Society for Pediatric Pathology
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President's Message: 2018 Year in Review

Posted April 5, 2019

Dear Colleagues:

A year has passed since I gave “The Speech," introducing myself to many of you and starting off a year of Presidency. Now I look forward to transitioning the Presidency to Charles Timmons, and sitting back to watch his Speech. While the Society is thriving and faces an exciting future, I will pause to summarize the past year in review. Thanks to the hard work of many, there are many successes to reflect upon.

Education

  • The SPP is fully accredited by the Accreditation Commission on Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) and is approved by the American Board of Pathology (ABPath) to offer Self-Assessment Modules (SAMs) for Maintenance of Certification (MOC) in pathology; this year the SPP received its re-accreditation through 2022.
  • The spring and fall meetings were highly rated in the past year. At the fall meeting, the SPP added meeting content beyond its usual schedule, piloting novel interactive sessions; due to their success additional interactive sessions have been added to the upcoming (spring 2019) meeting—now with CME offered.
  • The SPP’s first ever-videotaping of educational sessions will occur at the spring 2019 meeting, with plans to post content on the internet.
  • This year, the SPP received its first accreditation for an ABPath-approved Patient Safety Course, which carries Improvement in Medical Practice credit in addition to CME and SAM credits; this course, run by Vinay Prasad, will be offered over the next three years as a spring meeting workshop entitled, “Role of Bias in Pediatric Pathology: Preventing Errors and Enhancing Patient Safety One Child at a Time.”
  • The current (Spring 2019) SPP meeting is in Arlington, VA (co-localized within driving distance of USCAP 2019). 71 abstracts were submitted, with 54 accepted for platform or poster presentation. The symposium is “Lymph Node Pathology for the Pediatric Pathologist.”
  • Two new workshops include both “Role of Bias in Pediatric Pathology” and “What Can the Placenta Tell Us?
  • Future meetings include: Pittsburgh, October 17-19, 2019 (joint meeting with PPS); Los Angeles, Feb 28-March 1, 2020; Portland, OR, October 22-24, 2020; Baltimore, Spring 2021; Los Angeles, Spring 2022.

Publications

The SPP and PPS jointly publish Pediatric and Developmental Pathology (PDP). PDP highlights during the year included the following:

  • Publication of March/April special issue (vol. 21, no. 2), Perspectives in Pediatric Dermatopathology, consisting of a volume devoted to timely updates in the field of pediatric dermatopathology; also available for individual purchase on the SPP website (along with other volumes in the Perspectives series).
  • In May 2018 PDP transitioned to a new Publishing Editor at Sage; the new Publishing Editor has been highly responsive and proactive with publishing assistance; this partnership has been a boon for the journal.
  • 166 manuscript submissions in 2018; acceptance rate, 41%.
  • 2018: 2017 impact factor is 1.250 (highest since 2003).
  • Increasing circulation: 2946 total circulation in 2018; 7166 total circulation in 2019 (YTD).
  • Publication of Pediatric Oral Pathology (Perspectives volume) is planned for 2020.

Initiatives new this year within PDP have included:

Social Media

In less than two years since its launch, the SPP Twitter feed @SocPediPath has gained 1461 followers. The Society’s journal also launched a Twitter feed: @PediDevPath has gained 531 followers. These efforts may enhance the presence of our subspecialty and support the dissemination of its specialized knowledge around the world.

Grants, Awards and Other Honors

Recruitment of new talent, ongoing professional development in Pediatric Pathology, recognition and support of academic work and research, remain important. Grants, awards and other honors for the past year are listed below and on the SPP website.

  • The Young Investigator Research Grant provides up to $15,000 to establish scientific research in pediatric pathology. The 2018 recipient was Gabrielle Rizzuto from UCSF, with the study “Profiling the maternal T cell response to placental antigen.”
  • The A. James McAdams Short-Term Study Stipend provides up to $5000 for expenses related to receiving extramural training in pediatric pathology. Residents in the U.S. and Canada who are considering a career in pediatric pathology are eligible for the Pediatric Pathology Resident Recruitment Award, which is based on a case report highlighting unique aspects of pediatric or perinatal pathology. The 2018 awardee was Jessica Saunders, M.D., of University of British Columbia for “A novel tetratricopeptide repeat domain 7A (TTC7A) mutation in a newborn with multiple intestinal atresia and combined immunodeficiency”; the award budget was increased to accommodate 2 awardees in 2019.
  • Several awards recognize outstanding presentations at SPP meetings. The 2018 Gordon F. Vawter Pathologist-in-Training Awardees were Jessica Saunders, M.D., for “Loss of BRG1 (SMARCA4) expression in a non-CNS, non-renal tumor cohort” and Colleen D’Arcy, MBBS, BMedSc, PhD, FRCPA, of Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, ON, for “Concordance Between FISH and SNParray for Detecting MYCN Amplification and 1p Deletion in Neuroblastoma.”
  • The 2018 Harry B. Neustein Award honoring innovative technologic advances went to Nathan Shelman, M.D., of Boston Children’s Hospital for “H3K27me3 in the Pathologic Investigation of Disorders of Sexual Development” and Sarah Kerr, M.D., of Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, for “Villitis of Unknown Etiology Demonstrates an Inflammatory Signature Similar to Graft Versus Host Disease and Allograft Rejection.”
  • The 2018 Perinatal Pathology Awardee was Michal Leckie of University of Ottowa for “Utilization of a synoptic report to improve placental pathology examination.” The Enid Gilbert-Barness Prize recognizes the impact of an outstanding pediatric pathology paper on anatomic pathology, clinical practice, research, or public health. Hiroyuki Shimada, M.D., Ph.D., of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles received the award for the study “MYC-family protein overexpression and prominent nucleolar formation represent prognostic indicators and potential therapeutic targets for aggressive high-MKI neuroblastomas: a report from the Children’s Oncology Group” (Oncotarget 2017;9: 6416-6432).
  • The Lotte Strauss Prize recognizes an outstanding publication in pediatric pathology by an early career (<40 years old) pathologist or basic scientist. The 2018 awardee was Ruth Ann Luna, Ph.D., for for her publication “Distinct Microbiome-Neuroimmune Signatures Correlate With Functional Abdominal Pain in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder” (Cell Mol Gastroenterol Hepatol 2017;3:218-230).

The 2018 recipients of the Presidential Distinguished Colleague Awards were:

  • Cristina Pacheco, M.D., for her outstanding contributions working as Chair of the Education Committee;
  • Charles Timmons, M.D., Ph.D., for his years of service as Secretary/Treasurer;
  • Jon Rowland, M.D., Ph.D., for his excellent service as Chair of the Finance Committee during a particularly difficult time of transition.

The SPP has funded attendance at the International Paediatric Pathology Association (IPPA) Advanced Course in Paediatric Pathology through 2019 for a pathologist from an underserved area who could not participate otherwise.

Membership

  • The Society for Pediatric Pathology (SPP) maintains its steady membership of approximately 700 individuals.
  • To attract trainees to the field and to the Society, SPP has further discounted meeting registration rates for trainees and for the first time will offer a complimentary networking luncheon (3/16/19) to trainees and new members.
  • The Membership Committee (disbanded 3 years ago) was reconstituted; initiatives include mentor-mentee pairings within the Society.

Outreach

  • In 2018, the SPP became a cooperating society of the American Board of Pathology.
  • In early 2019, the SPP convened a Practice Committee with the charge of developing practice guidelines and/or experiential practice “pearls” in specialized areas of knowledge within pediatric pathology, for eventual dissemination to groups who might benefit from expert guidance.
  • The SPP partnered with Children’s Oncology Group to place a Neuroblastoma Atlas on the SPP website; in 2018, this has quickly become among the most highly trafficked areas of the SPP website.
  • The SPP remains a constituent member of IPPA, a worldwide umbrella organization for pediatric pathology. The SPP practices international educational outreach with IPPA, the International Academy of Pathology, the College of American Pathologists, the USCAP, the Latin American Society of Pediatric Pathology, the Paediatric Pathology Society (PPS), the Australia/New Zealand Pediatric Pathology Group, and other locally or individually organized courses and educational programs. SPP members serve regularly on the IPPA Council, as Officers, and as tutors for IPPA courses.
  • SPP remains a constituent member of the Intersociety Pathology Council.
  • The SPP has improved dissemination of published educational content to nonmembers; in 2018 SPP began tweeting links providing free access to selected PDP articles. Nonmembers are of course encouraged to subscribe to the online Slide Survey Program and to consider purchasing volumes of Perspectives in Pediatric Pathology pertinent to their subspecialty or their training programs.

Other

In the past year there was intense work focused on optimizing SPP’s relationship with its association management company (The Kellen Company). Over the course of the year, the SPP onboarded a new Executive Director (Emily Burch), Controller (Howard Burkat), and Administrator (Jordan Burghardt), with overall great improvement to date. From this perspective it has been a year of volunteer-intensive managerial input; and the Society’s presently thriving state is thanks to the hard work of many.

Summary

In 2018, the SPP advanced its mission by making many small improvements across all of its programs, thanks to its engaged membership and many volunteers. It was a great honor to play a small role in advancing the field of pediatric pathology, a task which ultimately benefits the young patients we serve.

Respectfully submitted,

Sara O. Vargas, M.D.
President, Society for Pediatric Pathology
March 14, 2019

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