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Protecting our youngest Montanans


Amazing member and scientist Dwain Lowry



Dwain Lowry, right, talks with UM-Helena College of Technology nursing students about recording blood sample for newborn screenings. (Jon Ebelt photo)


All Montanans deserve a chance to start out with a healthy life. That's where MEA-MFT member Dwain Lowry comes in.


Lowry, a clinical laboratory scientist, has worked at the Public Health Laboratory in the state Department of Public Health and Human Services for 18 years. Here's what MEA-MFT Today learned about him and his important work:


What I do, and why it matters: Primarily, I work in the area of newborn screening. We test newborn infants for errors in metabolism. Diseases tested for in this lab include PKU (phenylketonuria), galactosemia, cystic fibrosis, congenital hypothyroidism, and sickle cell disease. Many other diseases are tested out of house by a method known as Tandem Mass Spectometry.


The screening tests are important because these diseases are undetectable by physicians at the time of birth. Undetected infants with diseases face serious consequences such as brain and internal organ damage, possibly death. I feel this is very important work and am proud to be a part of it.


I also work in the area of tissue culture, growing viruses for positive identification of diseases. This is important especially for epidemiologic purposes.


Toughest challenge of the job: Changing technologies require us to continually stay on top of updates in this field. Customer relations are very important, as our clients include physicians, nurses, and other labs.


Greatest reward of the job: I get great satisfaction knowing that we are able to detect and inform physicians about possible cases of these diseases and knowing that we had a part in allowing afflicted infants to lead normal lives with proper treatment.


Why I belong to MEA-MFT: It is important for all working people to have the protection that the union provides. It allows us to live our lives and do our work in a dignified manner.


What I do for fun: I have many interests. I have six grandchildren whom I love to spend time with. I love the outdoors and many of the activities it affords us in Montana. I dream about sailing in the Caribbean when I retire and having time to do the many activities I enjoy.


Best book I've read lately: Birds of Prey.


Thank you, Dwain Lowry, for doing Work That Matters for Montana's people-especially the very youngest!


Read about other Amazing MEA-MFT members.