Histology Highlights: Donna Chuddley

In Fixation on Histology’s new segment, Histology Highlights, we interview histologists from across the country, to learn more about how they got into the field, and the important work they are doing in their labs.

This week’s histology highlight features NSH member, Donna Chuddley, who has been instrumental in developing numerous safety resources for NSH, including new infographics, available to NSH members on The Block.

Tell us a little bit about yourself:

My name is Donna Chuddley. I’ve lived in New Jersey my whole life. I got my Associates of Applied Science Degree from Thomas Edison University with an emphasis in Histotechnology, and my Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from Centenary College, in Hackettstown, NJ. I am married, with two girls, and a Chesapeake Bay Retriever. When not at work, I enjoy gardening, sewing, quilting, wine painting, crocheting, scrapbooking and crafts.

How did you get into Histology?

I began training right out of high school in a Certified Laboratory Assistant Program at Riverside Hospitals School for Laboratory Technology. I enjoyed hematology, phlebotomy and microbiology where I did work a short time. During the training, I would navigate to the gross room and finally was asked if I wanted to back up the one histology tech – And that is where it began.

Shortly after, I went to Morristown Memorial Hospital where I worked as an entry level tech in histology where we assisted with the gross, embedding and special stains. After the hospital I moved to pharmaceutical research at Sandoz in histology and necropsy, (now Novartis), got my HT, then to Schering-Plough, Life Cell, performing histology/necropsies. I was the necropsy trainer and then also performed IHC, and worked with plastics. I owe a lot of my safety interest to Schering Plough, working with one of the best Industrial Hygienists. I left Life Cell as I took a necropsy supervisor position with Huntingdon Life Sciences, where I later became divisional manager in Necropsy, Fetal Pathology and histology. I also received my qualification in Laboratory Safety.

Currently, I am employed back in the clinical environment at St. Luke’s University Health Network, in Bethlehem, PA where I have been working as a Histology Supervisor for two years. Here I oversee embedding, microtomy staining and IHC as well as the Histotechnology School and I am a member of the Institutional Review Board for Clinical Trials for the hospital.

What is the most rewarding histology project you’ve worked on?

Recently, St. Luke’s agreed to branching out its teaching hospital to include a Histotechnology Program in coordination with Indiana University and I think this is the best thing I have ever been involved in- seeing a first student pass the HT ASCP just last month with another to sit in September with a new student beginning in August.

However…I think traveling to St. Kitt’s/Barbados, assisting/performing and instructing surgery/necropsy in research projects was a very close second.

How did you get involved in NSH?

I attended my first NSH Region Meeting (Region II) in Timonium, MD in 1984 and was very interested. I got involved with the New Jersey Society for Histotechnology where I was the Secretary Elect, and then began as a speaker for NJSH, Region II, and eventually nationally. I volunteer with NSH because of my interest in sharing information and my passion for SAFETY. I know that not all Safety training is the same.

This year the NSH Health and Safety Committee has developed several infographics that can be printed and hung in the lab. For example, I worked on one about GHS Labeling, a topic I am going to be presenting on at the NSH Symposium/Convention this year (Workshop #108). This year, I am also teaming up with my fellow Safety Committee member, Allison Eck, who shares my passion for safety, and we are going to be presenting a workshop called Safety A-Z (Workshop #102).

I want to spread the word, and continue to ensure safety does not fall by the wayside.

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