Spotlight: Bararia Unravels the Mysteries of Infectious Diseases

December 12th, 2018

Although she never sees their faces or hears their voices, JPS Health Network Microbiology Laboratory supervisor Anjali Bararia plays a key role in helping patients with infectious diseases to regain their health.

Anjali Bararia

Anjali Bararia

“First, we test to find out if patients have any infections,” Bararia explained about the work of the Microbiology Lab team members. “If they do, then we try to figure out what drugs – and in what doses – will work best for their treatment.”

She likened her job to trying to put together a complicated puzzle while racing against the clock. With infections constantly evolving and becoming resistant to treatments that previously worked, it’s challenging to figure out what will be successful in getting each individual patient headed back to health, according to Bararia. The 12 people who work in the Microbiology Lab at JPS process about 250 specimens a day, trying to figure out what is ailing patients and then forming a pharmaceutical plan of attack for treating it.

Jonathan Shane, Interim Executive Director of Laboratory Services said Bararia is a “total rock star” when it comes to running the Microbiology Lab.

“She’s just phenomenal,” Shane said. “She’s very engaged with her staff and she works very closely with people from other departments to get things done. I can’t overstate the importance of the things she does.”

Shane gave the example of Bararia working with the Emergency Department to reduce blood culture contamination. He said she was a key player in reducing the contamination rate to less than the goal of 3 percent, which is the lowest rate for the JPS laboratory in more than two years. This is vital when it comes to the diagnosis of sepsis and other blood organisms, Shane said.

In addition to being acknowledged as a difference maker at JPS, Bararia was recognized earlier this year by the American Society for Clinical Pathology as one of the most promising young leaders in her field when the organization named her to its 40 Under Forty program.

“An enthusiastic coach, she encourages her lab team to reach their fullest potential by setting clear goals and providing guidance to achieve these objectives,” the ASCP notes about Bararia’s selection for the top 40 list. “She uses sigma six principles to achieve lean work flow for her techs. As a professional in a very diverse working environment, she has gained deep knowledge and understanding of the daily operations, culture, and regulatory requirements that are affecting the healthcare industry today.”

Bararia said she was humbled by the honor from her peers in the ASCP. But she is equally grateful for the chance to work with a great team at JPS.

“One of the things I truly love about JPS is the sense of community and the way people work together,” Bararia said. “We work very close with the pharmacy, with the physicians and others because we all want to provide the best care for patients. When you ask someone for their input or assistance here, they always ask ‘what else can we do to help.’”


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