The American Society for Cytotechnology (ASCT) is a collective voice for the profession and is committed to defining and promoting the profession of cytotechnology. The organization:
- Develops practice standards;
- Monitors and evaluates legislative/regulatory issues and emerging technologies affecting the profession; and
- Provides unique, practical educational opportunities pertinent to the practice of cytotechnology.
Membership benefits include:
- Subscription to the VOICE, ASCT's newsletter
- Discount registration fees at the annual conference with continuing education credits
- An interactive website, including exclusive access to Members Only site
- Official representation with other organizations
- Student membership is complimentary!
ASCT Position Statement on Continuing Education:
The ASCT recognizes the importance of continuing education (CE) for cytotechnologists in an era of rapidly evolving regulations, science and technology. CE is essential for maintenance of competency and professional development. Cytotechnologists must comply with any CE requirements dictated by licensure and/or certification. As a proponent of lifelong learning, the ASCT encourages each individual to determine their own educational needs based on their professional responsibilities and implement a plan to meet those needs. The ASCT can be a vital part of any comprehensive continuing education plan and a provider of resource publications.
The American Society for Cytotechnology (ASCT) was founded in 1979 by nine dedicated individuals who passionately believed that cytotechnologists needed a national organization in which they could fully participate and shape their profession. The nine founding members were:
Patricia R. Ashton, Elsie Carruthers, Catherine M. Keebler, Shirley E. Greening, Angela L. Savino, Margaret J. Harris, Florence Woodworth Patten, Edna Pixley, Marion Danos Holmquist.
With the support of other active cytotechnologists, they established the American Society for Cytotechnology (ASCT). The ASCT became the first and only organization whose executive board is comprised solely of cytotechnologists. As is still true today, the ASCT provided a venue for discussion and collaboration on issues that uniquely affect cytotechnologists.
The purposes of ASCT listed in the original articles of incorporation included:
- To enhance the role of the cytotechnologist in the health care system
- To promote the highest professional standards for the practice of diagnostic cytology
- To stimulate communication and cooperation among those persons actively engaged in the practices of diagnostic cytology
- To inform the members of current legislative and legal issues pertaining to the profession of cytotechnology
- To communicate regulations and legislation affecting the profession of cytotechnology so that members will be aware of the laws affecting their work
- To support and promote educational opportunities for members on the local, regional, national or international levels
From the outset, ASCT took a lead role in developing professional standards for cytotechnology and monitoring and responding to legislative and regulatory issues that impacted cytotechnologists. The legislative spotlight in the very first ASCT Newsletter (subsequently renamed ASCT News after the fourth issue, and then ASCT Voice in 2004) focused on the Personnel Standards for the Clinical Laboratory that were proposed in the Federal Register at the time. ASCT’s Professional Standards and Practices Committee developed and introduced a proposal for workload recommendations even prior to the 1987 Wall Street Journal article that highlighted the problem with workload at the time, "Lax Laboratories: The Pap Test Misses Much Cervical Cancer Through Labs’ Errors."
Following the passage of CLIA ’88, ASCT was at the forefront in responding to the Health Care Financing Administration’s (HCFA) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking . Representatives from the ASCT spoke before Congressional committees and subcommittees on behalf of the cytotechnology community. In 1989, ASCT was awarded the HCFA contract to survey Cytology laboratories for compliance with the new Federal Laboratory Regulations. A new subsidiary of the ASCT, called ASCT Services Inc., was created to manage this contract. ASCT Services remains the sole owner of this contract, which is now overseen by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
ASCT was born out of a need for an organization that focused specifically on cytotechnology. As part of ASCT’s 25th anniversary celebration at the 2004 Annual Conference, founding member Florence Woodworth Patten described the formation of ASCT in her keynote address, A Need-An Idea-the ASCT, as "a fairly tumultuous labor accompanying its delivery, an infancy and adolescence that have led to a strong and productive organization". Thirty years after its founding, ASCT still focuses on bringing cytotechnologists’ needs and ideas to the forefront in their ever changing work environment.