I had loved the events I’d taken part in as part of the College’s Public Engagement work, so I dusted off the CV and applied. It’s all very exciting, and a privilege to being taking on this role, which includes editing The Bulletin.
I’ve had a soft landing for my first issue as there is a wealth of wonderful material from both National Pathology Week and International Pathology Day – do read and enjoy the photos. Your passion for promoting pathology to wider audiences is impressive, especially the strong interest by trainees. I was involved in two events aimed at 16–18 year olds: ‘Pathology 19 Ways’ and ‘Your Body, Your Consent’. The enthusiasm and very firm views of the young participants are a real energiser for the jaded pathologist. I am very grateful to all who took part; becoming involved in these types of events would be a great New Year resolution for you all.
The ‘International’ section of this Bulletin shows how far-reaching the range of College activities are, with the achievements of LabSkills Africa showcased in this edition. Congratulations to the Examinations team for continuing to develop overseas sittings of the College exams, with the first Part II in histopathology being held in Jordan in October. International Pathology Day was both a stimulating and humbling experience, with many reminders that we are indeed a ‘global village’. Whether it is getting blood for transfusion to remote and battle-torn areas, unravelling the international spread of hepatitis E or providing digital learning in breast cancer diagnosis over the internet, you will find a pathologist at the heart of the action. We also heard about the great work of pathologists during the Ebola epidemic, and in transfusion and histopathology in Malawi.
I’ve kept some pages to continue the theme of molecular pathology, so many thanks to Ian Cree for a great overview and to the other contributors to this section. Molecular diagnostics, including next-generation sequencing and other new platforms, is now embedding across all specialties. As one contributor put it, the choice of tumour therapy based on genetic features now puts pathology at centre stage of multidisciplinary team meetings. The pace of progress is stunning, with IT, training and staffing requirements the next challenge for pathology and the wider NHS. I’ve been promised more articles on this topic for the April Bulletin (a gentle reminder – you know who you are).
Following the successful themed issues in 2015 edited by the Vice-Presidents, I’m minded to keep the themed approach going during 2016. One idea for a future edition is a focus on academic pathology – is it thriving, in convalescence after a lengthy coma, or in need of intensive care? Let me know if you like the idea of themed editions and, if so, please send suggestions. An offer of an article would be a bonus! Indeed, suggestions for any new features are welcome. I’m also keen that the smaller of our 19 specialties contribute articles – we’re more than cellular pathology and haematology, by a long way.
Apparently for the first time in years, we had far too much material for the January issue. Many thanks to those of you who have kindly agreed to your article being held over till the April edition, which will also be full of great material across all the sections. In order to save precious printed pages for meaty items of education and discussion, we will gradually explore greater use of the website, e.g. to advertise and take bookings for College events, with only short ‘trailers’ in the Bulletin. Please let me have any further suggestions for material you’d be happy to see only on the website.
I look forward to working with the College Officers, other Directors and the College’s Communications team to take The Bulletin forward for the education and enjoyment of all readers. A very happy new year to you all.
Dr Lorna Williamson