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Leader takes a local laboratory to the global level

John D’Souza M.D. took over as leader of ACM Medical Laboratories when the organization needed a strong hand.

In the nearly 15 years since, he has stood at the helm as its influence has grown from regional to international.

For 15 years, D’Souza has been vice president of laboratory medical affairs and medical director at ACM Global Laboratory and ACM Clinical Trials Central Laboratory.

Company officials say it is his leadership that has helped transform the company into an international central laboratory for clinical trials. Under his leadership ACM increased both its number and complexity of tests performed; in the last five years the company has added laboratories in the UK, Singapore and Shanghai.

With this growth has also come a strong emphasis on quality. ACM’s laboratories have cumulative annual average scores greater than 99.5 percent out of 100 percent for proficiency testing, officials noted.

The company has also been recognized for its quality in audits from regulatory agencies that include the College of American Pathologists, American Association of Blood Banks and the Joint Commission of American Hospitals.

D’Souza was recruited to Unity Health in 1999 to serve as director of its affiliate ACM Labs, coming at a time when the lab had a “perceived weakness” in clinical pathology leadership, noted Tim McCormick, retired president and CEO of Unity Health System.

That changed under D’Souza, McCormick noted, with the lab expanding and developing “a thriving role in clinical testing on an international level.

“Far from a passive participant in this success story, he was the key clinical leader who impacted the quality and score of the services on a daily basis,” McCormick said.

D’Souza also served as chair of pathology and laboratory medicine at Genesee Hospital for 25 years, and for the last 15 years he has been chairman of Unity Hospital’s blood usage committee, where he is credited with providing strong leadership to ensure safe blood transfusion practices.

“He is an outstanding leader, considerate, caring and a down-to-earth human being,” said Nayef El-Daher, chief of medical specialties at Unity Medical Group. “In his role as medical director of ACM Lab, he transformed this local microbiology laboratory into a global successful enterprise with offices in Australia, Europe, the Middle East and North America, just to mention a few.”

D’Souza is medical director for ACM’s global central laboratory in York, U.K., and company officials note he ensures “the harmonization of high-quality global laboratory services across all four ACM-owned global laboratories.”

D’Souza said he is proud of the part he played in helping ACM become a company with a global footprint that maintains a high level of quality—without increasing costs.

“We focused on ways to grow that ensured quality and services while containing costs,” he said. “It’s not as hard to expand and maintain that quality, but keeping the costs down is much harder and that was our focus.”

Though ACM officials credit D’Souza with the vision and leadership to help the company grow to where it is today, D’Souza said the achievements were shared by all of those who helped make it happen.

“This award is great recognition for our company and the things we have done,” he said. “I consider myself fortunate and privileged to work with colleagues and staff who always put patients first.”

3/20/15 (c) 2015 RBJ Health Care Achievement Awards. Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email rbj@rbj.net.

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