Jim McLaughlin

COUNTRY: Cambodia
CITY: Phnom Penh
FOCUS: Health

PROJECT: Microbiology Laboratory, National Laboratory of Public Health
PEOPLE SERVED: Entire population of Cambodia
GOAL: Develop an antibiotic-susceptibility testing laboratory for teaching and to provide data for the treatment of patients with bacterial infections

Jim joined MKLM with his wife Roberta in 2003. Together they raised three sons and visited or traveled to 38 countries! Before coming to Maryknoll they lived in San Francisco where he was active in St. John of God parish, Diocese of San Francisco. Jim graduated from the University of California at Berkeley, CA, San Francisco State University, and Tulane University. He has a Ph.D. in microbiology and completed a postdoctoral training program at the Center for Disease Control.

Jim and Roberta lived and worked in Cambodia. Jim’s ministry directly used his knowledge as a clinical microbiologist and professor. In all of Cambodia there is only one diagnostic microbiology laboratory capable of the reliable diagnosis of infectious diseases. This is a private laboratory, making it virtually inaccessible to the vast majority of Cambodians. There is a need for a reference microbiology laboratory, data on the prevalence of antibiotic resistance in Cambodia, and training of microbiology laboratory technicians.

Jim worked with the Cambodian staff at the National Laboratory of Public Health to develop an antibiotic-susceptibility testing laboratory to be used as a model for teaching and providing data for the treatment of patients with bacterial infections. He also helped implementing new standard operating procedures as well as training the director of microbiology in the management of a diagnostic microbiology laboratory. In addition, he provided support for the quality assurance program for the government-run sexually transmitted infections clinic laboratories and supported the production of resource-generating research projects. He participated in a review of the national tuberculosis program and assisted in the development of a strategic plan for TB laboratories in Cambodia.

Jim McLaughlin also works with the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention where he was responsible for its work on TB Laboratory Management in Cambodia. He was the liaison with several international and national groups that work in this area of disease.

Jim and Roberta are currently retired in San Francisco, but they continue involved in mission. Jim continues working on capacity building for microbiology labs. Through the NGO Diagnostic Microbiology Development Program, DMBDP, Jim has been able to identify other microbiologists interested in volunteer. Check out: www.dmbdp.org