Message from the President
I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to all members for my appointment as president of PPS.
A special thanks goes to Phil Cox. Taking over this role from him is undoubtedly a challenging task. He started the process of modernizing the society, with the construction of the new website — an important tool for exchanging knowledge in such a specialized field and for creating a network of experts. He has also supported the ambitious plan to organize a joint meeting PPS-ANZPPG Society in Perth, which, despite the difficulties related to the distance, was a great success. It was an extremely stimulating meeting from the scientific point of view and a unique occasion to exchange experiences with many pathologists coming from different countries including Indonesia, Australia and United States.
The friendly atmosphere of Perth and the incomparable landscapes in the surroundings were also the ideal place to make a reflection about our discipline and the evolution of our Society.
We as PPS are faced with a number of challenges, some of which stem from the overall trend of our discipline, and some from the workings of our subspecialty.
On the one hand, as pathologists, we need to cope with the identity crisis derived from the technological evolution and the growing role of genetics and molecular biology in the diagnostic work up. This is especially true for pediatric and perinatal pathologists.
On the other hand, as a society, we need to constantly ask ourselves Why do we exist?, What do we want to achieve?, How are we faring against our objectives? Swamped as we are in our daily routines, we run the risk of taking the answers to these questions for granted.
While there is no magic bullet to tackle these challenges, I firmly believe that we have to come to terms with two things. First, to cite Pessoa, we must realize “the certainty one is always beginning.” Second, we need to acknowledge that we are a small yet highly-focused society, meaning that to make the same impact larger societies can make, we have to be more cohesive.
In light of this, I would like to share with you what I see as the key priorities for the next term. Roughly, these priorities may fall under the general goal of innovating the society, meaning that I will try to sustain the great job Phil has done so far. Below, the top priorities for the year:
- Promote the participation of young pediatric/perinatal pathologists. As a small society, we need to get younger cohorts on board, to create a fruitful knowledge exchange between our generations and the neophytes, and to ensure we provide for the long-term fulfilment of our mission. The committee is discussing new strategies to increase the appeal of our meetings, but this can be done only with the collaboration of our residents and fellows.
- Improve PPS visibility through the creation of partnerships with other societies apart from those already established with European Society (ESP), International Academy of Pathology (IAP) and Society for Pediatric Pathology (SPP), with similar focus on newborn and children pathology. In many European countries, pediatric/perinatal pathology is done by general pathologists, some of whom may not be aware of our society. However, they may benefit from getting in touch with our Society. This means that we may need to identify opportunities for joint meetings to attract general pathologists.
- Strengthen the participation of members to the society, also outside of the annual meeting. For a Society to be representative of its members, it is essential to have a clear and shared understanding of our goals, of what is or isn’t working, and of what could be improved. A survey will be issued to all members to identify what people expect from the society and any suggestion for improvement.
- Discuss the possibility of establishing committees or sub-committees involved in different scientific fields (e.g. solid tumors, brain malformations etc.). This is the necessary pre-requisite to define a network of specialists/centers of excellence and also the basis for potential cooperation with clinical groups.
These goals can only be achieved through close and continuous collaboration among all members of the Society. In this respect, I would like to conclude with a brief aside. In "mindfulness" practice, there is an exercise in which a group of people, eyes closed, stand in a circle. They move back and forth at same time and in the same direction as parts of a single body. They are able to do so simply by following the intrinsic synchrony based on non-verbal communication. The mission for the president of the Society is to turn each individual rhythm into a part of a harmonic circle, and to keep it alive by infusing a breath of fresh air. We as “seniors” are used to think of ourselves as the repository of the state of the art; yet we often fail to pass it on to the neophytes, to stimulate their creativity and enthusiasm; and we often fail to see change coming.
Together, we will achieve our goals. Phil has shown us that collaboration and a clear strategic vision can make great things happen. I see no reason why we can’t go further.