National Laboratory System
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      The National Laboratory System was established to ensure a strong system of integrated public health, hospital, and independent laboratories. The goal is to strengthen critical testing and communication for public health issues through systematic improvements in the delivery of laboratory ser vices. Facilitated collaboration among state public health laboratories and their clinical laboratory constituents fulfills the directive in recent government appropriations to integrate the work of clinical and public health laboratories to assure preparedness for bioterrorism through planning, training, coordination, communication, and standardization of methods.

      The NLS is pro-active, allowing each state to prioritize its efforts towards bioter rorism and various public health threats such as foodborne diseases, antimicrobial resistance, and chronic health threats. It has flexibility of scope so that resources can be diverted to any public health crisis. Model projects have demonstrated that recent funding is best utilized to connect private and public health laboratories with a designated laboratory program advisor in each of the fifty states. Other components include a system for routine and emergency communication, advisory committees, ongoing laboratory training programs, and the National Laborator y Database, a comprehensive, state-centered inventory of laboratories, testing services and practices. The National Laborator y System is supported by the Division of Laboratory Systems within the Public Health Practice Program Office of the CDC.

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