Friday, October 16, 2020

If the State Hygienic Laboratory’s Coralville operation is headquarters in Iowa’s war on COVID-19, Connie Henderson is the lab’s forward scout and envoy to clinics across the state.

Connie Henderson

Henderson, a retired laboratory manager at Mary Greeley Medical Center in Ames, has served as an SHL Ambassador since 2019, providing expert guidance to the lab, helping SHL better connect with and meet the needs of clinical laboratories, and providing public health support for COVID-19-related projects. 

A collaborative initiative launched in 2008, the SHL Ambassador Program seeks to raise awareness about laboratory-related issues and strengthen partnerships with people and organizations that share the lab’s commitment to improving public health and environmental health and education in Iowa.

Although the ambassador program has been around for 12 years, Henderson is the first person in the role to work in the midst of a pandemic. She brings to the position more than four decades of laboratory experience, a bachelor’s degree from Fort Hays Kansas State University, and a Master of Science degree in Health Systems from Rutgers University.

"I have really enjoyed working as the ambassador to the State Hygienic Laboratory,” Henderson said. “It has kept me connected to the clinical laboratory after working in this field for over 42 years. It’s an honor to help in any way I can to promote the profession and the importance of the work the State Hygienic Laboratory performs, especially during the pandemic.”

Because of her hard work this past year, SHL Director Mike Pentella said the lab is breaking from its tradition of limiting ambassadors to single-year terms and has asked Henderson to serve a second year in the role, from 2020 to 2021. Henderson has agreed.

“We need all hands on deck during this public health crisis, and the lab is grateful to have Connie, an experienced clinical laboratory professional,  serving as an advisor, consultant and communicator throughout the laboratory community,” Pentella said.

The State Hygienic Lab is part of the Office of the Vice President for Research, which provides researchers and scholars with resources, guidance, and inspiration to secure funding, collaborate, innovate, and forge frontiers of discovery that benefit everyone. More at, and on Twitter: @DaretoDiscover