ROBINNA G. LORENZ, MD, PHD
July 1, 2023 - June 30, 2024
It is an honor to serve as your President for 2023-2024. My observations, first as a member of ASIP since 2003 and now as a member of the ASIP Executive Council have shown me the excitement and opportunity surrounding the future of pathology. Our members, with their diverse interests, knowledge, and backgrounds, have shown me the unlimited possibilities for innovation and impact. My training is in clinical and experimental pathology, with a focus on clinical immunology and basic gastrointestinal immune responses. I am also passionate about training and development of the next generation of physician-scientists and scientists. I believe that the discipline of Pathology is poised to dramatically impact the integration of basic science research findings into clinical medicine, technology and drug development. In this welcome letter, I want to give you some details on several new ASIP initiatives and opportunities that will impact members this year. More information on all of these topics can be found on our website.
Scientific Meeting(s): ASIP has a history of strong scientific meetings, especially over the last several decades with the Annual Meeting as part of the Experimental Biology meeting, and more recently with our stand-alone PISA meetings. However, the end of Experimental Biology (after the 2022 meeting) has created an opportunity for reinventing our Annual Meeting. In 2023, we are partnering with the American Society for Matrix Biology (ASMB) and the Histochemical Society (HCS) to organize Tissue, Matrix, and Pathobiology, an exciting new multidisciplinary and collaborative joint meeting. This meeting will be held in Salt Lake City, UT on October 22-25, 2023. Students, trainees, investigators, and educators who are working on cutting-edge basic, clinical, and translational research related to biology of cells and tissues, as well as molecular and cellular alterations that drive disease processes should all plan on attending. The meeting will also feature education and career development sessions that are focused on the needs of the current generation of trainees and young investigators. In 2024, we are planning a stand-alone meeting (Baltimore, MD; April 20-23, 2024). This meeting will provide more personal engagement with other ASIP members (and non-members) and enhance the opportunity for younger scientists and trainees to interact with leaders in the field.
Membership: The ASIP is >100 years-old and has had a solid core membership during that time. Current membership reflects 57% regular/NextGen members, 29% trainees (undergraduate, graduate students, medical students, postdoctoral fellows), and 15% emeritus members. Our ability to recruit new members is reflected in the fact that 39% of current members have been members for <5 years, while the long-term stability of the membership is reflected in the observation that 35% of current members have been members for >20 years, and 14% of the current membership have been members for >40 years. Although these numbers indicate that we are offering a community that meets the needs of our current members, the ASIP Executive Council felt that there were communities that could benefit from being a part of ASIP, but that were not reflected in our current membership categories. Therefore, we have now established three new membership categories: ‘Science Educator Member’ - intended for professionals who primarily teach science; ‘Laboratory Scientist Member’ - for professionals who work as non-faculty laboratory technicians in hospital or other clinical settings; and ‘Research Scientist Member’ - for professionals who work as non-faculty laboratory technicians and scientists in research laboratories. More information on all these new membership categories can be found on the ASIP website (under Membership/Join) and we need your help to recruit new members across these new and all current membership categories. Each of you can highlight the benefits of ASIP membership to your friends and colleagues (and there are flyers you can share provided under Member Benefits on the ASIP website). One clear benefit is attendance at our annual ASIP meeting, which is special for several reasons. First, it is a manageable scale where one can easily renew friendships with colleagues from many institutions; and second, it serves as an important showcase for trainees and junior faculty, the majority of whom get the opportunity to give oral presentations, interact with specialists in their field, and often receive travel awards. Additionally, some membership categories receive online access to our official journal – The American Journal of Pathology and discounts on page charges in AJP. Finally, members can join one or more Scientific Interest Groups (SIGs) that provide members with the culture and experience of a small specialty society within the larger whole of a research-oriented membership with diverse interests. These SIGs are constantly evolving and two new SIGs were established in 2021 – The Pathology in Biotech and Industry SIG and the Ocular Pathobiology SIG.
Future Planning: It is clear that ASIP is poised to develop innovative approaches to support pathology researchers to make an impact on and to foster knowledge of a broad spectrum of careers in the field of investigative pathobiology. The ASIP Leadership Team is currently undertaking a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis of the society. This information will provide context for the discussion of various challenges facing the Society in the short and long term and will provide a foundation for evaluation of the Society operations and activities. The goal is to maximize and optimize the membership experience and the value of our Society for all members. If you would like to get more actively involved or provide input, please reach out to any of the ASIP staff (under contact us on the website) or find me or other ASIP Leadership/Staff in Salt Lake City (Joint Meeting) or Baltimore (2024 stand-alone meeting). We would love to hear from you and have your help and support as we continue to improve and strengthen our Society.
*For those interested in the history of ASIP, read the fascinating, “History of The American Society for Investigative Pathology 1976-2013,” compiled and written by Mark Sobel, former ASIP President and Executive Officer for the occasion of the 100th Anniversary. PDF copies (and a limited number of hard copies) are available to members from Lisa McFadden (Lmcfadden@asip.org).