National Pathology Week (NPW) is our annual celebration of pathology, when we highlight the important contribution pathologists make to healthcare. Working in partnership with pathologists and laboratory scientists across the UK, our programme of events and activities aims to engage people of all ages, and improve public awareness and understanding of how pathologists and scientists diagnose disease. 

We welcome pathology-related events and activities of all sizes, and various formats (including online!), in our nationwide programme – we’ve got lots of ideas and free resources to help with planning and delivering great activities.

A look back at National Pathology Week 2020

NPW 2020 ran from 2 to 8 November and involved a wide range of events and activities run by the College team, and our members and supporters. NPW 2020 reached diverse audiences across the UK and beyond, from young children to medical professionals. The majority of the events and activities were held online due to COVID-19. 

Theme for 2020 - Pathology: at the heart of healthcare

For NPW 2020 we our invited our members and supporters to consider exploring the theme ‘Pathology: at the heart of healthcare’ with their events, activities and online posts. 

We saw a wide range of interpretations around this theme, from all of the ways pathology teams help look after our heart-health, to the essential role of pathology at the heart of healthcare.

Exploring the heart of healthcare

We also worked with scientist-turned-artist, Dr Lizzie Burns to create some new downloadable resources all about the heart and heart health.

College-led virtual events

The online events programme run by the College team included quizzes, webinars and art-science workshops:

2 November

  • Heart-themed art science origami workshops with Dr Lizzie Burns: Lizzie led three online sessions for school students on her YouTube channel. Students folded their own origami 'beating heart' as well discover more about the heart via our free 'Heart of Healthcare' resources.  The recordings of these sessions are on YouTube.
  • 'Meet the Presidents' launch event: This unique online event offered the chance for RCPath members, Foundation doctors, undergraduate and postgraduate students, and anyone with an interest in pathology, to hear our President, Professor Jo Martin and our President-elect Dr Mike Osborn 'in conversation' about their careers, and their thoughts on why pathology is 'at the heart of healthcare'. Our host for the evening, Medical Microbiology Consultant, Dr Nicola Hardman, led the discussions and chaired the Q&A. The recording of this event will be on our YouTube channel soon.

3 November

  • RCPath Book Club Event: Around 70 people joined an expert panel to explore the highly topical book, 'The Pandemic Century: A History of Global Contagion from the Spanish Flu to Covid-19'. The online event was chaired by healthcare scientist and science communicator, Kip Heath, and the author of the book, Mark Honigsbaum read an excerpt at the start of the event. The panel of speakers were: virologist Prof. Will Irving, journalist Anjana Ahuja and immunologist Dr Shuayb Elkhalifa, who discussed some of the key themes and ideas with the author before the webinar audience were able to ask the speakers questions.

4 November

  • 'Meet the pathologists'/ 'Meet the scientists' careers talks for schools: Three RCPath members who had been trained in public engagement by a team at the Science Museum delivered short interactive careers talks on Zoom for secondary school students (aged 13 to 18) at the first of five virtual events. The first event was attended by around 30 people - some were teachers who livestreamed the session to their classrooms and some were sixth form students. 

5 November

  • Pathology-themed Virtual Pub Quiz for medical/ biomedical undergraduates: Teams of undergraduates studying medicine or biomedical science took part in our National Pathology Week online quiz event. With a range of questions gathered from RCPath members who work in 16 different specialty areas, the event gave undergraduates the chance to test their knowledge of disease prevention, diagnosis and treatment, as well as have fun with a pathology-themed music round. The event was hosted by chemical pathology trainees, Dr Eamon McCarron and Dr Emma Murray, and RCPath Foundation Fellow, Dr Rishi Agrawal. 

6 November

  • Pathology-themed Virtual Pub Quiz for veterinary science undergraduates:  Around 40 undergraduates studying veterinary science (or similar) took part in our National Pathology Week online quiz event. With a range of questions gathered from RCPath members who work in the various areas of veterinary pathology, the event gave undergraduates the chance to test their knowledge of animal disease prevention, diagnosis and treatment. There were also some fun rounds designed by veterinary pathologist, Dr Simon Spiro, who also co-hosted the event with Professor Rob La Ragione and Dr Kate English. 

7 November

  • Heart-themed art science origami workshop with Dr Lizzie Burns: Science-based artist, Dr Lizzie Burns led an online origami workshop for families via Zoom. Around 40 families joined the online event to fold their own origami 'beating heart'. RCPath Fellow, Dr Esther Youd, was also involved in the event - she talked to participants about how the heart works and what can go wrong, and answered their questions. Attendees were encouraged to use our full range of heart resources before and after the event. 

How we supported members with their NPW events

Our 2020 theme was 'Pathology: at the heart of healthcare.' This was chosen as it offered the chance to shine a spotlight on careers in pathology to students and foundation doctors, and to demonstrate its key role in medicine and health. Lots of our members got involved in really innovative ways - some of their activities will be featured in the January 2021 edition of the Bulletin.

We provided a range of downloadable resources to help members run their NPW events and activities including a guide to running successful online events. We also developed new branded materials that members could order and sent all members who registered their event a National Pathology Week goody bag. 

National Pathology Week 2021

Save the date!

Make a note of the dates for National Pathology Week 2021: 1 - 7 November. We'll update this page with more information as soon as possible.

Got a good theme idea? 

Get in touch with the team if you have a bright idea for our National Pathology Week 2021 theme - it needs to be broad so that members working across all of our 17 specialties can interpret it.