The American Society of Dermatopathology

ASDP Member News January 2016

We wanted to share some important updates with you as we begin the new year.
  • 52nd Annual Meeting Survey Review
  • Strategic Planning Update
52nd Annual Meeting Survey Review
Feedback from the 52nd ASDP Annual Meeting, which was held in October in San Francisco, is in and attendees enjoyed it tremendously. Credit goes to the Program Committee and all the volunteer speakers and committee members who made this meeting happen. The Program Committee considers the survey responses when planning future events. The Executive Committee noticed a few themes from the post-meeting survey that might be of interest to our membership:
  • Annual Meeting Location
    We found a lot of support for holding the meeting in Chicago every year as 80 percent of our members live in the eastern half of the United States. We schedule our meetings several years in advance to ensure hotel space and avoid conflicts with other meetings. Our next annual meetings are in Chicago (2016), Baltimore (2017), Chicago (2018) and then San Diego (2019). The Board of Directors considers locations with member input in mind, but Chicago consistently attracts the most registrants and always seems to be the logical location, currently every second year. For anyone who missed the San Francisco meeting, please consider our new Essentials of Dermatopathology Board Review & MOC Course, perfect for obtaining MOC credits.

  • Annual Meeting Level of Difficulty
    We’re a diverse group with regards to years’ experience. Attendees occasionally note a particular program is too easy or too hard, too short or too long, too academic or too simple. That these comments are in the minority, and fairly evenly balanced, suggests we are right on target with the program. All the content comes from volunteers and is vetted by the Program, Peer Review, MOC and other committees. We haven’t reached the stage of identifying meeting events in tracks, like skiing -- green circle for beginners, black diamond for experts only -- but we cover the spectrum. Regarding specific topics, the Program Committee always appreciates suggestions for new topics or delivery methods.
  • Presenter Conflicts of Interest
    The Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) has no tolerance for conflicts of interest by speakers and neither does ASDP. A rare speaker enthusiastically mentions a commercial course they are involved with, or a molecular test their lab has championed. We require conflict of interest disclosures by both ASDP officers and speakers, but sometimes a speaker doesn’t realize they are overstepping the boundary. In response to concerns raised about some talks, we have notified the speakers mentioned in the survey responses. In future we plan to have all talks screened before presentation, and marketing material removed. Identifying conflict of interest is more difficult with laboratory developed tests, especially proprietary molecular tests, so this area will likely remain a challenging one to manage. It is permissible for the ASDP to obtain sponsorship, but sponsor-related materials cannot be presented in the educational areas.
  • Society Balance
    Some members perceive a bias towards pathology, others towards dermatology, others towards academia, or commercial laboratories. The Executive Committee and Board come from diverse training and geographic backgrounds. We can assure our members that deliberations are almost universally unanimous and always respectful. Without fault in committees, people set aside their personal biases and are quick to recuse themselves from any issue in which they have a personal interest. A challenging area might be advocacy -- all may endorse the general effort but then potentially divisive topics surface that might split the Society apart. The Executive Committee and Board feel there are sufficient shared interests among our members to consume all our efforts, and where there might be potential wrenching splits, those issues will likely be passed by.
Strategic Planning Process
The process of revisiting our strategic plan began with a member survey late last year, the board and committee chairs worked on this at the Annual Meeting, then a group of 10 members* met with management staff over a weekend in Chicago last November. Under the guidance of an experienced moderator we have developed goals that fall under four main categories:
Membership, Education, Messaging, Experience
Since November, there have been ongoing debates and numerous voting cycles to prioritize action items under these headings. Action items that have come out of this work are being reviewed by the Board of Directors, and those requiring Bylaws changes will be submitted to the membership in the first half of this year. We sincerely hope you will support the various changes in the Bylaws. These changes can be instituted this year. For example, we propose removing the requirement for three written character references from Fellows – anyone who secures a dermatopathology fellowship has already been vetted thoroughly. Securing these letters seems to be an unnecessary rate limiting step to joining ASDP.
Others items such as advocacy (under Messaging) are already underway with our engagement with the AMA House of Delegates, RUC and CPT committees. Some of the proposals will require more work and long-term focus. More detailed information on the topics of Membership, Education, Messaging, and Experience will follow in the next few months.
Shawn Cowper, MD, Lyn M. Duncan, MD, Dirk M. Elston, MD, Tammie C. Ferringer, MD, Mark A. Hurt, MD, Jerad M. Gardner, MD, Lawrence Gibson, MD, Melissa P. Piliang, MD, Christopher Shea, MD,  Michael G. Hitchcock, MBChB