to main content 2023 Laboratory Roundtable | The Joint Commission

About the Event

Join us for a complimentary two-day, insight-packed event focused on improving laboratory quality and safety while strengthening the patient experience. Industry leaders will share data-driven observations, trends, and experiences. The Joint Commission Laboratory surveyors and leadership teams will share their experiences, best practices, and top cited standards.

Attend the annual Laboratory Roundtable virtually for this two-day event being held Wednesday, September 27, from 1-5 pm Central and Thursday, September 28, from 9 am-1 pm Central.

Join us for industry insights from leaders in the field including:

  • The Joint Commission Standards Interpretation Group on challenges and the 10 most cited standards.
  • The Laboratory surveyor team on establishing a meaningful PI plan and evaluating the efficacy for sustained improvement.
  • Industry leaders on laboratory challenges and pertinent federal & regulatory updates.
  • What’s new for 2023 and beyond from Joint Commission to help improve laboratory quality and safety and strengthening the patient experience.

Who should attend?

This event is perfect for your whole team including Pathologists, Laboratory Directors and Administrators, Laboratory Managers and Supervisors, Quality Managers, Hospital C-suite Executives and Laboratory Leadership Teams.

Registration Closed

Wednesday, September 27th

1:00 1:10    Heather Hurley
Welcome – Day 1

1:10 – 2:10    Jennifer Nicoloro and Ellen Goonan
Training the Next Generation: Establishing a Hospital – Based Medical Laboratory Science Program to Address Lab Staff Shortages

2:10 – 3:00    Elia Mears
Competency Assessment

3:00 – 3:15

3:15 – 3:45    Gregg Brandush
2023 CLIA Updates

3:45 – 4:30    Harriet Briggs and Elia Mears
Part 1 – Survey Process

4:30    Heather Hurley
Closing Remarks and Wrap Up – Day 1


Thursday, September 28th

9:00 – 9:10    Heather Hurley
Welcome – Day 2

9:10 – 10:10    Sharon Ehrmeyer
Ensuring Result Quality: More than just analyzing QC!

10:10 – 11:10    Cherie Ulaskas
Standards Update – SIG

11:10 – 11:25

11:25 – 12:15    Harriet Briggs and Elia Mears
Part 2 – Survey Preparation

12:15    Heather Hurley
Closing Remarks and Wrap Up – Day 2

*Program subject to change. All times listed are Central Time.


Gregg BrandushMr. Brandush has 31 years of healthcare experience. He began his Federal career in 1992 with the Peace Corps, where he served as a Health Care Instructor for two years in Sao Tome, West Africa. Following his time in the Peace Corps, Mr. Brandush worked in various health care settings in the private sector before returning to Federal service in 2010 after being hired as a long-term care (LTC) Nurse Consultant Surveyor for the CMS Division of Survey & Certification in Chicago. In 2013, he was promoted to the LTC Enforcement Branch Manager position and then moved into the Deputy Associate Regional Administer position for region 5. In these roles, Mr. Brandush collaborated with internal and external partners by providing guidance, identifying opportunities for improvement, and developing strategies and tools to resolve concerns related to the health and safety of those the CMS programs serve. In 2020, Mr. Brandush was named Division Director for the CMS Chicago Survey & Operations Group, and in 2022, he was selected as the Director of the Division of Clinical Laboratory Improvement & Quality (DCLIQ) within QSOG. Mr. Brandush holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies, and a Juris Doctor degree.

Harriet L. Briggs, MBA, MT(ASCP)Mrs. Briggs is the new Field Director for the Joint Commission’s Laboratory Accreditation Program. She is responsible for the management and oversight of the field staff that conduct laboratory accreditation surveys. Prior to her role as Field Director, Harriet was a laboratory surveyor.

Prior to joining The Joint Commission, Mrs. Briggs was the Corporate Laboratory Manager at Prime Healthcare in Ontario, CA, and the Laboratory Administrative Director at Hunt Regional Healthcare in Greenville, TX.

Mrs. Briggs also has 12 years of experience in the area of laboratory quality assurance, with responsibilities for laboratory accreditation and related activities within a multi-hospital healthcare system in Texas and Florida. She has experience working with many laboratory accrediting agencies throughout her career including the American Association of Blood Banks, the College of American Pathologists, the Commission on Office Laboratory Accreditation, The Joint Commission, and the American Society for Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics.

Mrs. Briggs graduated from Nova Southeastern University in Davie, FL with a master’s degree in business administration with a concentration in Healthcare Administration. She also obtained a bachelor’s degree in medical technology from Florida International University in Miami, FL. Her degree in medical technology gave her the foundation in clinical laboratory services where she was a medical technologist at both hospital laboratory and reference laboratories. Mrs. Briggs currently holds the Clinical Laboratory Technologist license in the State of Florida.

Sharon Ehrmeyer, Ph.D., MT(ASCP)Dr. Ehrmeyer is Professor Emeritus in Pathology and Laboratory Medicine in the School of Medicine and Public Health at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, WI. She has served on many professional organizations’ committees including Secretary for ADLM’s (AACC) POCT Division, Chair of ADLM’s Government Relations Committee, and CLSI and ASCP’s Board of Directors. Her research areas focus on laboratory/POCT quality issues and the impact of these on quality practices. She has authored numerous books and journal articles and presents her interests nationally and internationally. Laboratory personnel have followed her guidance in their compliance efforts for decades.

Ms. Goonan joined the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston as a coop student from Northeastern University in 1980. She has continued to work in the clinical laboratories for the past 43 years in various roles, including Hematology Supervisor, Technical Director of Ambulatory Laboratories, Director of Regulatory Compliance and more recently, Senior Director of Operations.

Ms. Goonan received a Master’s Degree in Healthcare Administration (MHA) from Simmons College in Boston, MA and an Associate Degree in Nursing from Regis College in Weston, MA. Her undergraduate degree is a Bachelor of Science in Medical Technology from Northeastern University in Boston, MA.

Ms. Goonan was instrumental, along with others, in spearheading the leadership support for the new MLS program at Mass General Brigham Enterprise.

Heather HurleyHeather Hurley is the Executive Director of Laboratory Business Development at The Joint Commission. In this role, Ms. Hurley is responsible for leading business strategies and activities, including the development and implementation of products and services, for the Joint Commission’s Laboratory Accreditation Program, which accredits approximately 1,500 U.S. organizations providing clinical and reference laboratory services. Ms. Hurley also leads the Joint Commission’s Laboratory Accreditation Advisory Council and similar groups, and serves as liaison to associations, collaborative partners, and accrediting and regulatory bodies in the laboratory field. In addition, she provides technical oversight and assistance in support of the development of laboratory accreditation manuals, standards, education programs, and other accreditation-related materials.

Ms. Hurley has more than 13 years of commercial experience in the life sciences market, most recently serving as the director of sales for the Life Science Reagent Business Unit at Affymetrix, Inc., Santa Clara, California. In this role, she was responsible for the company’s direct and indirect selling channels in North America, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. Ms. Hurley managed products related to molecular biology enzymes and reagents, biochemical, and cell signaling/gene regulation to reach a variety of customer segments, including diagnostics, biotechnology, pharmaceutical, academic, and government research institutions. Prior to her commercial experience, she began her professional career as a laboratory technologist in the Department of Molecular Genetics at the Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio, working in the area of gene expression.

Ms. Hurley received her Bachelor of Science degree in biological science from Ohio University, Athens, Ohio.

Elia M. Mears, MS MT(ASCP)SMElia M. Mears, MS MT(ASCP)SM is a Laboratory Field Surveyor for the Laboratory Accreditation Program of The Joint Commission since 2012. Prior to her present position, she was Director of Laboratory Services at LSUHSC-Leonard J Chabert Medical Center in Houma, Louisiana. She earned her two undergraduate degrees from Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, and received her Master of Science degree from the University of St Francis in Joliet, Illinois. She also completed the Notre Dame Executive Management Program.

Ms. Mears has been an active member of AACC since 1992. She is a member of the Nutrition Division, having served as Treasurer (1998 and 1999), Chair Elect (2002 and 2003) and (2012 and 2013), Chair (2004 and 2005) and (2014 and 2015) and Secretary (2016 and 2017). She was also a member of the Personalized Medicine Division where she served as Secretary. She is presently on the Critical Point of Care Division and a member of the Southeast Section where she serves as the present Secretary-Treasurer. Ms. Mears has served in different roles in the AACC, having been on the Nominating Committee, on the Editorial Board of Clinical Lab News, on three previous Annual Meeting Organizing Committees, on the AACC Finance Committee and on the Education Core Committee. She was on the 2023 Annual Meeting Organizing Committee, and the Point of Care Certification Board. She is presently on the Clinical Lab News Board of Editors and ADLM CLS Council.

Ms. Mears has authored numerous articles in the field of nutrition and has lectured on nutritional aspects of the hospitalized patients both nationally and internationally. She was the recipient of the Nutrition Division 2001 Gary-Labbe Award for outstanding contributions in advancing Nutrition Chemistry. Most recently, she was awarded the ADLM 2023 CLS Achievement Award (formerly AACC).

Jennifer M. Nicoloro, PhD, MLS(ASCP)CMJennifer Nicoloro brings over a decade of experience in medical laboratory science education and clinical practice to her role as Director of the newly established, accelerated hospital-based Medical Laboratory Science program at Mass General Brigham (MGB) in Boston, Massachusetts.

Prior to joining MGB, Jennifer held roles as a Clinical Assistant Professor and Program Director in an NAACLS-accredited Medical Laboratory Science program. She also worked as an educator in associate-level Medical Laboratory Technician and certificate-level Phlebotomy programs at the community college level.

Jennifer's background includes initial program development, NAACLS self-study composition, and service as a NAACLS site visitor. She is a board-certified medical laboratory scientist, and concurrent with her academic roles, she worked as an MLS generalist in a community hospital setting.

Currently, she is leading the development and implementation of MGB's medical laboratory categorical and generalist programs, while concurrently working towards NAACLS accreditation. Since their launch in April 2022, these programs have successfully trained 26 adept laboratory scientists across all major laboratory disciplines.

Jennifer has a passion for hands-on technical training, promoting diversity among student populations and inspiring the next generation to pursue a career in laboratory medicine, and workforce development strategies.

Cherie J UlaskasCherie J. Ulaskas is an Associate Director in the Department of Standards Interpretation at The Joint Commission. Her responsibilities include responding to external and internal customer inquiries regarding standards interpretation and working with organizations during the post-survey process. She also serves as faculty for surveyor and other education programs and consults on the development of standards and the survey process. In this capacity, she interprets standards for all Joint Commission accreditation programs and primarily interprets for the Laboratory programs.

Ms. Ulaskas has worked for The Joint Commission since 1989. She has held positions in Accreditation Operations, Department of Standards, and Joint Commission Resources. She also worked as a Medical Technologist at St. James Medical Center in Illinois before joining The Joint Commission.

Ms. Ulaskas earned undergraduate degrees in Biological Sciences from Southern Illinois University and Medical Technology from Governors State University. In addition, she received a Master’s degree in Communication from Governors State University. She also served as adjunct facility at Robert Morris University.