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Longstanding tradition in education and training of medical laboratory scientists in Kansas.

Pioneering Spirit

The University of Kansas is among the pioneers in providing education to students. Specialty areas of the clinical laboratory now include clinical chemistry, hematology, transfusion services, clinical immunology, clinical microbiology and molecular diagnostics.

Before 1890s - Physicians commonly performed basic laboratory examinations, but most “laboratories” were located within physicians' homes or offices, or inside hospital wards.

1890-1920s - Technological advances in the study of important infectious diseases such as cholera and diphtheria let to the development of diagnostic tests and began the movement toward the development of the pathology as a specialty area of study available to physicians in training.

1926 - The American College of Surgeons' accreditation standards determined that every hospital must have a clinical laboratory. Training of laboratory assistants, most of whom were women, began and the American Society of Clinical Pathologists (ASCP), later American Society for Clinical Pathology, determined the baseline for certification and training of laboratory workers.

1928 - ASCP created the Board of Registry, an organization charged with providing individual certification to laboratory technicians, and also the Board of Schools charged with accreditation of training programs.

1933 - After the introduction of initial clinical testing practices came the organization of the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science (ASCLS), previously the American Society for Medical Technology (ASMT).

1933 - Professional clinical laboratory training at KU began as a hospital-based program known as Medical Technology. Phyllis Boyle was one of the earliest program directors, and her long tenure produced significant educational advances in laboratory sciences.

1973 - Due to pressure from ASMT, an independently operated and governed accreditation body for laboratory training programs, the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS), was created to replace the ASCP-run Board of Schools.

1984 - The Medical Technology program moved from the Department of Pathology to the newly created Department of Medical Technology, and officially joined the School of Health Professions, then the School of Allied Health.

1984-1991 - Virginia Johnston, Ph.D. served as the Medical Technology department's first chair.

1991-2015 - Venus Ward, Ph.D., was appointed Johnston's replacement and held the position of chair until 2015.

1995 - Expansion of clinical affiliates outside of the KU Hospital to support training in the program.

1999 - Department name changed to Clinical Laboratory Sciences.

2001 - The molecular biotechnology concentration was added to the program to meet the needs of diagnostic and research laboratories.

2004 - Molecular biotechnology concentration granted initial accreditation from NAACLS.

2005 - The 12-month CLS bachelor's program expanded to a 24-month curriculum.

2006 - In response to projected growth in the field of molecular biotechnology, the department added the master's in molecular biotechnology degree. The growth necessitated relocation to expanded laboratory space in the Eaton Building on the KU Medical Center campus.

2007 - Graduation of first two-year bachelor's degree class.

2015 - Eric Elsinghorst, Ph.D. takes the helm as appointed chair and program director over the Master's and Bachelor programs.

2018 - CLS department was approved to offer a doctorate in clinical laboratory sciences (DCLS) degree.

2019 - KU became only the third institution in the country to offer a DCLS degree. The program admitted its first cohort of four students in August 2019. DCLS program led by program director, S. Renee Hodgkins, Ph.D.


Delwiche F. A. (2003). Mapping the literature of clinical laboratory science. Journal of the Medical Library Association : JMLA, 91(3), 303–310.

KU School of Health Professions

University of Kansas Medical Center
Clinical Laboratory Science
3901 Rainbow Boulevard
Mailstop 4048
Kansas City, KS 66160
913-588-5220 • 711 TTY