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April 16, 2024

Spotlighting the Exceptional Team at LifeLabs During Medical Laboratory Week! Meet Deanna Korchuk

Toronto, ON, April 16, 2024 – As we bask in the glow of Medical Laboratory Week, we’re thrilled to shine a well-deserved spotlight on the incredible team powering LifeLabs. This week, we’re celebrating our medical laboratory professionals’ remarkable talent and unwavering dedication. Each team member plays a pivotal role in our collective success, from seasoned veterans to bright newcomers. From dispelling myths to envisioning their own superhero abilities, our team members are ready to share their wisdom and inspire the next generation of medical laboratory professionals. Get ready to be amazed by the talent, dedication, and sheer passion of the extraordinary individuals who make LifeLabs shine. Let’s celebrate Medical Laboratory Week by honouring the heroes in front and behind the scenes!

Deanna Korchuk

photo of Deanna Korchuk

Meet Deanna Korchuk, a seasoned Manager of Laboratory Operations whose journey and insights embody the spirit of strength, innovation, and commitment that define LifeLabs’ laboratory team. Deanna’s experiences, accomplishments, and reflections offer a glimpse into the world of medical laboratory science and the exceptional individuals who call it home.


What inspired you to pursue a career in medical laboratory science? 

I wasn’t really inspired. It was more of a process of elimination. I wanted something in the health field but wanted to avoid patient-facing, like in nursing. The medical laboratory technology program fits my love for science and biology, my desire to help people, and my desire to remain in the background (the introvert in me). The perfect match! Little did I know I’d spend my career explaining what I do. As MLTs, we play an integral role in patient care, but most people don’t know we exist. 


Can you share a memorable experience or accomplishment from LifeLabs? 

I have been blessed with so many opportunities at LifeLabs. I’ve been part of many projects over the years, but the most memorable is the recent High Volume Chemistry project. Replacing the chemistry analyzers is the largest project I have participated in. On the surface, it sounds straightforward – validate and replace the current analyzers – but it was nothing but. I don’t think anything on this project went the way we thought it would, except for how the lab handled all the challenges. The lab team is the most resilient and agile group. No matter what this project threw at us, we conquered it. When we needed to work extra weekends to get the patient testing done, someone was always willing to come in, often taking time away from their family. While this project was a challenge, the most memorable thing is how the lab teams came together to support each other and our customers. This speaks volumes to the dedicated lab team we have at LifeLabs. Every day, there were examples of our LifeLabs values in action. 


What do you find most rewarding about your work in the medical laboratory? 

Knowing that every time I come to work, I make a difference to someone. MLTs and technicians work in the background of health care, often with little recognition by other health care professionals. However, we know that every sample we touch is a person, and that person is trusting us with their health. What can be more rewarding than that? 


Can you share some advice or insight for aspiring medical laboratory professionals? 

Take the time to learn. You never know where your lab journey will lead you. Talk to the MLT who is close to retiring—what they know won’t be found in an SOP. Volunteer for projects—challenge yourself to come out of your comfort zone. Every project is an opportunity to learn something. Learn what the other departments do—you never know what opportunity lurks in a department that isn’t yours. Talk to the vendors—who knows your analyzer better than them?  When I started as a part-time MLT at LifeLabs in Belleville 35 years ago, I never thought I would be an HVC lab manager at KRL/IRL. This profession is so diverse, with many avenues besides the lab; find what works for you, but learn along the way. 


What’s one misconception about med lab that you’d like to debunk?   

Especially in chemistry, people think we are “button pushers” or “just test blood” like it’s something insignificant. The MLTs and technicians in the lab provide the foundation on which medical decisions are based. MLTs perform maintenance on analyzers to ensure they are functioning optimally; we review quality control results to ensure we produce quality results; we troubleshoot analyzers; we identify cells; we identify bacteria and viruses; we identify cancer cells. Yes, we push buttons and test blood (and every other body fluid!), but we do this to provide the puzzle pieces that allow doctors to diagnose a patient. We are the first to know if a patient’s treatment works by the results we see. We are the first to know that a parent will get a call from their child’s physician that will change their lives forever. 


If you could swap roles with another team member for a day, who would it be and why? 

This is a hard one. I don’t want to swap with anyone. I’m in a department that I love and have a wonderful team. But, if I had to pick, I’d swap with Narinder and Maria (managers of microbiology). They just went live with the new microbiology platform, and I’d love to see it in action. 


If you could choose one superpower to help you in your work, what would it be and why? 

Of all the superpowers, I can’t think of any that would help me manage the lab. As a lab manager, I have all the superpowers I need – the lab MLTs and technicians!


We are thrilled to recognize the unsung heroes of healthcare—individuals like Deanna and her colleagues at LifeLabs. They work tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure the accuracy and reliability of diagnostic tests that impact countless lives every day. Their dedication, resilience, and commitment to excellence make them the backbone of our healthcare system.

Thank you, Deanna, for sharing your story! Happy National Med Lab Week!

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