Society for Pediatric Pathology
February 24, 2020

President's Message: 2019 Year in Review


In this Newsletter...

Update from the SPP President

I am pleased to announce that the official SPP Newsletter is returning, led by our inaugural Newsletter Editor, Dr. David Parham. Dr. Parham is well-known to most of us, and his previous experience as SPP President, as well as his years of service to the Society as a whole, give him a working knowledge that will guide his reporting. Until Dr. Parham takes the reins after the Spring meeting, I am pleased to present this brief update on the accomplishments and activities of our society and its members over the past year. In addition, at our upcoming Spring Meeting in Los Angeles, Friday’s open committee meetings and Saturday’s Business Meeting (noon, Golden Ballroom) provide opportunities for everyone to learn more about ways SPP can help you (education, professional development, and practice advocacy), and ways that you can help SPP (serving on committees and presenting research, symposia, and workshops). Come see what SPP is all about!

See you in California! – Charles Timmons, SPP President


Updates from SPP Headquarters

SPP has had a busy and productive year! 2019 kicked off with our Spring meeting in Arlington, VA. Fifty-four abstracts were presented, and the symposium topic was “Lymph Node Pathology for the Pediatric Pathologist.” The Farber-Landing lecture by Elizabeth Perlman, M.D., was entitled “The Developmental Origins of Wilms Tumor.” Also, interactive expert sessions were incorporated into the program. They included “Soft Tissue Tumors and Next Generation Testing: Integration of Histological and Molecular Findings” and “The Transition from an Academic to a Leadership Career in Pathology.” Our Fall joint meeting with the Paediatric Pathology Society was hosted by Dr. Miguel Reyes-Múgica and his colleagues in Pittsburgh, PA. It was great to see so many of our colleagues from around the world at that meeting. Symposium topics were “Pediatric Heart Disease” and “Perinatal Infections.” The John Emery lecture by Cristina Antonescu, M.D., was entitled “New Advances in the Molecular Classification of Pediatric Mesenchymal Tumors.”

Of course, much of the work in 2019 has been directed toward planning the meetings for 2020, and we look forward to seeing you this spring in Los Angeles and this fall in Portland, Oregon. The symposium for the Spring Meeting will be “Pediatric Bone Lesions: Practical Approach.” The Farber-Landing Lecture entitled “Rhabdomyosarcoma: From Obscurity to Clarity in Diagnosis, but with Ongoing Challenges in Management” will be given by Dr. David Parham. Two new workshops also will be introduced: “Discovering Cancer Predisposition in Children” and “Hirschsprung Disease: Diagnostic, Intra-operative, and Post-operative.” In addition, 2020 will feature the newest iteration of the SPP’s Perinatal Pathology (April 17-19) in Chicago. More information on these events can be found on the SPP website.

This year we officially welcomed Emily Burch as our new Executive Director and Jordan Burghardt as the new Administrator. SPP staff has been working diligently with the committees to bring you new value-added member benefits. Our SPP Committees also have been busily at work behind the scenes in many ways.

SPP Committee Updates


  • The Society for Pediatric Pathology is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
  • Role of Bias in Pediatric Pathology: Preventing Errors and Enhancing Patient Safety One Child at a Time, by Vinay Prasad, MD, Monroe Carrell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt and Kathleen Nicol, MD, Nationwide Children's Hospital, The Ohio State University, became an American Board of Pathology-approved Patient Safety Course, and carries Improvement in Medical Practice credit in addition to CME and SAM credits to participants who fulfill the CME and SAM requirements.
  • Webcast Spring 2019 Symposia are posted to the website for members here.
  • A huge thanks to Dr. Sanda Alexandrescu (Chair, Education Committee), and Patricia Ferchland-Bingham, SPP’s Education Manager, for all their hard work!


  • Dr. Raja Rabah (Chair, Fellowship Committee) and the committee members continue to work on their ongoing project of system-based practice in pediatric pathology. Some of the initially proposed projects included safety, handling of small diagnostic specimens, autopsy practice, and incorporating molecular/genomic testing.
  • The fellowship committee has been working to compile a list of syndromes from the innumerable possibilities that could be considered “core knowledge” for pediatric pathology fellows. When finished, this useful list can be shared with fellowship directors and with the American Board of Pathology.
  • Dr. Rabah participated in ACGME’s pathology subspecialty milestone revision (2.0) task force for pediatric pathology fellowships at the end of 2019. Other members of the SPP on this task force included Kudakwashe Chikwava, Jennifer Kasten, Sanjita Ravishankar, Lisa Teot, and Ameet Thaker. The revised milestones are expected to be available soon.


  • Dr. Linda Ernst (Treasurer) and Dr. Sarah Johnson-Welch (Chair, Finance Committee) worked closely with Emily Burch to finalize SPP’s audit and streamline their budgeting process for 2020 and beyond.
  • Significant changes to the Society’s finances that are in the process of implementation include division of the SPP’s investment fund into separate Operations and Awards funds, and creation of a new Awards fund to better comply with standards of documentation.

Informatics & Communication:

  • The Informatics & Communication Committee proved pivotal in the board approving SPP’s website redesign! We hope to have a BRAND NEW website platform to debut in the summer of 2020.
  • Dr. Jason Jarzembowski (Chair, Informatics & Communications Committee), continues to promote SPP meetings/events, job postings, and PDP offerings in the forum and on social media.
  • SPP also continues to identify ways to implement new technology solutions at meetings, such as digitally available posters/platforms/handouts, interactive sessions, and app improvements.
  • Moving into 2020, we hope to add more educational offerings to the website, such as recorded sessions and webinars available for CME.


  • The SPP board also relaunched the Membership Committee in 2019. The goals of the Membership Committee are threefold: to recruit new members, to retain our existing members, and to recognize our long-term members and leaders in pediatric pathology.
  • Some projects that we hope to implement that will attain these goals include a 2020 member needs survey, re-engaging lapsed SPP members, launching a membership kit/welcome package, and creating a mentorship portal through the website.
  • SPP cannot exist without its membership. What can we do for you? Contact Dr. Erin Rudzinski (Chair, Membership Committee), or Jordan Burghardt, SPP Administrator, to share your feedback.



  • As some of you may remember, the SPP Practice Committee requested ideas for potential practice review and guidelines projects (“this is how we do it”). We would love to hear suggestions regarding practice areas that may be worth documenting and evaluating in a variety of institutions and practices. The goal would be to publish, and/or even draft guidelines or recommendations for SPP members.
  • SPP Practice Committee members, led by chair Dolores Lopez-Terrada, will be proposing possible projects at their committee meeting directly prior to the SPP Spring Meeting in LA.
  • The Practice Committee is collaborating with the Membership Committee regarding updates and feedback to the 2017 Member Needs Survey questions and the 2018 Gaps & Needs Survey results.
  • Lastly, the “Molecular in My Pocket guides” pediatric group of the Association for Molecular Pathology (AMP) is writing a guide on molecular alterations in pediatric cancers that will be published as part of the Molecular in My Pocket series. The current draft includes key molecular alterations in pediatric brain and solid tumors and the group is working with the AMP Training and Education Committee to create another guide with content relevant to pediatric hematologic malignancies. We will make sure to share the draft as soon as is available for discussion at the upcoming Spring Committee meeting.


  • Electronic access to volumes 1-8 of Perspectives in Pediatric Pathology is now available on SAGE’s website.
  • The SAGE website (home of PDP and Perspectives) has also gone through some renovations: users now are able to access SAGE Journals platform directly alongside the content on SAGE Journals, without having to leave the site, resulting in the following benefits:
    • An improved and more engaging user experience, especially for authors
    • Encourages submissions through easier to find journal information and more prominent ‘submit paper’ button and links
    • Reduced unnecessary traffic away from SAGE Journals to the SAGE corporate website
    • A more consistent feel to the user journey
  • SAGE is offering a free online course, “How to Get Published,” which shares some tips and tricks to successfully getting articles published in quality journals.
  • Thanks to Dr. Pierre Russo (Editor-in-Chief, Pediatric and Developmental Pathology), Dr. Monique de Paepe (Chair, Publications Committee), and the committee members for their work on these and other projects.

Research & Awards:

  • Congratulations to the 2019 SPP Award Recipients!
    • Gordon F. Vawter Pathologist-in-Training Award (2019 Spring Meeting)
      • Nya Nelson, MD, PhD: “Pediatric mismatch repair deficient solid tumors detected by immunohistochemistry are rare but enriched in the central nervous system: implications for checkpoint inhibitor therapy”
    • Harry B. Neustein Memorial Award (2019 Spring Meeting):
      • Linda Ernst, MD: “Umbilical cord blood miRNAs to predict neonatal early onset sepsis”
    • Lotte Strauss Prize:
      • Bonnie Cole, MD: “Targeted Sequencing of Malignant Supratentorial Pediatric Brain Tumors Demonstrates a High Frequency of Clinically Relevant Mutations,” Ped Dev Path 2018;21(4):380–388
    • Enid Gilbert Barness Prize
      • Dolores López-Terrada, MD, PhD: “Genomic analysis of hepatoblastoma identifies distinct molecular and prognostic subgroups,” Hepatology. 2017 Jan;65(1):104-121.
    • A. James McAdams Short-Term Study Stipend
      • Michelle Smith, MD, PGY2, University of Kentucky, “4 week pediatric pathology rotation at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital focusing on pediatric solid tumors.”
    • Young Investigator Research Grant
      • Gabrielle Rizzuto MD, PhD, University of California – San Francisco, “Profiling the maternal T cell response to placental antigen.”
    • Resident Recruitment Awards (2019 Fall Meeting)
      • Lucy Fu, MD, Northwestern University: “Therapy-related T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia with complex genetic profile revealed by whole transcriptome mRNA sequencing,”
      • Lauren Skvarca, MD, PhD, University of Pittsburgh: “What’s in a name?: “A pediatric pathology case of Gorlin syndrome illustrating the impact of genetic profile,”
    • Gordon F. Vawter Pathologist-in-Training Award (2019 Fall Meeting)
      • Crystal Bockoven, MD, “Detection of Viral Genomes in Chronic Villitis,” NorthShore University HealthSystem, Evanston, IL
    • Harry B. Neustein Memorial Award (2019 Fall Meeting)
      • Csaba Galambos, MD, PhD, “State-of-the-Art Synchrotron-based Imaging Uncovers the Three-Dimensional Microanatomy of Pediatric Pulmonary Vascular Disease,” Children’s Hospital Colorado
  • The committee has selected an exciting program of abstracts for the Spring 2020 meeting, and the first of the 2020 awards will be announced at that meeting.
  • Thanks to Dr. Jeff Terry (Chair, Research Committee), Dr. Benjamin Wilkins (Abstract Director), Dr. Karen Chisholm (Awards Director), and the Research & Awards Committee members for all their work in reviewing abstracts, grants, and award applications. And thanks to our members and donors whose continued generosity makes our awards possible!

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