Neil Osterweil

September 08, 2016

LAS VEGAS, Nevada — Ways pathologists can help fill the gap in areas of the world that do not have the necessary pathology resources will be at the center of the Pathology and Lab Medicine 2016 American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) Annual Meeting.

"If you go to a country like Botswana, they do not have pathology technologists. They have a very limited number of pathologists available, and it takes 4 to 6 weeks to get to a definitive diagnosis," said Zubair Baloch, MD, PhD, chair of the ASCP Annual Meeting Education Committee.

In the past couple of years, the ASCP has become more involved and more active in global health, partnering with organizations like the Clinton Foundation and Partners in Health to address the vital role that pathologists can play on the global-health stage, Dr Baloch told Medscape Medical News.

One of the meeting highlights will take place during the Global Health of the Future general session. A speech about Partners for Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment in Africa, an ASCP-led coalition designed to provide rapid cancer diagnostics and treatment to underserved areas of sub-Saharan Africa, will be delivered by Paul Farmer, MD, PhD, cofounder of Partners in Health and chair of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston.

Global Health

The coalition has "created screening and diagnostic programs, and all pathologists who come to the meeting or visit the website can sign up as a volunteer to help with screening and cancer diagnosis by digital pathology," Dr Baloch explained.

 
Health is one of the major issues in nation building. I think that as pathologists and laboratory professionals, we have a really big part to play in terms of driving effective patient care.
 

Pathology and laboratory medicine play a crucial role in the relationship between the United States and the rest of the world, said Lee Hilborne, MD, professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, and a past president of ASCP.

"A lot of the initiative in ASCP's role is to drive effective patient care in resource-limited countries so that there can be care for patients with common conditions, such as HIV, malaria, TB, and really for all patients," he told Medscape Medical News.

"Health is one of the major issues in nation building. I think that as pathologists and laboratory professionals, we have a really big part to play in terms of driving effective patient care," he said.

The importance of leadership in the expansion of influence and the recognition of the profession will be addressed during the Living Leadership general session.

And during the Tomorrow Is Today general session, the focus will be on the advances in bioinformatics and genomics that are helping pathologists and laboratory specialists improve healthcare.

There will also be hands-on sessions to help pathologists learn practical skills in breast pathology, cytopathology, head and neck pathology, hematology and hematopathology, transfusion medicine, molecular pathology and diagnostics, and microbiology.

A new feature of the meeting will be customizable personalized learning tracks that offer fundamental, advanced, and interactive sessions for professionals at every level of experience and every stage of development.

For example, there will be nearly 20 hours of interactive video microscopy tutorials. Attendees are invited to bring challenging slides from their daily practices to stimulate the discussion.

And there will be genomic pathology sessions geared toward residents and toward pathologists in practice.

For attendees who don't want to try their luck at blackjack, craps, roulette, or slot machines in Vegas, there are myriad shows, concerts, and other attractions, and plenty of swimming pools for beating the desert heat.

Dr Baloch and Dr Hilborne have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

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