and prepared to help with the area’s testing. Baylor School had the specialized equipment to carry out the protocol.

The molecular research lab was quickly certified as a clinical lab to test COVID-19 samples and leased by the county. Throughout the spring and into summer, it processed thousands of COVID-19 tests for the area at a time when local cases were surging and testing was urgently needed, said officials.

In July, the new Baylor Esoteric and Molecular Laboratory opened at the Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute, located adjacent to the Baylor campus. With additional space and equipment, the BEM lab team expanded testing from 65 tests in a 24-hour cycle to 600-900 tests in the same time period. While the BEM lab has focused primarily on COVID-19 testing, it plans to expand testing to include other pathogens, and eventually cancer genetics. The initiative aligns closely with Baylor's mission to foster in its students both the ability and the desire to make a positive difference in the world.



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