SPP President's Newsletter, Fall-Winter 2016
Posted December 7, 2016
SPP President’s Newsletter, Fall-Winter 2016
December 5, 2016
I hope all of you had a nice Thanksgiving. I am finding it difficult to believe that it is already the first week of December. It has been a very busy past four months for the Society since the issue of the August Newsletter, and I have endeavored to provide updates about critical issues that deserved address or required focused action by Members during this time. However, I also believe Newsletters should provide Members with an overview of the activities, changes, and advancements that have occurred during the preceding months, and the plans and challenges that remain for the months ahead. I hope you will find this 2016 Fall-Winter Newsletter a useful report that enables you to have an informed perspective of the scope of what the Society has accomplished since late summer and what objectives remain in progress.
- Report of the 2016 Fall SPP Meeting:Many sincere thanks and kudos to Karen Thompson and her team of speakers for the successful and enjoyable Society meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii in early October. There were 114 registrants with 55 also attending the Perinatal Symposium. The symposium on pediatric tropical medical diseases provided some amazing insights into a spectrum of infections. I was unaware, as I suspect were many, of a Hawaiian legislatively determined quarantine of individuals affected with leprosy that resulted in the geographically isolated colony located on theKalaupapa peninsula, against a backdrop of virtually insurmountable sea cliffs,on the island of Molokai,in the 1870s. While now a national historic park with inhabitants who are treated and/or choose to live there, a textbook understanding or even study slide examples of this insidious disease were no substitute for the presentations given by Doctors Mesiona-Lee, Melish, and Scollard of the unique diagnostic and treatment challenges inherent with this infection. Other fine and well-illustrated presentations included discussions of Rickettsial diseases, Karen’s and Dr. Melish’s update on Kawaski Disease, and updates in Dengue virus and cutting edge vaccine development for Zika virus. The Perinatal Symposium on Obesity in Pregnancy was equally impressive with presentations by the internationally renowned Dr. Leslie Myatt (immediate Past-President of IFPA) who is on the forefront of placental function research and who delivered a basic science update on the effects of obesity on trophoblast respiration, mitochondrial function, and placental epigenetic modifications. Our own Terry Morgan did not fail to impress and engage the attendees with his presentation on the effects of obesity on uteroplacental immunology and placental function. Clinical presentations included the complications of maternal obesity on fetal and placental growth, delivery, and fertility and reproductive success.Erin Rudzinski’s COG Update Lecture on rhabdomyosarcoma and Mariana Cajaiba’s pediatric cystic nephromas received high marks. There was also strong competition among the 39 platform and poster presentations for the Fall Meeting awards.Dr. Priya Skaria and Dr. Rangaraj Selvarangan, both of Children’s Mercy Hospital of Kansas City, MO, won the Vawter Award and the Neustein Award, respectively. Dr. Skaria presented the “Role of HBME-1, Galectin-3 and CD56 in the Diagnosis of Follicular Variant of Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma in Childhood,” and Dr. Selvarangan, “Human Parechovirus 3 is the Leading Picornavirus Associated with CNS Infections in Children.” Dr. William (Tony) Parks ofDartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon, NH,won thePerinatal Award for his presentation of his group’s work entitled, “Maternal Prepregnancy Obesity and Maternal Vascular Malperfusion of the Placenta: A Study of >10,000 Recent Deliveries.”
All of the quality presentations managed to keep us all indoors, for hours at a time, despite the tropical paradise of the setting. In the off-hours or vacation days, some of us managed to make it to the top Diamond Head, and even Koko Crater, while others were challenged to try surfing and parasailing. Some, including Nina Tatavian, flew around in a helicopter, went on a submarine dive, and/or dined on a cruise ship. I wish to thank Karen for arranging the visit to the Polynesian Cultural Center. Some of the performances were pretty spellbinding, especially the evening’s dinner music and athletic fire dancing show about the native Polynesians’ history of the islands. However, the highlight of the meeting undoubtedly was the perfect outdoor evening banquet on Saturday. The twilight blue view of the ocean suddenly became the backdrop for an unexpected appearance of Dr. David Parham, as Elvis the King, who delivered, among other songs, a riveting rendition of “Blue Hawaii.” Dr. Parham did not channel Elvis, hewasElvis. Just ask Karen; she swooned while playing the keyboards. For those of you who do/did not know of Dr. Parham’s talent and only know of his international reputation as the brilliant rhabdomyosarcoma expert, a past SPP President, and as a leader in the pathology department at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, let me just say that the quiet and studious can surprise. This was his return as Elvis, his first appearance being in Little Rock, Arkansas where he hosted a Fall Meeting, many years ago. If you missed the Honolulu banquet, I can only say that, had it been indoors, his rockin’ hip performance would have brought down the house (see attached image.) Hawaii - blue, green, or pineapple yellow- will never be the same.
- New SPP Bylaws ratified by Membership:The new Bylaws were passed on November 28, 2016. Actions taken to effect this change were ongoing though the 2016 summer and Fall.
- The Bylaws had undergone several stages of legal review with an attorney in Bangor, Maine, who has expertise in nonprofit law,Mr. Nathaniel Putnam, of Eaton Peabody. Mr. Putnam reviewed the original Bylaws and identifiedchanges that would be necessary in view of the current governance standards and other aspects of law related to organizations like the SPP, andreviewedthe State of Rhode Island nonprofit Corporation Act.Chery Coffin then drafted new bylaws with the Bylaws Committee, and Mr. Putnam reviewed them and made recommendations.The revised draft was thensent to an attorney in Rhode Island to make sure the RI requirements had all been met. When this was accomplished, the new Bylaws were put into a standard legal format.
- On September 25, 2016, Dr. Coffin sent this final version to the Executive Committee and to the Chair of Bylaws Committee, Van Savell, Jr., for approval.
- Following approval by Executive Committee and Van Savell, Jr (and his Committee), this approved Bylaws draft, together with a summary of the revised SPP Bylaws (highlighting the important changes from the old Bylaws to the new Bylaws), and a copy of the Articles of Incorporation (on file in the State of Rhode Island) was sentto Council members for review, on October 2, 2016 (in anticipation of the 2016 Fall Meeting.) I also presented the new Bylaws in detail and reviewed the other documents, at the Council meeting, where a quorum was in attendance. After discussion, Council voted overwhelmingly to approve the new Bylaws.
- This approved draft of the new Bylaws, along with the Articles of Incorporation, and the Summary (described above) was sent to the Membership for electronic, secure, anonymous voting on October 26, 2016. A voting window of over 30 days, closed, at midnight, Eastern Standard Time, on November 28, 2016.
- The Bylaws passed by a margin of 20:1 with 126 votes (≥ 60 required for quorum) and the announcement of the passage of the new Bylaws was sent to Membership by me, on November 29, 2016.
- On November 30, 2016, I asked those individuals who had served as Councilors-at-Large to consider appointment as Members of the new Board of Directors, and to serve as Members for the durations of what their respective terms would have been as Councilors-at-Large. All six agreed to serve. On December 4, 2016, I appointed two new Board Members, Gino Somers and Shamlal Mangray; both have agreed to serve until 2020.
- The eight Board Members, along with the Executive Committee (President, Past-President, current Secretary-Treasurer, and President-Elect) will review nominations from the Nomination Committee (Chaired by the Past-President, Cheryl Coffin) for the offices of President- Elect, Secretary, and Treasurer-Elect, during an electronic BOD meeting scheduled for December 9-14, 2016. The BOD will then vote anonymously via a secure link, to appoint the new Officers for 2017.\
- This process will be documented but, because of its complexity, it will available for review upon request.
- The new 2017 Officers will be announced on December 21, 2016.
- In addition, Cheryl Coffin will send a Call for Nominations to the Membership for names of candidates for two positions of Board Members, who willreplace two retiring Members in March 2017; these new BOD Members would serve four-year terms. Membership will subsequently be asked to vote to elect two new BOD Members.?
- This final draft sent to the BOD on Friday December 9, 2016 for discussion and review in the electronic meeting described above, followed by link to a secure site for voting and approval by December 20, 2016.
- This will enable the SPP to submit its budget by year’s end. I wish to thank Jon Rowland and his Committee and Charles Timmons for their work with SPP Executive Director Martha Jones, on this complex document.
- SPP Budget for 2017: The budget draft prepared by SPP Administration was reviewed at the SPP Fall Finance Committee meeting in Hawaii. However, there were line items that required further definition or merited inclusion by the Controller and SPP Administration Executive Director, so the Budget could not be ratified by the Committee or Council. The revised budget with the requisite clarifications will be reviewed by Finance Committee in a teleconference on December 8, 2016
- SPP Committee reorganization: This process remains in progress, since it was predicated by passage of the new Bylaws. Now that the new Bylaws are ratified and the BOD established, the Executive Committee will begin carrying out plans for Committee reorganizations. Several Chairs, of those Committees envisioned to be affected before or immediately after the Spring 2017 Meeting, have been contacted about these proposed combinations. The implications of such merges have discussed and mutually agreed upon. Other Committee restructuring is envisioned to take place March 2017-2018. Again, I wish to stress the recognition of and opportunities for continued service by Members of Committees that will be merged and/or dissolved; these individuals will be offered opportunities to serve on their respective newly formed Committee and/or to ask for reassignment to another Committee. They will be contacted by me or Miguel Reyes-Múgica, in his role as President-Elect. In order to allow for a transitional year for newly assigned Committee members and enable more continuity of Committee function, newly assigned Committee members terms will be lengthened to four (4) years.Fellows in Pediatric Pathology will remain on their respective merged Committees; those on committees that will be dissolved and who are interested in serving on another Committee should contact me. Those Fellows interested in becoming full voting members of their current or another Committee, following completion of their Fellowships, should contact Miguel Reyes-Múgica.
The more eminent merges include:
- Archives and Website Committees, with Chandra Krishnan continuing to serve as Chair of the Committee until at least 2018.
- Research and Abstract Committee with the Awards Committee, with Gino Somers also agreeing to continue to serve as Chair of the merged Committee, until his term as Chair ends in 2018.
- Practice Committee with Education Committee and Practice with some distribution of the Practice Charter objectives and their expansions to the new Professional Development Committee. The Education Committee will continue to be led by Cristina Pacheco. John Ozolek, current Chair of the Practice Committee is Co-Leader with Karen Eldin of Strategic Objective 2(“Be the recognized voice, thought leader and education provider on all matters related to pediatric pathology and provide information to improve infant and child health outcomes.”) He will also contribute to co-leadership of Professional Development Committee.
- Membership Committee will be dissolved, withassumption of the duties of this Committee by the Executive Committee Secretary.
- Bylaws Committee will be dissolved, withassumption of these important duties by the Executive Committee and the BOD.
- Future merges will include Fellowship and, as above, some aspects of the Practice Committee functions with the new Professional Development Committee. This committee will be chaired by RajaRabah-Hammad in collaboration with John Ozolek.It will be established to address the needs of fellows and junior and rising members, including networking, MOC, and preparation for professional opportunities.
- The development of the new and more functional Policies and Procedure Manual is in progress and will help define the duties of these remodeled Committees and SPP Administration. Overall, this will result in a smaller number, but more effective and focused work of Committees, and reduce member burden.
- Changes to SPP Slide Survey Program: Online Only and Subscription Fee Increases:Very important changes were vetted with rigorous diligence and discussions of the cost benefit ratios by Council in an e-meeting held from Monday, November 7-Thursday November 10, 2016. These were the changes to move from Glass Slide option to Online Only Slide Survey registration and subscription fee increases. These changes were recently ratified on November 15, 2016, by a quorum of 17 voting Council members.
- This was a complex process with detailed listings and charts of pros and cons for both change topics, and the entire process was carefully documented for transparency. It is too detailed to include here, but members can obtain the e-threads of Council queries and discussions if they wish. Briefly, the SPP Leadership including the Objective 4 Team proposed moving to Online Only subscription for the Survey in an effort to move the SPP and the Slide Survey into the future. Use of a modern approach that takes advantage of current technology enables the SPP to have access to an inexpensive and efficient program that ensures ease and regularity of distribution and improved quality and longevity of program materials. However, while Leadership strongly recommended this change, it was committed to providing Council with balanced and fully accurate information upon which to base discussions and its decision concerning this proposed shift to Online Only Slide Survey Program and fee increases.
- Among the major pros was a cost savings of $8080, that, with the addition of a printed booklet fee, resulted in $9,676 per annum. A system for each year’s submission of 18 slides for scanning; SPP ownership of the materials; dependable and enforceable contractual arrangements with the company; access to excellent image resolution and examination; ease of program expansion; the streamlining of a very complex process that would enable SPP Administration to provide better and proactive support; and a very large capacity for data storage and archival retrieval without the need for block mailings and storage, etc., were among the major advantages.The cost increase was justified by the fact that research of other societies’ programs revealed that the SPP charged well below the minimum for CME hour of credit compared to other similar organizations such as the CAP. It has been several years since a fee increase was assessed. Even with the increases outlined below, SPP subscription fees are still at the low end of other groups’ fees.
- Online Only vs Glass Slide option vote: 16 Council members voted to approve the switch to Online Only for the Slide Survey, with one member abstaining(No separate printings of booklets will be surface mailed to subscribers; subscribers can print their own from the corresponding PDFs if they choose.)
- Subscription Fees vote: 16 Council members voted to approve the price increase, with one member voting against the increase.
- Member individual/initial institutional subscription = $125.00;additional (institutional) subscribers at $75.00/per subscriber
- Non-member individual/initial institutional subscription = $150.00;additional (institutional) subscribers at $90.00/per subscriber
- New Pediatric and Developmental Pathology (PDP) Editor-in-Chief (EIC): Per the announcement sent to Membership on October 13, 2016, the newly appointed EIC is Pierre Russo, MD from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA. However, his appointment was first announced to Council at the 2016 Fall Meeting in Honolulu. Again, congratulations to Pierre for being selected from amongst an extremely competitive field of applicants and for successfully completing a rigorous series of written questions, interviews, discussion of his goals, and submission of responses to a set of theoretical and experiential conflicts he might encounter as EIC. Since accepting the position, he has been working with Miguel Reyes-Múgica, MD as the long serving (15 years!) current EIC of PDP, who will be stepping down as of December 31, 2016, Sharon Geaghan Chair of the Publications Committee, and the past (Allen Press) and current (SAGE) publishers of the Journal to facilitate his successful transition to full responsibility as the EIC on January 1, 2017. The aim is also to provide him with an understanding of the practical, supportive, and financial aspects afforded by SAGE. However, a special thanks to Miguel for his outstanding, if not unprecedented service to our Society and subspecialty, as EIC.
- Transition to from PDP Publisher AllenPress to new Publisher SAGE: This continues to remain on target with full transition to be completed on January 01, 2017.Sharon Geaghan has been working hard to limit fees assessed by Allen Press with its discontinuation as publisher.
- Rooms for the Spring Meeting in 2017 in San Antonio, TX: All is proceeding on schedule. However, at present, there is a shortage of rooms available. The SPP is no longer under USCAP but we are contracted with it through 2018, for the hotel and venue, and the room block reserved was insufficient to accommodate all SPP members. SPP Administrator Chris Viglione has made a concentrated effort to identify other options, but none has officially materialized to date. Today, Chris wrote that he has sent some final questions to USCAP and that, once answered, he will post a general search sorted by hotels nearest to the Marriot River Walk that, while they will not have contractual agreements with us, should have availibilities. I believe he will post this very soon. However, Members who have not yet reserved rooms may wish to use a general website access, such as Bookings.com, to identify hotels that are near the venue at River Walk and secure their accommodations as soon as possible. Again, new Workshops (WSs) will be “Challenges in Pediatric Soft Tissue Pathology: A Case-Based Approach to Selected Difficult Cases” and “Pediatric Gastrointestinal Biopsy: An Update on the Diagnosis and Pathogenesis of Pediatric Upper Gastrointestinal Disease”
- SPP audit by American Board of Pathology: TheAmerican Board of Pathologyvery recently announced it is conducting a provider-wide audit of all Pathology Societies’ SAM questions.
- The standards for SAM question submission have been recently updated and the SPP is working on a 50 question sample from our past meetings to verify question compliance and make any modifications as appropriate to satisfy the new guidelines, in time to submit this large set of items to the ABP by the January 15, 2017 deadline. Sincere thanks to Cristina Pacheco, Chair of the Education Committee, Kismet Saglam of SPP Administration, and the Education Committee and Perinatal Committee members participating as reviewers of thesequestions. As always, the Society is beholden to the ongoing vigilance and efforts by leaders like Cristina and Kismet and Committee Members who silently work as volunteers to ensure our educational programs’ compliance and excellence. Going forward all SAM authors will need to adhere to the new format.
- CME platform: In September 2016, the SPP moved to an online Survey MonkeyWorkshop and Symposium Proposal submission process that is accessible through the SPP website.We have contracted a new affordable company that enables us online access to expanded services including capacity to track CME credits and data from evaluations for utilization for ACCME accreditation and education needs assessments. The new system will be online for the Spring 2017 Meeting SAMs and Evaluation/CME processes.
- Meeting photographs: Please remember tosubmit your photosto the the Yogile Easy photo sharing” system online. Photos can be uploaded from the SPP homepage, by logging in and following the steps as outlined in the Yogile FAQ, or by e-mailing images to the site at firstname.lastname@example.org the caption as the subject of the e-mail for each photo and the name of the submitting SPP member.
- Young InvestigatorResearch Grant: Members should seriously consider applying for or recommending to someone they know to apply forthis esteemed award to fund to fund basic or applied research in the field of pediatric pathology. The specifications are on the SPP Websiteand applications are due by 11:59 PM PST, Friday February 3, 2017, but an award of $15,000 will be granted to the winner of this award at the Spring 2017 Meeting for funding beginning July 1, 1017.
- Fall Meeting 2017 September in Denver, CO: The Denver group under the direction of Jennifer Black has put together a wonderful Pediatric Symposium on “Down Syndrome in the 21stCentury.” TheLinda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome is the first academic home for Down Syndrome (DS) research in the United States, and the proposed program will include speakers who are engaged in cutting edge research and/or medical management of children with DS. The program will include discussion of the role of immune dysregulation and autoimmunity in DS, an updated review of the genetics of DS, and a basic research talk by Csaba Galambos on his work in pulmonary hypertension in the setting of DS. The planned Perinatal Symposium program theme under the direction of Amy Treece is “Noninvasive Prenatal Diagnosis and Treatment” that will include talks onplacental imaging (to be given by a fetal radiologist here), cell-free DNA, and noninvasive/transplacental fetal therapies. A special clinical pathology symposium is also scheduled: ““Precision Medicine in the Clinical Laboratory: Applications and Consequences.”
As a former Denverite, I can attest to the venue. The Brown Palace Hotel in downtown Denver is a grand hotel with great history, and a must-see/stay. High Tea there is something else and a local attraction, so, I encourage you to make reservations as soon as possible when the website registration goes up.
In closing, I wish you all a very happy holiday season. And, I extend heartfelt thanks to all who have worked so hard to keep us moving forward. We have come a long way, and we will clear the bar in 2017!
Ona M. Faye-Petersen, MD
President, Society for Pediatric Pathology