html> COVID-19 testing lab at Baylor School

Baylor Lab Receives Champions of Health Care Award

The Baylor Esoteric and Molecular Laboratory and its founders, Baylor science instructors and research scientists Dr. Elizabeth Forrester and Dr. Dawn Richards, were recipients of the Champions of Health Care Award for Innovation by an Organization.

The award was presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield at a ceremony hosted by the Chattanooga Times Free Press and EDGE magazine on Wednesday, Sept. 9. Watch a video of the ceremony below.

The award went to Baylor and Drs. Forrester and Richards for the work done in the lab that was created out a need for faster turnaround times for COVID-19 testing in Hamilton County. The testing facility that began in the Weeks science center on the Baylor campus last March, is now housed in the TNACI complex adjacent to campus and is able to conduct 300-400 tests per day with results returned in 24 hours.

Along with convenient testing for the Baylor community that facilitated and ensured a safer return to on-campus learning this fall, the lab currently  provides testing for Hamilton County EMS, CHI Memorial, Galen Medical, One to One Healthcare, Clinica Medicos, University of the South-Sewanee, Phoenix Air Medical Group, Nephrology Associates, and Kindred Hospital.

Another Baylor connection at the award ceremony was Dr. Rob Headrick '82 (pictured above), chief of thoracic surgery at CHI Memorial and Lung Cancer Center, who received the Champions of Health Care Award for Innovation by an Individual.

Headrick and his colleagues have designed and built a portable lung screening program that incorporates a CT scanner into a bus that can be taken to rural areas, to patients that may not be able to visit hospitals in the cities. ‘Breathe Easy’ is a motor coach equipped with a low-dose computed tomography (CT) machine. This technology is the first of its kind in the Chattanooga region, and it’s the only fully independent unit in the nation.

“Lung cancer is curable if we catch it early,” said Headrick. “This screening is the best way to detect lung cancer in its earliest stages. The coach allows us to take this important screening tool out into our communities and reach people who may not have access or the opportunity to get this scan otherwise.”


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