It is spring, and we are being encouraged to engage with nature. Quite right too – I am always at my least grumpy after a hike. But the writer and poet Kathleen Jamie points out that nature is not just ‘out there’. In her essay collections Findings and Sightlines, she visits the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and the histopathology department in Dundee Hospital and concludes that specimens and brightly stained slides are also part of the natural world, thus adding another dimension to our already fascinating work.
I’m delighted that our April theme is ‘One Health’ – a concept that recognises the overlap between human and animal disease, and promotes the mutual benefits of collaborative research for both humans and the animals with which we share our lives. The five articles in the theme (pp 73–80) range from markers for liver cancer, through mouse models in drug development to the management of bovine tuberculosis in India and Ethiopia.
The timing of this issue is perfect to promote the College’s new continuous quality improvement (CQI) awareness month in May. This builds on much previous College work and provides a focus for future activities. The articles on pp 81–86 include reports from participants in the CQI mentoring scheme – a great advertisement for becoming a mentor, or indeed being mentored.
We are so fortunate to have such an engaged trainee workforce and a very active Trainee Advisory Committee (TAC). The full-to-bursting trainee section on pp 112–118 includes not only a report from the last TAC meeting, but a thoughtful and thought-provoking article on bullying and harassment. We also have reports from trainee clinical scientists on wonderful career development opportunities: an elective down under and a spell as a locum consultant.
Haematology activities pop up throughout this issue, all concerned with important non-malignant conditions. I am pleased to report that the topic of genetic haemochromatosis will now have its very own all party parliamentary group (see p 96), while the International team are providing input to a project on sickle cell anaemia in Ghana (p 106). Lastly, we report on the College’s biannual transfusion medicine conference (p 123), which had the honour of being the first conference held in the College’s new premises.
We continue to showcase activities in smaller specialties, with reproductive medicine featuring on p 91 and a new development in toxicology reported on p 97. We hope to return to toxicology in a future issue. One of the joys of pathology is the endless scope for working with other disciplines in both service delivery and research. Here, we report on an innovation in the diagnosis of sepsis – through a new Suspicion of Sepsis Insights Dashboard (p 109) – and also on how cancer biobanks could improve their usefulness to researchers (p 94).
It’s never too early in one’s medical career to start thinking in-depth about pathology topics, or to undertake a period of research. The winners of our undergraduate essay competition (p 101) and our trainee research awards (p 101) illustrate this in spades. On a lighter note, the results of our art and public engagement competitions illustrate what a multi-talented (and competitive) lot pathologists are. It’s particularly wonderful that the joint winners of the Furness Prize for public engagement are medical students (P 103).
It is with great sadness that we include on p 119 an appreciation of Professor Paola Domizio, who did so much to spread her passion for pathology.
Finally, can I draw your attention to the advertisement on p 105 for the forthcoming vacancies in the Clinical Director team? It’s a great way to contribute to the College, with a remunerated one- day-a-week role working closely with both College staff and honorary officers. I will be coming to the end of my tenure in the autumn, and the Bulletin will have a new editor. So you’re not rid of me yet, but this is a chance to say what a rewarding and fun job this is, and I hope you’ll be jostling to take over. And get those hiking boots on.