Vol 60 No2 2020

Page 1 

Dietmar Schmidt, IAP President

President's Report

Dear colleagues,

 My term of office as President of the International Academy of Pathology will soon come to an end.

In retrospect, a two-part pattern of the two years in office emerged during the COVID-19 pandemic and caused by travel restrictions. I have already gone into detail about the various activities in the first year in my last report. These travel activities included visits to divisions in Asian countries and participation in the 11th Asia Pacific IAP Congress in Hefei / China from October 11-14, 2019. The excellent cooperation in the APIAP is admirable. A webinar on “WHO Tumour Classification Updates” has been 

organized by APIAP on November 17, 2020. Four eminent speakers will discuss soft tissue tumors, neuroendocrine neoplasms of the pancreas and digestive system, female genital tumors, and breast tumors. All congresses which I was able to attend together with my wife Dietlind were characterized by an excellent scientific program, outstanding organization, great collegiality and the effort to further improve the status of pathology in the diagnostic medical disciplines. We were particularly pleased with the great commitment, interest and enthusiasm of our young colleagues. The level of knowledge of these young people is at an impressively high level. In the future, they will be the ones who will further enhance the reputation of Pathology and the International Academy of Pathology. The use of the new digital techniques will support them considerably in this process. 

This very well-functioning merger of numerous Asian divisions is a good example of how divisions with different capabilities can effectively support each other. We should all work hard to ensure that this happens in other parts of the world and that different systems produce mutual enrichment and not contradictions. As a global organization, the International Academy of Pathology has accomplished great things in this regard in the past and will continue to do so in the future. Let us hope that the COVID-19 pandemic can be brought to an end quickly through the various measures that are being vigorously pursued around the world and that the contacts between the divisions, some of which have come to a standstill, can be resumed. While virtual meetings help make important decisions and keep an organization alive, they are no substitute for the many personal contacts related to non-technical matters. Unfortunately, I was not able to establish and renew such contacts during my second year in office. I had planned to attend the joint congress of the Brazilian Society of Pathology and the Brazilian Society of Cytology in Iguassu. Such a joint congress of two closely neighboring societies always creates space for new joint projects and strengthens the medical community's reputation. It would have been an excellent opportunity to do this in the wonderful area around the Iguassu falls. It is hoped that the visit can be made up after the end of the pandemic.

The joint virtual congress with the European Society of Pathology will be our next chance to meet. Unfortunately, this year I cannot greet the attendees in an impressive conference center in the usual way. Still, new technologies are available for this congress, which nonetheless connects us in a significant way. Of course, this technology is no longer that new, as many of you have had ample opportunity to gain experience with virtual congress organization since spring. Like other congress organizers, the organizers of this joint congress were also forced to hold the congress, planned initially as a live congress in Glasgow/Scotland, as a virtual congress due to the pandemic. This change posed a significant challenge for everyone involved; however, I think that the organizers have solved this profound change with flying colors. I would like to thank you very much, also on behalf of all members of the IAP, and at the same time congratulate everyone involved for putting together such an exciting scientific program. In terms of its quality, scientific relevance, and breadth, it corresponds to the high standard that we know from previous IAP and ESP congresses.

We are all looking forward to the excellent speakers and their contributions, who will increase and enrich the congress participants' knowledge and experience.

I am particularly pleased that the cooperation during the long months of preparations at the second joint meeting between the IAP and ESP again worked exceptionally well. I would like to express my congratulations to the two congress presidents Prof. Ray McMahon and Prof. Holger Moch, and their colleagues in the organizing committee. I can very well imagine which emotional rollercoaster all those involved, including the employees of CPO Hanser, must have gone through. Initially, the organizers planned to postpone the congress date as a live congress from August / September 2020 to December 2020. Finally, the organizing committee decided to hold the congress as a virtual congress. Once you have organized such a large joint congress yourself, you can assess the psychological and physical stress involved in organizing such a congress and converting it to a virtual format.

For the planning, it was of great advantage that we created a model on the first joint ESP and IAP congress in Cologne in 2016, which was used for this congress and will be used for further congresses in case they are taking place in Europe. Here I am thinking above all of the scientific program's planning, which again took place with substantial participation by the ESP's working groups' chairs. The organizing committee assigned conveners of the BDIAP and IAP representatives. This structure enables everyone to have a good representation of the various scientific groups and topics. As a result, we see an up-to-date academic program of keynote lectures, slide seminars, long courses, short courses, symposia, video microscopy sessions, special sessions, oral free paper sessions, poster sessions, and e-posters.

This congress again impressively demonstrates the latest achievements in diagnostic, translational, molecular, and investigative pathology. We are strong partners of our colleagues in clinical medicine that can rely on the quality of our findings and diagnoses. 

I don't want to exaggerate, but it's more accurate than ever in diagnostic medicine:

Pathology is not everything, but without pathology, there is nothing in medicine.

I wish all participants an interesting few days with exciting lectures and events and I thank all speakers and organizers once again for their outstanding commitment.

Prof. Dr. Dietmar Schmidt
December 2020