21 November 2023

Dr Bernie Croal and 3 new Vice-Presidents have started their 3 year term as College Honorary Officers.

Dr Bernie Croal, President 

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Dr Bernie Croal is an NHS chemical pathologist from Aberdeen specialising in intravenous nutritional support. He also oversees laboratory services at the Cleveland Clinic in London via TDL. He is a science and medicine graduate, and has trained in general medicine, chemical pathology and Health Services/Public Health Research. He has spent a long career in various leadership roles within NHS Scotland including clinical director and regional lead for pathology, NHS Scotland demand optimisation lead and chair of the Scottish Clinical Biochemistry Network (SCBN).

He was the President of the Association for Clinical Biochemistry and Laboratory Medicine (ACB-UK). He is a fellow of both the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow and the Institute of Biomedical Science.

Within RCPath he has chaired many committees, been Scotland Regional Council Chair for 9 years and a Trustee for 13 years. He also served as College Vice President from 2011 to 2014.

New RCPath Vice-Presidents

The Royal College of Pathologists Vice Presidents are appointed to the College's Trustee board. They work closely with the College President and other members of the board, using their skills and experience to make sure the College runs efficiently and delivers its strategic objectives. 

Professor Marta Cohen, Vice-President, Learning


Professor Marta Cohen is a Paediatric and Perinatal Pathologist. Her current role is as Head of Department and Clinical Director of Pharmacy, Diagnostics and Genetics at Sheffield Children's NHS Foundation Trust (SCH).

Professor Cohen has also been involved in national and international organisations in educational, advisory and/or leadership roles. These include: President of IPPA (International Paediatric Pathology Association) 2016-2018, IPPA Course Director (2014-2018); ESP Council Board (2022-2024), Director of the ESP Giordano Fellowship in Paediatric and Perinatal Pathology (2015-), Scientific Advisory Group Lullaby Trust, Academic Advisory Board, Academy of Forensic Sciences and Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood Foundation UK amongst other roles. Professor Cohen is also the academic lead of RCPath's Pre/Perinatal/Paediatric Pathology Speciality Advisory Committee (SAC).

Professor Cohen also works in post-graduate education and training. In 2005, she established the training in Paediatric/Perinatal Pathology at SCH and has since become a trainee supervisor and an examiner since 2018.

In 2020, Professor Marta Cohen was awarded an OBE for her role in the investigation of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Dr Noha El Sakka OBE, MBChB, MSc, MD, PhD, FRCPath, FRCP Edin 

Vice-President, Communications 

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Dr El Sakka graduated from Alexandria Faculty of Medicine, Egypt, and obtained a masters and then medical doctorate in Clinical Pathology before moving to the UK, joining the University of Aberdeen where she obtained a PhD in Molecular Biology.

After completion of the FRCPath and Medical Microbiology training in 2015, Dr El Sakka was appointed as a Consultant Microbiologist at NHS Grampian and an Honorary Clinical Senior Lecturer at the University of Aberdeen. She was appointed to various national roles including Specialist Advisor to Scotland Chief Medical Officer and to the Scottish Government, and Chair of the Scottish Clinical Virology Consultants Group and Chair of the Scottish Diagnostic Virology Group.

Dr El Sakka is also a member of The Royal College of Pathologists' Scotland Regional Council and a member of the Joint Medical Microbiology and Virology Speciality Advisory Committee, and is the Royal College country advisor for Egypt.

In June 2022, Dr El Sakka was awarded an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the Queen's Birthday Honours list for her services to the NHS and the COVID-19 response.

Dr Laszlo Igali, Vice-President, Professionalism

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Dr Igali is a histopathologist and cytopathologist who has been Chief of Service of the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust Cellular Pathology Department since May 2023. He has an MSc degrees in Healthcare management and Healthcare Informatics which form the foundations for his current roles in the National Expert Reference groups in digital pathology and in the LIMS/Ordercomms Expert Reference Group; Chair of Pathology Informatics National User Group (PINUG), and he was until recently the Chair of the RCPath Informatics Committee.

Being active in pathology informatics, he worked to help establish SNOMED CT as the coding standard for pathology. He has been advocate of digital pathology for over 2 decades, working on synoptic reporting, dynamic coding, embracing AI and developing interactive holographic 'touchable' pathology.

As well as being an examiner for College, Dr Igali has been working for The Royal College of Pathologists for nearly 15 years. Starting with the Lay Advisory Committee, then continuing as Informatics Advisor for 5 years, Editor of The Bulletin, regional representative and Council Member, Cellular Pathology Specialty Advisory Committee member, Informatics Committee member then Chair.