Yasmen Simonian is the current dean of the college of health professions at Weber State University. (Kellie Plumhof / The Signpost)
Yasmen Simonian is the current dean of the College of Health Professions at Weber State University and has been elected as the board of directors president for NAACLS. (Kellie Plumhof / The Signpost)

Yasmen Simonian, the current dean of the Weber State University College of Health Professions, has been elected by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences to be the new Board of Directors’ President for NAACLS.

Simonian has been the dean of WSU’s College of Health Professions since 2008. She first began serving on the NAACLS board in 2008 but has been involved with the organization since 1998.

Simonian hopes that this position will allow her to continue to represent WSU and to bring back information and techniques that will benefit the programs that WSU has to offer.

Kraig Chugg, department chair of the health sciences department, has worked with Simonian for the last 22 years.

“Yasmen and I first worked together as colleagues in the medical laboratory sciences department,” Chugg said. “She is one of those people who is very social and enthusiastic to meet and talk to people.”

Chugg said that having a faculty member, a dean in this case, will lead to national exposure for Weber State.

“At this national level, people pay attention to where you’re from,” Chugg said. “Now when people see Yasmen, they know she is from Weber State. They will start thinking of Weber and what we have here.”

NAACLS is a national accrediting agency that accredits both university and hospital programs in the area of clinical laboratory sciences.

The job of the NAACLS is to ensure that programs have competent teachers and curriculum and are producing  “well educated health-care providers in that field.”

“We want to make sure they’re teaching the new stuff,” Simonian said. “We want to make sure that these graduates that are placed at McKay-Dee or in Logan or St. George can all do the same thing.”

Jeffrey Grunow, chair for the emergency care and rescue department, described Simonian as “truly supportive” of the college’s many departments.

“Yas is truly supportive of the DCHP chairs and departments,” Grunow said. “She recognizes success of any one individual department has a symbiotic relationship to the rest.”

Simonian says that the NAACLS will travel to different hospitals and institutions to review the different layers to their program.

“If an institution wants to be accredited by NAACLS, they first need to send a letter of intent,” Simonian said. “Then NAACLS sends information and asks questions about how, who and what is being taught.”

The institution wanting to be accredited will then send back the answers to those questions in the form of a self-study. After this self-study has been reviewed, a site visitor is then sent to the institution or university. They take a look at how things are running and make sure to inspect the areas, if any, where the reviewers saw a problem.

According to Simonian, the NAACLS looks at the entire process of a program from beginning to end.

“We look at current students as well as those that have graduated and gone on in the field,” she said.

During the on-site visit, the faculty, clinical staff, graduates and present students will all be interviewed to get a look at the program as a whole.

According to Simonian, the accreditation process is beneficial, especially for students who graduate from the institution because they can then travel from place to place knowing that their education will be validated.

NAACLS also looks at the continuing education activities that an institution or hospital is conducting since technology and practices in the healthcare field are constantly evolving.

Simonian said she is dedicated to students and education, which is something she hopes to expand and continue while serving as the board of directors’ president.

Simonian also hopes that she will be able to explore international opportunities while in this position, which includes exploring the idea of being able to accredit international institutions.

“It’s a honor to be in this position,” Simonian said.

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