Bulletin April 2022 Number 198

Welcome to the April Bulletin.

We have watched with horror and trepidation the evolving situation in Ukraine. The collective will to help is immense and we need to find the appropriate channels to provide any targeted support needed (p 605). It has also been hard to focus on other matters, with the bubbling unease around rising COVID figures and their implications on our working lives, together with our health and wellbeing, in the coming months. 

It feels like we are already well advanced into this year of the College’s Diamond Jubilee. So far, we have been true to our aims for the Bulletin in celebrating people with some exceptional profiles in the January issue and now a more targeted focus on our specialties. Throughout the year we will aim to build on this and shine a spotlight on all our 17 specialties within the Bulletin and through other channels such as the Annual Report and the College website. 

We start off with a range of articles showcasing topics within forensic pathology (p 609), immunology (p 612), medical microbiology and medical virology (p 618), paediatric and perinatal pathology (p 623), and veterinary pathology (p 627). I have been delighted so far by the engagement, particularly from our Specialty Advisory Committees, and we will continue to reach out to all specialties. 

As the Bulletin evolves, it provides us with the opportunity to break boundaries and feature articles on topics of wider collective interest. In ‘Not another article about wellbeing and mental health’, Chris Tiplady (p 632) uses his engaging style to discuss the importance of reflecting on our own mental health and that of our trainees. Claire Bowen (p 634) builds on this further with a highly personal account and a clarion call for better support for the wellbeing of healthcare professionals. Rachael Liebmann and Matt Clarke discuss the importance of leadership in pathology (p 659) and some of the critical attributes needed if we are to drive forward with key changes. This is coupled with sourcing appropriate training with options either led by the College or, if needed, finding avenues elsewhere (p 663). 

We further celebrate our trainees in this issue with profiles that highlight individual journeys and discuss some key messages that are more widely relevant. Kathryn Griffin (p 650) describes her somewhat convoluted path into academic histopathology and highlights the role of mentorship at whatever level or stage one might be. Josh Newmark (p 653) showcases the variety encountered as a Specialty Registrar in chemical pathology. Hamed Sharaf (p 656), an experienced senior trainee in medical microbiology, describes his particular experience moving from Egypt to the UK while keeping in sight the importance of family. Amit Sud (p 658), trainee haematologist, already has many career highlights but remains alert to future challenges for his specialty. 

The Trainees’ Advisory Committee carried out a survey in 2021 (p 670) with some important findings on the impact of COVID-19 on pathology trainees and pointers to help provision for future training. Towards inspiring the next generation of recruits into pathology, Angharad Davies (Vice President for Learning) gives a further update on the College’s Foundation Fellowship Scheme (p 664) with participants sharing their experience from the Longitudinal Integrated Foundation Training pilots. A further article describes a clearly much-needed new clinical apprenticeship introduced by Swansea University for second-year medical students (p 667). 

The Public Engagement team has worked hard on organising the College’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations and we can all now get involved (p 639). The College’s Public Engagement programme for 2022 continues to play a critical role in raising awareness and understanding of the role of pathologists (p 640) with competitions, career videos and podcasts available for all to engage with and inspire others.  

Finally, I am very pleased to include an article by Henry Oakeley on medicinal gardens, which provides an opportunity to learn about the role of plants throughout history (p 645). College members will also have the opportunity to join tours of the medicinal garden at the Royal College of Physicians as part of our Diamond Jubilee celebrations (more details to follow). During the tours, experienced garden fellows highlight the role that plants continue to play in modern-day healthcare with many strands relevant to pathology.