DANVILLE, PA -- A Geisinger researcher and microbiologist has been nationally recognized for her work by the American Society of Microbiology (ASM).
Donna Wolk, MHA, Ph.D., system director of clinical and molecular microbiology and Diplomat of the American Board of Medical Microbiology, will receive her award at the society’s June 18 meeting in Boston. The society said she was being honored as “a distinguished clinical microbiologist for outstanding research accomplishments leading to or forming the foundation for important applications in clinical microbiology.”
“This award by the American Society of Microbiology to Dr. Donna Wolk recognizes the significant contributions of Dr. Wolk to research aimed at improving patient care in the area of molecular microbiology,” said David H. Ledbetter, Ph.D., Geisinger executive vice president and chief scientific officer. “At Geisinger, we know how important Dr. Wolk’s outstanding clinical and research work is and it’s nice to see this affirmation by her peers at a national level.”
Dr. Wolk directs the Center for Infectious Disease Diagnostics and Research and the Center for Interventional Diagnostics at Geisinger. She is one of seven founding members of the CDC/ASM collaboration for Laboratory Medicine Best Practices.
“We are very fortunate to have Dr Wolk as Geisinger’s director of microbiology,” said Conrad Schuerch, M.D., chairman of Laboratory Medicine. “She is creating a national model for rapid microbiology services across our system in multiple hospitals and clinics, one that significantly improves outcomes for patients with infectious diseases.”
Dr. Wolk said the award is not hers alone. “This is a great honor, and represents the work of many dedicated clinical laboratory scientists, working together to rapidly adopt new technology, improve diagnosis of infections, and describe microbiology’s impact on patient care,” she said.
“Furthermore, the infrastructure here at Geisinger is allowing our team to take our research and our clinical practice to the next level, focusing on evidence based decision making to determine best practices to improve care for Geisinger patients. With Geisinger’s unique blend of hospital and clinic types, the work we do here can help to drive nationwide improvements in laboratory medicine.”
Diagnostic microbiology laboratories have historically grown microbes in culture, getting results in two or three days. “Today, in many cases, we have the ability to provide results in two to three hours,” Dr. Wolk said. “But just because we can, doesn’t mean we should. We want to put laboratory resources into the rapid results that make the biggest difference to our patients and providers. That is where the research comes in -- we have to find out what works best before we deploy that testing into routine use.”
In addition to her work at Geisinger, Dr. Wolk is an adjunct professor of pharmaceutical sciences at Wilkes University.
One of the nation’s most innovative health services organizations, Geisinger serves more than 1.5 million patients in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The system includes 13 hospital campuses, a nearly 600,000-member health plan, two research centers and the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine. Geisinger is known for its focus on caring and innovative programs including the ProvenCare® best-practice approach to maximize quality, safety and value; ProvenHealth Navigator® advanced medical home; Springboard Health® population health program to improve the health of an entire community; ProvenExperience™ to provide refunds to patients unhappy with their care experience; and Geisinger’s MyCode® Community Health Initiative, the largest healthcare system-based precision health project in the world. With more than 215,000 volunteer participants enrolled, MyCode is conducting extensive research and returning medically actionable results to participants. A physician-led organization, with approximately 32,000 employees and more than 1,800 employed physicians, Geisinger leverages an estimated $12.7 billion positive annual impact on the Pennsylvania and New Jersey economies. Repeatedly recognized nationally for integration, quality and service, Geisinger has a long-standing commitment to patient care, medical education, research and community service. For more information, visit www.geisinger.org, or connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.