On the Inside:
- ESVP PRESIDENT CORNER
- ECVP PRESIDENT CORNER
- ESVP SECRETARY CORNER
- TEACHING PATHOLOGY DURING CORONA TIME
- CUTTING EDGE PATHOLOGY CONGRESS TORINO, 2021
- OBITUARY - EMERITUS PROFESSOR MICHAEL DAY
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ESVP President corner
It is Corona time - always look on the bright side of life
I am sure we all realized the differences and changes in these corona pandemic times. This pandemic affects our private, social as well as our professional life. We all experienced the lockdown to varying degrees in the different countries. We had to learn new words such as social distancing, testing, tracing, flattening the curve, replication rate and some professions including our own discipline turned out to be systemically relevant. What a surprise. We are now, at least most of us, entering a new stage entitled “loose lockdown rules”. It seems the latter is more difficult, controversial and more challenging. We are all afraid that we might move two steps forward and, in case it is not working, we have to go back one or, in the worst case scenario, three steps again. We are facing new discussion rounds between virologists, epidemiologists and with experts on economy and social science. Interesting enough science is playing an unprecedented role in the current situation. I cannot remember a time in the last decades where science was so important for our society and essential to shape and develop the next steps in a truly global manner. In this respect, these are really exciting times and indicate the bright and essential side of science.
This all affects our life and professional forthcoming as mentioned above. What does this mean for our society? ESVP jointly agreed with ECVP and ESTP to postpone our annual meeting from 2020 to 2021. This was done for the sake of the health of the organizer and participants and, this is also part of the story, to avoid an economic disaster for all participants. We did not want to take the risk of an uncontrolled deficit, which could jeopardize the existence of our societies and college. This would have been not possible without the support of the local organizer from Torino and the local organizers of the future meetings They all agree to postpone our annual meeting at their locations for one year. Thanks a lot. Always look at the bright side of the up-coming future.
Meetings have and continue to change. They are either cancelled, postponed or turned into videoconferences. The latter seems to be very unfamiliar mode of interaction for most of us. It´s true they cannot replace face-to-face meetings in general, however, they represent a very efficient mode of action. Just assume we would not have these digital opportunities what a catastrophe. On the other hand, it is my impression face-to-face meetings allow more easily to build-up scientific networks and joined collaborations. Moreover, videoconferences cannot be a substitute for open and personal communication in depth, as they normally would take place also during coffee, lunch and dinner breaks. However, we are reducing our carbon footprint and by reducing our CO2 emissions this might help to slow down the speed of climate changes. Always look at the bride side of our current situation.
The coronavirus pandemic has also changed our daily work dramatically. Teaching has been become a digitally dominated task. We become familiar with ZOOM, TEAMS and Skype and surprisingly. I works. Frankly, I was very skeptical and expected a breakdown. However, the opposite is the case. It is a lot of fun to do video-based teaching. It seems communication via computer is also enjoyed by students and as efficient as ex-cathedra teaching in a large lecture room. I am sure part of these newly applied techniques will also be used after the corona pandemic. Though interactive teaching is possible and probably will ensure an intensified theoretical training it cannot and will not replace practical training session. We are an applied profession that requires a strong theoretical background knowledge. However, as importantly on hands training and expertise is essential and cannot learned digitally. In case the pandemic will continue this part of our training for residents and undergraduate students will be challenging, however, at the end of the day we have to find solutions that will allow a practical training. I am sure the rapid overnight introduction of digital learning will have a long-term beneficial effect on our teaching and traineeship for both, undergraduate and graduate students as well as residents. Always look on the bright side of the current changes.
Finally, I want to close my comments with the song by Eric Idle , a founding member of Monty Python, “Always look on the bright side of life”, you also should take a look at the video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SJUhlRoBL8M). It symbolizes very well our current situation and illustrates how we should take it.
Stay cool and healthy,
ECVP President corner
“As time goes by”
ECVP celebrates its 25th anniversary!
It’s seems like just yesterday when everything started. The European College of Veterinary Pathologists (ECVP) was established in 1995 to advance veterinary pathology and promote high standards in the specialty within Europe. This emergence was not a matter of chance, but the result of the efforts made by many veterinary pathologists gathered in the ESVP, over decades. In September 1994, during the ESVP Autumn meeting in Mondoví (Italy), the ESVP Board formally proposed the creation of the ECVP as a reflection of its “sister organization”, the ACVP (American College of Veterinary Pathologists, established in 1969), and as a consequence of the growing desire to harmonize the teaching and the practice of veterinary pathology across Europe by a certifying exam. Consequently, the ECVP was founded at the ESVP annual meeting in Edinburgh (UK) in 1995, under the procedures of the “umbrella” organization for Veterinary Specialization, the EBVS (European Board of Veterinary Specialization). Following the EBVS requirements, 85 charter members (founding members) of well-established reputation were selected from different European countries and they, collectively, established the college. In 1997, the ECVP Constitution and By-Laws were approved by the EBVS and the College started the process of “de facto” recognition of veterinary pathologists based on their curriculum vitae (accredited merits based on their years practicing veterinary pathology and the authorship of scientific publications). Through this system, a total of 182 “de facto” members were admitted in 1998 and, since then, all ECVP members are board-certified by examination, with the first examination in 1999. The ECVP was fully recognized by the EBVS in 2007.
Today, the ECVP is the third largest EBVS College with 358 diplomates in total (283 by exam) and it represents an organized effort to establish criteria for training and experience to qualify as a specialist in veterinary pathology. The ECVP’s major tasks are the organization of the certifying exam and training in veterinary pathology, maintaining both at high standards, as well as the continuing education and professional development of our diplomates. In collaboration with our “founding Society”, the ESVP, the annual ESVP/ECVP meeting facilitates the gathering of veterinary pathologists of all kinds: young residents, new diplomates who joyfully collect their diplomas, and diplomates and members of the Society, to learn about the last advances in our specialization. Every three years our ECVP/ESVP annual meeting is enriched by the participation of the European Society of Toxicologic Pathology (ESTP) and take the very appropriate name of “Cutting-Edge Pathology” (CEP) meeting.
If you have read this far, I’m sure you’ll be thinking about the Turin 2020 CEP meeting and its postponement to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This human (or anti-human) coronavirus disease has changed our way of life in so many ways that is difficult to summarize. This August we will not meet in Turin and we will miss the science, our friends, the conversations, so many good moments….. please, keep them all for Turin 2021!
But veterinary pathology can’t be hibernated. Lockdowns all over the world has led us to embrace the power of new technologies, as a positive that has arisen to stay and it will permit us to be optimistic in maintaining communication and exchanging science among our members. The ECVP Council has been active from the beginning of the pandemic, especially in regard to the situation and training of our residents. After a Residency Program survey and a call for collaboration, we have almost finished two different programs of interest that will be provided by ECVP: Training online for residents (specifically oriented to the certifying exam) and continuing education webinars for pathologists.
Finally, the organization encourages veterinarians entering veterinary pathology to acquire training and competence based on approved standards. Registering as a Resident in one of our Training Centers will bring you a lot of opportunities you can’t miss. To know more about us, please visit our website https://www.ecvpath.org/
Stay healthy and sound
Your ECVP Council
ESVP Secretary Corner
Due to the postponement of the Cutting Edge Pathology Congress in Torino this August, it is necessary to hold our Annual General Meeting in a different way. The AGM is required by our constitution, to accept new members to the Society, elect new members to the Board, update members on our financial situation and for audit of the accounts, as well as maintaining good communications with you all. The AGM will be held online; the board are currently investigating the best platform to use for this, but the date for your diaries is Friday 4th September 2020 at 4pm CET. More specific information about how to join the meeting will be distributed nearer the time.
The board recently invited nominations for President-elect and councillor on the board of the Society. One nomination for President-elect was received (Jérôme Abadie); therefore Jérôme will stand unopposed at the AGM. This will leave a second position vacant for councillor. Happily, two nominations for councillor were received (Elena Riccardi and Ivana Vučićević), so Elena and Ivana will both stand unopposed for election.
Teaching Pathology During Corona Time
Corona-teaching in Slovenia
Polona Juntes, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia
»Corona crisis«, started in Slovenia at the beginning of March with the first Covid-19 patient discovered on March the 4th, 2020. Among other measures, which affected entire country, the Government closed all schools, including Universities, and stopped all public transport, on March the 13th. University of Ljubljana is encouraging on-line teaching from the very beginning, and Veterinary Faculty followed these instructions, where possible due to differences among teaching subjects. For pathology, we soon started with on-line lectures, however, because all available systems were soon congested due to the large number of users, from the elementary schools to the universities and companies, it took two weeks to be able to conduct lectures without technical problems. Now, lectures are running well using ZOOM video conferencing system, and we give lectures according to the usual schedule to prevent crossing with other lectures, and to keep some stability in teaching process. Our experience is that the majority of students have technical means and skills to log in, however, you do not know if they are really on the other side all the time and follow the lectures, or maybe they are occupied with something else, as participants do not turn on their webcams. Also, communication is not the same as in the classroom, despite some chats and questions asked during lectures. With on-line education, teaching becomes much more impersonal, genuine contacts among students and teachers as well as among students themselves are severely reduced. Classroom lectures should be preferred form of teaching in the study of veterinary medicine comparing to the on-line lectures, this option should be reserved for exceptional situations only.
Practicals and exams present a different problem. We are solving histopathology practicals with digitalised slides and virtual microscope, which are available for students in a Moodle based e-classroom. Additionally, students have video tutorial for every slide in e-classroom and teaching stuff offers consultation hours for each practicals. Videos were recorded by teaching stuff, and that took a lot of time. The problem that we see for histopathology practicals at the moment is, that there were very few visits to the virtual microscope and to video presentations, so the question is motivation and self-discipline of the students to approach teaching material and to study on their own. Also, some students have already expressed wish to have access to normal microscopes and slides before examinations.
Next issue are necropsy practicals, which are still not available to students due to the restriction measures, which do not allow students the access to the university/faculties premises. We have prepared a plan to perform practicals in very small groups and with more restrictive preventive measures, using face masks and protective glasses, beside all other preventive measures, but we are still waiting for the confirmation from the authorities. Despite that, we have already received complains and suggestions from students, that with working in small groups only they will see less necropsy cases and get less practice before the exam.
Time for online learning
Pompei Bolfa, Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine, St. Kitts and Nevis
We certainly miss our students in class!
The health, safety and well-being of our students, faculty, staff and our island communities are of paramount importance to us at Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine, in St. Kitts. Currently, the federation of St. Kitts and Nevis has cleared all 15 confirmed SARS-CoV-2 cases and has zero active cases.
As we continue to monitor the rapidly evolving public health situation, we are taking the necessary precautions to lower the risk of exposure and do our part to curb the spread of the virus. On Friday, March 13, we made the decision to shift all courses online for the remainder of the semester using mainly two online platforms: CANVAS for posting the lectures and communicating with the students and Cisco Webex for delivering the online lectures. Student testing is delivered using a either CANVAS or ExamSoft. We believe this decision, consistent with best practices from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), will best protect our RUSVM community. While the news and virus itself can be disruptive to our everyday lives, our focus remains clear: we will continue to utilize on our breadth of experience to maintain academic continuity for our students and to keep our campus operations running. We are very fortunate that the strength of our online education capabilities enables us to be agile and adaptable, providing a well-orchestrated learning experience.
Our learning management system is built to fully support online education, and our faculty constantly update themselves on new technologies and learning modalities. In fact, RUSVM was recently awarded title of Apple Distinguished School for our dedication to providing a creative, active learning environment for our students. While we approach this changing public health situation with great confidence in our education abilities, we empathize with our students, faculty, staff and communities.
Certainly, no one is immune to the stresses of balancing life’s priorities or this significant change. We are here to answer questions, and to help guide and support our students every step of the way. Passion for our mission and unwavering commitment to our students’ health, safety and education journey are at the heart of what we do. We are grateful to have your trust and appreciate your patience and flexibility as we navigate this rapidly evolving situation.
Around the campus and in the Pathology section, we are making plans for necropsy classes and adjusting our safety protocols including social distancing and enhanced PPE, while still offering a diagnostic service once the campus reopens. More updates as well as details about our program can be found on our website: https://veterinary.rossu.edu/.
Corona Time at Belgrade University
Ivana Vucicevic, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Belgrade University
Since COVID -19 has disrupted academic year, cancelled theoretical and practical classes, as well as the exams, switching to online learning seemed like a great idea. It took about two weeks to choose a proper learning platform, complete technical preparations and to make a new schedule of lectures and practical teaching. We held the lectures using ZOOM platform. At the beginning more than 100 students attended it, so we held them in two terms enabling all students to attend. Later the number of student attendees was less than 100. We held practical classes in two terms at a time, so all students could attend it. Histopathology practical had theoretical part and presentation of images of microscopic slides with appropriate pathological changes of tissue.
When it comes to necropsy, we took detailed photos of several necropsies that we also displayed via ZOOM with an adequate theoretical background for each photo. Students were able to actively participate in lectures, as well as in practical classes. Throughout the lockdown, the students were able to contact us if they wanted consultation from either general or special pathology. Despite the great job that online classes did during this crisis no technology can ever replace the live lectures and the human to human contact and interaction. If students are allowed to return to college soon, we will hold several necropsy practical. As for the pathology exam, the students will certainly not be able to take it online, but we will prescribe the exact way of taking it after the University publishes more detailed instructions on measures in the coming period during next week.
Pedro Faísca, FMV-ULHT Portugal
In Portugal in my University (FMV-ULHT) we are at the moment giving only theoretical classes. Some of the necropsy were replaced by gross pathology images similar to the Gross Path Challenge of Bruce Williams.
We are however, now that the lockdown has finished, going to have necropsy classes with very small groups.
Coronavirus pandemic: where are the veterinary pathologists?
Lluis Luhan, University of Saragoza, Spain
The pandemic has changed our lives as never before. Since the lockdown the vast majority of Spanish faculties do not allow work at their post mortem rooms and only a handful of them carry on with the biopsy service. This situation will damage the proper training of new graduates but we cannot avoid it. Perhaps the worst is to realize that in Spain veterinary pathologists have been considered non-essential, likely because almost nobody knows what we do and why what we do is so important. This situation is -of course- also our fault and it needs to be amended in the future if we want to occupy the place we deserve. If there is a frontline for discovering emerging, re-emerging and neglected diseases, this is Pathology. If there is a place where clues to understand a new process can be found, this is Pathology. If there is a place to reach a final diagnosis, this is Pathology. Nowadays, the entire world is eager to have an effective vaccine against Covid-19 infection but industry repetitively forget to include proper Veterinary Pathology investigation in vaccine development and evaluation, favoring effectiveness over safety. For sure, if veterinary pathologists would be an essential part of SARS-CoV-2 vaccine development, the outcome would be safer and better.
Cutting Edge Pathology congress Torino, 2021
The Local Organising Committee and the Scientific Organising Committee
In these very challenging times, our first thoughts go to all individuals affected by COVID-19 and their beloved ones, as well as all people and health care providers that are fighting the current SARS-CoV-2 pandemic around the world.
In light of recent global and national developments, the ESTP, ESVP and ECVP, as well as their Scientific and Local Organising committees have made the difficult but sensible decision to postpone our joint Cutting Edge Pathology congress by one year, to the end of August / beginning of September 2021 in Torino, Italy.
We would like to ensure you of our joint efforts to keep the financial impact associated with this postponement to a minimum.
Please change or cancel any travel or hotel arrangements you may have already made. Many airlines are opting to waive change fees, so please do check if this is the case for your ticket.
We thank you for your understanding and we are looking forward to meeting you again in person in 2021, at our CEP congress in Torino, Italy. The exact dates will be announced shortly.
Obituary - Emeritus Professor Michael Day
Ken Smith, Royal Veterinary College, University of London
The passing on 10th May this year of Emeritus Professor Michael Day diminishes the global veterinary pathology community.
Much has been said of Michael’s astonishing contributions to the veterinary profession. At the time of his passing, he was Director of Pathology for Asia Veterinary Diagnostics, a diagnostic laboratory based in Hong Kong and Singapore that serves veterinarians across South East Asia; was Emeritus Professor of Veterinary Pathology at the University of Bristol; and was Adjunct Professor of Veterinary Pathology in the School of Veterinary and Life Sciences, Murdoch University (Western Australia).
Much of Michael’s professional career was spent at the Bristol Veterinary School, where he spent 27 years researching companion animal immune-mediated and infectious diseases, resulting in the publication of over 325 papers in the field of immunopathology as well as authorship of the textbooks Clinical Immunology of the Dog and Cat (in second edition) and Veterinary Immunology: Principles and Practice (in second edition). Michael was a Diplomate of the European College of Veterinary Pathology; a Fellow of the Australian Society for Microbiology, the Royal College of Pathologists and the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons; and Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Comparative Pathology.
Michael was so much more than a veterinary pathologist. One of his special gifts, and one of his great legacies, was to bridge the divide between veterinary pathology and clinical veterinary medicine. He was a past President of the British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA) and a member of the Executive Board of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA), as well as being Chairman of the WSAVA Vaccination Guidelines Group. He was a member of the Petplan Charitable Trust Scientific Committee; a member of the Board of the WSAVA AFSCAN Project (to enable sustainable companion animal veterinary care across Africa); a member of the Board of the Eastern European Regional Veterinary Congress; and a Trustee for the Mission Rabies Project.
Throughout his career Michael’s contributions were recognised by multiple accolades. He was the recipient of the BSAVA Amoroso Award for outstanding contribution to small animal studies (1999), the BSAVA Petsavers Award (2000, 2006 and 2007), the RCVS Trust’s G. Norman Hall Medal for outstanding research into animal diseases (2003), the Petplan Charitable Trust Scientific Award (2009), the Murdoch University Distinguished Alumnus Award (2015) and the FAVP Paatsama Lectureship (2016).
Capturing all the above achievements makes Michael seem remarkable. And that is true: he was remarkable in his professional achievements. Yet that is not what I remember most of all. What I remember most of all is someone of wry wit and humour; someone who had patience and time for everyone; and someone whose enthusiasm for teaching and research lighted a new generation of veterinary students and researchers, both undergraduate and postgraduate, throughout their careers. He was a beacon to me, and to many.
To end, some words from Shakespeare that capture a little of this amazing human being:
His life was gentle; and the elements
So mixed in him, that Nature might stand up
And say to all the world, this was a man.
Julius Caesar, Act Five, Scene 5
Our thoughts go out to Mary, to Michael’s children, and to all those closest to him.