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President's Newsletter to the Society for Pediatric Pathology, May 2016

Posted May 16, 2016

Dear Colleagues,

As my first official update to the SPP, as President, I would like to provide key information about the 2016 Spring SPP Meeting and about our progress on several elements of our Strategic Plan. As you will see, there is a lot to report, on both fronts. Following the issue of this Newsletter, I will provide periodic updates on our progress in various components of the SPP Strategic Plan initiatives, as necessary.

2016 Spring SPP Meeting

I am pleased to report that the Society’s Spring Meeting in Seattle, WA, in March 2016 was, overall, a great success. The only real deficiencies were the missing names and times of presentations in the printed program, but these previously unrecognized omissions were quickly addressed by issue of a list of the abstract titles and authors. As members know, the SPP underwent a change in our management company. I would like to assure members that the oversights in the process of transition, while regrettable, have now been remedied for the future.

Some 234 full and junior members were in attendance at the Meeting, and we all benefitted from fifty-four, high quality abstract presentations, thirty-four, of which, were submitted by trainees. The large number of trainee presenters is especially important because it signifies the vital contributions of junior members who are on their way to becoming the enduring component of our Society and field. I, in particular, applaud their efforts and those of their mentors, to provide the highest quality of education and research that, in turn, can enable us to help provide the best in care for pediatric patients of all ages. I also wish to acknowledge the more senior members of the SPP who attended the new member and trainee breakfast and/or helped new members and members-in-training build a network of colleagues for their careers.

The symposium, “Neonatal and Infantile Cholestatic Liver Disease”, was masterfully organized by Pierre Russo and delivered by an expert and very engaging panel of speakers. Together, they not only presented well-crafted examples, diagnostic criteria, and prognostic indicators of these challenging disorders, they gave literally and figuratively colorful presentations of the research and genetic components that contribute to our understanding and diagnosis of these conditions, in a comprehensible manner. It was one of the best Symposia I have ever attended.

Another highlight of the meeting was the Farber-Landing lecture, “Pleuropulmonary Blastoma,” given by Dr. Louis P. Dehner. Dr. Dehner chronicled the discovery of pleuropulmonary blastoma and the incredible effort that he, Dr. Ashley Hill, and others led to understand the clinical, pathologic, and molecular aspects of this unusual lesion. He illustrated the many gross and histopathologic aspects of this fascinating entity and underscored the value of our pediatric pathology network and its contribution to success of the pleuropulmonary blastoma registry. He also reminded audience members, young and old alike, that opportunities remain for pediatric pathologists to significantly change our understanding of pediatric disease, if we are attentive to clinicopathologic details and doggedly pursue tantalizing observations we encounter.

The six workshops were well attended, and, while evaluations are pending, the new ones on renal pathology and pediatric autopsy pathology appeared to have been well received. I wish to thank Doctors Teot and Ozolek and Team Paessler, Wertheim, and King, for providing three consecutive years of their time and effort to conduct workshops on fine needle aspiration cytology of nonthyroidal neck lesions and pediatric hematopathology, respectively. Workshops provide condensed experiences in topics that address key learning and practice gaps for our subspecialty.

Several individuals were recognized for their scholarly contributions, at the meeting. On behalf of the SPP, I extend sincere congratulations to them all.

  • Dr. Chrystalle Katte Carreon from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA received the Gordon F. Vawter Pathologist-in-Training Award for her poster presentation titled “Histologic features of very early onset compared with older-onset inflammatory bowel disease,” work accomplished in collaboration with Doctors MA Conrad, N Dawany, JR Kelsen, and P Russo. We were also fortunate to have the 2015 winner of the resident’s recruitment award (aka the Vawter Award), Dr. Peyman Dinarvand, from Saint Louis University, Saint Louis, MO, join us, in Seattle.
  • The Harry B. Neustein Memorial Award, for use of electron microscopy or new or novel technology in the study of pediatric disease, was presented to Dr. Miguel Reyes-Múgica from the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburg of UPMC, Pittsburg, PA. The title of his study was “Serotonin induces proliferation in NRAS-mutated nevus cells from patients with large/giant congenital melanocytic nevi” and co-authored with Doctors CM Salgado, D Basu, L Schmitt, B Bauer, and L Grunwaldt.
  • The Lotte Strauss Prize for the best paper by an individual age 40 years or younger, published or accepted for publication in the preceding year was awarded to Dr. Mariana M. Cajaiba from Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, Chicago, IL. The paper, “Pediatric cystic nephromas: distinctive features and frequent DICER1 mutations,” was published in Human Pathology this year (2016;48:81-7) and co-authored with nine colleagues including Elizabeth J. Perlman, noted below.
  • Dr. Angshumoy Roy, from Baylor College of Medicine, Texas Children’s Hospital, Houston, TX was awarded the Enid Gilbert-Barness Prize; this award recognizes the impact of an outstanding pediatric pathology paper on anatomic pathology, clinical practice, research, or public health. The study he conducted with twenty-one other investigators, “Recurrent internal tandem duplications of BCOR in clear cell sarcoma of the kidney,” was published in Nature Communications in November 2015 (2015;6:8891. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms9891.)
  • The President, Dr. Cheryl Coffin, also honored three outstanding fellow pediatric pathologists for their contributions to the field and the Society, at the Banquet. The three esteemed recipients of the President’s Award were Louis P. Dehner, Elizabeth J. Perlman, and Deborah Perry.

Finally, a summary of the Meeting would not be complete without the recognition of the terrific jazz band that lent a “special air” to festivities of the Banquet. I was especially grateful for the music and beverages at the reception because they put everyone in a great mood and helped make hearing my President’s Speech more palatable! This marked the third year for the smooth sounds of “Three Bald Guys and a Drummer.” Since three of the musicians are SPP members, it is only fitting that their picture be included! They are, from left to right, Craig Zuppan (bass; Loma Linda University Children¹s Hospital), Michael Caplan (keyboard; Suffolk County Medical Examiner¹s Office), Paul Dickman (saxophone; Phoenix Children¹s Hospital), and Jeff Olson (non-SPP member but welcomed, freelance drummer, Riverside California). Thanks for lifting our spirits, or at least helping us to lift our liquid ones.

Seattle_Jazz_Band.jpg

Looking ahead:

  • The Fall 2016 Meeting in Honolulu, Wednesday, October 5- Sunday, October 9th promises to be both enjoyable (starting off with a uniquely Hawaiian all day trip on Wednesday to the Polynesian Culture Center) and educational (e.g., symposium on pediatric tropical infectious diseases, two Lotte Strauss award winner lectures, Sunday’s perinatal symposium on obesity in pregnancy, the perinatal slide session, and platform and poster presentations.) I am considering lobbying to hold Thursday’s Committee meetings on the beach. Please note the online call for abstracts went live on May 9 and access to submissions will close at 11:59 Central Time, on June 6th! Liz Freyn of SPP Administration has outdone herself negotiating the contract with the Waikiki Beach Marriott. Make your reservations soon!
  • The Spring 2017 Meeting will be in San Antonio, TX, March 3-5th.
  • The Fall 2017 Meeting will be in Denver, CO; the dates are still pending, but I can vouch for the beauty of Fall in Denver, since Mother Nature usually waits until Halloween to drop snow.
  • Invitations to join various SPP Committees, as nonvoting members, have been sent to Pediatric Pathology Fellows beginning training in July 2016. This will enable them to become engaged in real service and interaction with the Society and its Committees, at the start of their fellowships.

Strategic Plan Update since March 2016 Meeting

  • Updates on Objectives 1 (concerning creation of value proposition for members and new residents/fellows to help expand the awareness of the specialty) and 2 (concerning SPP as the thought, education and information leader for all matters related to pediatric pathology practice and improvement in infant and child outcomes): Recruitment for remaining Co-Leader positions is in progress.

  • Progress on Objective 3: concerning internal and external communications and awareness plan.

a. A new pediatric pathology discussion forum has been created (pedpath.discoursehosting.net), and is up and running with great participation from the SPP membership. Members who have not had a chance to register may do so at the forum site. Any user issues can be directed to Dr. Chandra Krishnan, website committee chairperson.

b. The Executive Committee and Committee Chairs have just received newly created SPP specific email addresses that will allow committees and their chairs to have a static address to which all SPP members can send SPP-related emails, without having to search for the appropriate Chair's personal address. The various committee email addresses will be posted on the website, so members can directly message the committees, as needed. For example, emails sent to “SPP President” will go to a single box and I will be notified of their presence and access them through my own SPP username and protected password.

c. Shamlal Mangray, Chair of the Membership Committee and Chandra have finalized placement of a link for the “ Yogile Easy photo sharing” system for uploading and viewing of SPP Spring 2016 Meeting images behind the member wall. A brief note and an explanatory pdf are forthcoming, but the system will enable members to upload and view images within the next few weeks. After a proposed period of some four to six weeks, during which members can voice objection to images, they plan to work with the Executive Committee, and, perhaps, Council Members, and select images for posting to the general SPP Website (available to the general public.)

  • Progress on Objective 4: concerning leverage the management model to facilitate execution of initiatives while maximizing volunteer efficiency and effectiveness – Raj Kapur stepped down 05/10/2016 as Co-Leader of this Objective due to the achievement of the major goals of his directive, many of which are outlined, herein. On behalf of the SPP, I want to thank Raj for his leadership, perspective, and extensive efforts to bring this initiative to fruition. His contributions will be of great value for many years to come, since they form the basis of a new and viable system for the SPP and its management. While some aspects are ongoing, the foundation of what has been established is solid, thanks to his Co-Leadership with Martha Jones, Executive Director of SPP Administration. Recruitment for Raj’s replacement is in progress.

a. A dashboard of the schedules for all components of the Society’s functions (e.g., meeting planning, CME, slide survey program, abstracts, dues, committee activities, etc.) has been constructed through the work of Martha Jones and Raj and his Objective 4 team. This dynamic Asana program will enable key SPP volunteer individuals involved in these functions, such as Committee Chairs, to communicate with each other and designated members of SPP Administration to ensure that goals are met in a timely and ACCME compliant fashion. This is an enormous accomplishment, and incorporates the timelines and Directives submitted by all of the SPP Committee Chairs per the request of then President Cheryl, in February 2016.

b. CME Planning documents for Symposia and Workshops, as well as other templates have been created and/or streamlined for uniformity and ease of use; these reflected efforts by Cristina Pacheco, Education Committee Chair, Raj, me, and SPP Administrative Staff members, LaTanya Morris and Kismet Saglam. The documents also will permit collection of some required CME documentation from Education Committee to Workshop / Symposium organizers (e.g., gap and need analyses) based on simplified principles provided by SPP staff.

c. Lili Miles, Director of Anatomic Pathology at Nemours Children’s Hospital in Orlando, FL has been appointed as the new SPP CME Course Director. Upon Council approval, the CME ad Hoc Committee was discontinued with the transition to the new management company and support by the SPP Administrative Staff of Kellen and the fact that its functions were largely addressed by the creation of the above described documents. This new position reflects the AACME compliant need for the SPP to have a single, nonbiased individual, who has not taken part in the creation of any of the educational content, represent the SPP in informed review and approval of educational content. The CME Course Director ensures educational offerings are based on scientific evidence and presented in an objective and balanced manner, free of commercial bias. The position has a five-year term, but is subject to annual renewal.

d. Objective 4 includes review of the SPP governance and bylaws to meet current standards. The SPP is registered as a nonprofit 501c(3) organization in the State of Rhode Island, which delineates requirements in the Rhode Island Nonprofit Corporation Act. Past-President Cheryl Coffin is leading a task group that includes the Executive Committee, the SPP Bylaws Committee, and the SPP Executive Director. This group will review current requirements, generate options for meeting the requirements through changes in the SPP governance structure and SPP Bylaws, and present recommendations and options to the SPP Council for consideration. Final changes in the form of revised SPP Bylaws will require a vote by the SPP membership. Legal counsel is in place to ensure that requirements are met in the revised bylaws. This process will take a few months. A related goal is to create a policy and procedure manual for the SPP that will provide details about operations, policies, procedures, and processes and can be updated regularly as changes occur; work on the SPP Policies and Procedures Manual has already started and is being led by the SPP Executive Director. In the future, SPP Bylaws can also be amended as necessary.

Update on Objective 5: concerning SPP Financial reserves and revenues

a. The SPP is financially sound; investment assets in various restricted and unrestricted funds total over one million dollars.

b. The past year has seen the transition of our accounting functions from USCAP to Kellen, and work to optimize these arrangements continues.

c. Changes in the area of publications are anticipated to result in cost savings to the society while affording more flexibility in available formats.

d. SPP Administration is updating the membership database and dues assessments.

Pediatric and Developmental Pathology Journal Update

  • Transition to from AllenPress to new Publisher SAGE: This is on target with full transition to be completed on January 01, 2017.
  • Editor-in-Chief Position: A call for applications for Editor-in-Chief (EIC), for PDP was issued on April 26, 2016 and will close on May 31, 2016. The description of the position and the qualifications for potential applicants is posted on the SPP Website. Applicants may be members of the SPP, Paediatric Pathology Society, and other affiliate societies.

a. The Chair of the Search Committee is Sharon Geaghan, Chair of the Publications Committee. Construction of a balanced, non-biased Search Committee is nearly complete, and the Chair is expected to announce the full Committee in mid-May 2016. To date, the members appointed as of the Seattle Meeting are:

- Sharon Geaghan, Chair
- Ona Faye-Petersen
- Beverly Rogers
- Rita Alaggio
- Phil Cox
- Chandra Krishnan
- Michael Arnold
- Raj Kapur
- Miguel Reyes Mugica (non-voting member)

b. The proposed timeline for the Search Committee and installment of new EIC:

- Review received applications May 31, 2016
- Selection of final candidates for interview- June 30, 2016
- Appointment of new EIC- August 31, 2016
- Begin training of new EIC with Sage Publisher- September 30, 2016
- Start of new EIC- January 01, 2017

This has been a longer epistle than those issued in the past. But, 2016 has already promised to be a very active year for the Society. Moreover, transparency and updates are my imperatives, as SPP President. As stated, initially, I will be sending periodic (and much shorter!) updates in the future.

I wish you all the best, and a peaceful and pleasant Memorial Day, and Summer.

Sincerely,

Ona M. Faye-Petersen, MD
President, Society for Pediatric Pathology

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