President's Letter

In defiance of this very chilly winter I extend my warmest regards to the members of the Society for Pediatric Pathology. This newsletter is being sent out just a few weeks in advance of the Spring Meeting of the Society in San Diego. It includes important items in follow-up of those mentioned in the late summer newsletter and items that will be brought to Council and the Business Meeting in San Diego.

First, some very exciting news. The editorial “Small Patients, Complex Challenging Cases: A Reappraisal of the Professional Efforts in Perinatal Autopsies” written by Ona Faye-Petersen, Linda Ernst, Robin LeGallo, Galen Schauer, Alex Williamson and Cristina Pacheco in response to the autopsy work effort article published last year (Sinard JH; Autopsy Committee of the College of American Pathologists. Accounting for the professional work of pathologists performing autopsies. Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2013;137:228–32) is now out on the “Early Online Release” web page of the Archives of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine website (http://www.archivesofpathology.org). My great gratitude to the authors for their detailed, eloquent and persuasive defense of the special efforts required to professionally conduct the perinatal autopsy.

Equally exciting is the news that the College of American Pathologists Learning Portal modules “Placental Pathology” and “Perinatal Pathology” went live in December. The successful collaboration between the SPP and the CAP on this project represents significant steps in showcasing the educational activities of our Society and in highlighting our specialty to the wider community of adult medicine pathologists. The two modules are templates for further pediatric and perinatal pathology learning modules and plans are already being discussed for our next contributions. Again, great thanks to Jessica Comstock, Phil Katzman, Michael Caplan, Sarah Keating, Ana Gomez and Linda Margraf for their work on this project.

A couple of more follow-up items. The USCAP implemented a new website build in late Fall. Through our management agreement with the USCAP many of the background SPP online applications were incorporated into this implementation. These include our membership database, dues payments, new member registration, meetings management, CME credit management and others. Several issues have arisen from the new implementation, such as with browser compatibility, carry-over of historical membership data and interface with the SPP website. John Hicks, Chair of the Ad Hoc Website Committee, and Rob Ruiz, SPP website editor, have diligently attended to website-related matters brought up by SPP members, while George Clay, the manager of the SPP website, and Keith Shen, from the company revamping the USCAP website, have applied technical fixes. Undoubtedly some bugs will continue to be found. If you run into difficulties with the website please let Rob (first contact), John (second contact) or me know.

In addition to dealing with matters arising from the USCAP website rebuild, Rob, John and the Ad Hoc Website Committee have taken on the job of overseeing the redesign of our SPP website. This aims to give our website a more modern face, make it mobile phone and tablet friendly and allow for more responsive content management. A request for proposal has been made and it is planned to take the response to Council in San Diego. To complement the redesign of the website John and his committee members will liaise with the other SPP committees and subcommittees to identify their specific needs or issues with the website.

A mini retreat was held just prior to the Fall Salt Lake City meeting to review and advance our two publications, Pediatric and Developmental Pathology and Perspectives in Pediatric Pathology. Out of the retreat have come several recommendations and actions, some of which already were presented to Council in Salt Lake City and others that will be brought to San Diego. Editorial support for PDP was transitioned from Miguel’s office to Allen Press. A Perspectives pilot e-book project has been completed, readying the opportunity to distribute e-book versions of Perspectives instead of or in addition to hard copy versions. In November, a mobile phone/tablet version of PDP was demonstrated to and enthusiastically received by members of the Publications Committee. The contract proposal for providing PDP subscribers with a mobile phone/tablet version of the journal will be brought to Council. In addition, Council will consider a proposal for a new journal subscription model and recommendations for changes in the Editorial Boards of PDP and Perspectives. My thanks to Sharon Geaghan, Chair of the Publications Committee, Miguel Reyes-Mugica and Beverly Rogers, editors of our journals, Raj Kapur, Executive Committee sponsor of the retreat, and the other participants in the retreat for this valuable contribution to our Society.

Perhaps the most important new item that has come up in the past few months relates to the declining size and changing nature of the pathology workforce, and in particular the workforce of our specialty. In early December Charles Timmons represented the SPP at a multiorganization summit meeting on the pathology workforce. The main propositions the summit meeting was called on to address were that the pathology and laboratory medicine workforce was declining and that adjustments in the training of pathologists and laboratory physicians and scientists were required to meet ongoing advances in science and technology and changes in the types of pathology and laboratory services that will be demanded. The recommendations arising from the Pathology Workforce Summit Meeting are presented in the summary documents that will be posted on the SPP website (coming soon).

The Fellowship, Practice and Strategic Planning committees will be reviewing the workforce summit documents, however, those committees have already recognized many of the issues brought up at the summit meeting. For instance, the SPP Fellowship Committee, chaired by Vivek Singh, has identified recruitment of residents to pediatric pathology fellowships as an area of concern. The SPP instituted the Resident Recruitment awards to encourage residents to consider pediatric pathology as a career option. In 2013, the SPP Fellowship Committee administered the ICPI travel award, which was granted to a third-year pathology resident at the Fall meeting. Elevating the profile of pediatric pathology among pathology residents is a task that all SPP members can undertake at their respective institutions.

The Practice Committee, chaired by Cristina Pacheco, is working on a comprehensive pediatric/perinatal autopsy survey as a prospective study in professional effort as it relates to this area of pediatric pathology. Please help this initiative by participating in the survey, which can be accessed from the home page of the SPP website. The committee is also formulating a survey of the work performed by pediatric pathologists that can be used to explain and justify our position to institutional administrations and that can be used as a general statement about what pediatric pathologists do.

I am sure much of the above will be vigorously discussed and debated at the San Diego Spring Meeting. Committee and Council meetings will be held on Friday, February 28 and the Spring meeting proper will be on Saturday, March 1 and Sunday, March 2. Platform and poster presentations will take place on both days. The Saturday symposium is on cutaneous inflammatory disorders, chaired by Drs. Pierre Russo and Adam Rubin. The annual Business Meeting of the Society occurs Saturday late afternoon. Important Bylaws changes and the slate of officers will be presented for approval by the membership. The Social Hour and Banquet, featuring “The Talk,” follow the Business Meeting. On Sunday Dr. Kevin Bove will give the Farber-Landing Lecture, to be followed by the presentation of awards and in the afternoon by workshops. I hope to see you all in sunny, warm San Diego!

Also, Save the Dates!! The SPP Perinatal Course will be held next year, April 17 – 19, 2015 (Friday afternoon through Sunday morning), at the Chicago Lakefront Embassy Suites Hotel. This is a multidisciplinary course with clinicopathologic correlations and lots of “How To’s” aimed at pediatric pathologists, pathology residents and pediatric pathology fellows, private practice pathologists, pathology assistants, and clinicians including neonatologists and other pediatric subspecialists and perinatologists. The location means easy travel access and fabulous surroundings for your “getaway moments.” The Course Director is Ona M. Faye-Petersen, MD and the Assistant Director is Linda Ernst, MD.

Finally, I would like to close this newsletter with an expression of deep thanks for all of the support I received as President this past year. I was told when asked to consider the nomination for president that the only responsibilities the president really had were to give “The Talk” and choose the Farber-Landing lecturer. Of course, that was just a little bit of misdirection, and the year turned out to have several challenges and tribulations not listed in the job description. However, with the support, counsel and wisdom of my Executive Committee colleagues, Linda, Raj and Charles, Chairs of the Society’s committees, councilors and many others, those challenges were survived and many even resolved. It has been a great pleasure working with the many highly dedicated members of the Society and it truly has been a privilege and an honor to serve as your president this year. Thank you.

Glenn Taylor
SPP President, 2013-14
(last updated 2-16-14)

View previous President's Letter, Glenn Taylor, 09-16-2013

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