To the Members of the Society for Cardiovascular Pathology,
As the leaves turn crimson and hit the ground (at least here in New England), and winter looms large on the horizon, I hope that this finds you well, and enjoying your new academic year. Since the USCAP meeting in San Diego last March, the SCVP has again been quite active.
SCVP has a total membership of 167 (from 163 last year and continuing our upward trend since 2010); there are 121 members from the US, with 46 international members representing Canada, Europe, Asia, Africa, South America, and Australia.
Cardiovascular Pathology (the Society Journal) is thriving as we enter the second full year of Max Buja's editorial stewardship. The journal continues to post impact factor scores well above the 2 threshold: 2.066 for 2011, 2.352 for 2012, and 2.336 for 2013; to put these into context, they are very close to the impact factors for Experimental and Molecular Pathology, Archives of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Clinical Cardiology, and the Journal of Cardiology. For 2013, there was an overall acceptance rate of about 25% from 222 total submissions, including 31% for original articles (45 of 144 submissions), 41% for reviews (7 out of 17 submitted), and 15% for case reports and images (10 out of 66). Among several new wrinkles, the journal has started a series of manuscripts that highlight innovations in cardiovascular medicine (including papers from Chuck Murry and Elena Aikawa), and has also published on-line the abstracts for the International Society for Applied Cardiovascular Biology (ISACB) meetings, building bridges with our colleagues in related Societies.
The AECVP and SCVP acute cellular rejection tutorial has been translated into Italian, Japanese, French, Russian, and most recently Spanish (kudos to Marc Halushka, and the other content creators and translators). The hit rates remain quite robust in all languages (1726 page views in English), and we have presented educational posters at USCAP and ISHLT on the utility and efficacy of the site based on user feed-back.
In the past year, the AECVP and SCVP also added an antibody-mediated rejection tutorial to the website; since its inception, there have been over 125 independent page views!
Talking about the SCVP website (scvp.net), the page views from August 2013-August 2014 have totaled 24,583, up from 18,473 in the same time period last year! Congratulations to our Web Master Marc Halushka; we're clearly building a following on the web.
The review summarizing the AECVP/SCVP consensus statement on the "Diagnostic Use of Endomyocardial Biopsy" was published in the July Virchows Archiv (congratulations Drs. Thiene, Bruneval, Veinot, and Leone).
Jim Stone and Patrick Bruneval have successfully herded the various SCVP "cats" to generate a superb consensus document on inflammatory diseases of the aorta, which will shortly be heading off for publication. Notably, Elsevier has generously agreed (at the discretion of the Editor) that SCVP can publish this as open access in Cardiovascular Pathology at no charge to the Society.
Jim Stone (Program Chair) has planned a terrific set of speakers for the Saturday Educational Session and Sunday Companion meeting at USCAP in Boston:
The Saturday Evening Session entitled "Investigations into Familial Cardiomyopathy: Perspectives from Pathology, Cardiology, and the Family" will take place in the historic Ether Dome at Massachusetts General Hospital. The session will involve a discussion of selected genetic disorders; each will begin with the presentation of an illustrative case where the pathologic evaluation led to a genetic analysis, that in turn, helped other family members. In addition to brief talks by cardiologists and cardiac pathologists, patients and families will be involved to discuss how diagnoses have affected their lives. There are also plans to engage a moderator from the media.
The Sunday SCVP Companion Meeting at USCAP is titled: "Recent Developments in the Diagnosis and Treatment of Amyloidosis", with the following speakers:
- Amyloidosis: Typing and Nomenclature: Joe Maleszewski
- Evolving Therapies for Transthyretin Amyloidosis: John Berk
- Outcomes from an International Registry of Cardiac Transplantation for Light Chain and Transthyretin Amyloidosis: Marc Semigran
The session will also have short talks from Young Investigators, and we will also be feting our 2015 Distinguished Achievement Award recipient, Dr. Michael Fishbein, who will speak about: "Arteriosclerosis: Facts and Fancy" (Congratulations Mike!).
The SCVP is on a solid financial footing, with a positive cash flow (~$3000) for the first time in three years. The total cash assets of the Society as of 12/31/13 were $74,065-up from $70,952 in 2012. The majority of the annual income derives from dues ($25,600), although there has also been a continuing upward trend of income from Elsevier royalties ($2416 in 2012, and $3452 in 2013). The major expense item on the ledger sheet is the cumulative cost of subscriptions to Cardiovascular Pathology, which rises roughly 5-10% per year and which comes out of the dues; in 2012 it was $18,525, and in 2013 was $19,272.
To insure financial stability, the SCVP Board (Officers, Councilors, and Committee Chairs) voted in 2013 to increase the membership dues to a $200/year (with no cost differential for international members), effective January 1, 2014. Trainee memberships ($65/year) and Emeritus memberships ($113/year) will remain unchanged. This was the first increase in dues in over 10 years.
. In support of this increase, it is important to note the benefits that SCVP provides to its members. In addition to the Journal and the annual SCVP companion meeting at USCAP, membership in SCVP also provides:
- Saturday educational session at USCAP with an SCVP social hour
- Access to the Members Only SecondSlide site where interesting cases are shown and shared
- Participation in cardiovascular pathology consensus documents
- Opportunity to meet and interact with global leaders in cardiovascular pathology
- Annual awards banquet
- Medicolegal matchmaking service
Voluntary contributions to the SCVP Educational Fund amount to less than $500 per year. Since education for trainees, general pathologists, and clinician practitioners has been identified as the primary role for SCVP (see below), this fund clearly needs a boost to achieve our overall goals. Consequently, the SCVP Executive Committee voted overwhelmingly to provide different membership categories within SCVP at three price points (Gold, Silver, and Bronze), with the additional money to be used for the SCVP Educational Fund. All of the membership categories would have the same benefits, and Bronze would represent the standard membership dues ($200/year). However, members who pay a higher differential (e.g., $300/year in silver or $400/year in gold) will be acknowledged on the website and in the SCVP newsletter. Donors in these categories will also receive cardiovascular-themed ties or scarfs as a special acknowledgement.
Through the summer of 2014, the SCVP held $57,000 in money market accounts and/or CD's that cumulatively returned less that $10 a year in interest. Therefore, after a thorough discussion and market analysis with Wells Financial Partners (www.wellsfinancialpartners.com), the SCVP Executive Committee unanimously voted to invest $25,000 of SCVP reserves in a conservative mutual fund at a ratio of 2:1 equities:bonds; this was done in September. The remaining $32,000 of non-liquid assets remains in Ameriprise Money Market accounts, and the SCVP holds approximately $16,000 in liquid checking and savings accounts.
SCVP has a large number of strengths; indeed, ours is a pathology specialty with extremely high clinical relevance, and we all enjoy robust long-standing affiliations with industry groups, device and therapeutics innovators, and medicolegal and forensic constituencies. All these groups need cardiovascular pathologists-not only for our diagnostic acumen, but also for our ability to educate and enlighten.
Recruiting to the specialty requires financial input. Even large Departments of Pathology cannot always support a dedicated Cardiovascular Fellow for advanced training. Unfortunately, gifts from industrial supporters-who are the beneficiaries of advanced cardiovascular training-are also neither large nor consistent (roughly $5000 in each of 2010 and 2011, but nothing in 2012 or 2013). Consequently, in an effort to leverage the relationships that many of the SCVP membership have with industry and publishing, the Finance Committee (chaired by Jagdish Butany) has developed an "ask" letter that can be submitted to our various deep-pocketed contacts (see attached document). Donations will be used to support the generation of an annual Cardiovascular Fellowship to be used at the institution of the recipient's choosing. Please take a look at this letter and strongly consider sending it to your industrial and/or publishing contacts.
ecruiting to our specialty is also hampered by the perception that there's not much "new" in CV pathology. It's a specialty which can only rarely support a full-time FTE; most of us do something else in parallel with our CV pathology job. Consequently, it's increasingly difficult to attract younger pathologists and investigators lured by the siren song of neoplasia or other areas of pathology. I think that we can help change that perception. There are three areas in particular that I think can become the equivalent of the "endomyocardial biopsy" in driving new enthusiasm (and recruits) for cardiovascular pathology.
molecular biology of cardiovascular disease
regenerative technologies in heart disease
innovative imaging modalities (including molecular imaging) in myocardium and vessels
SCVP should lead the way by educating ourselves in these areas, reaching out to the geneticists, radiologists, stem cell biologists, and engineers for collaborations, and encouraging up-and-coming residents and fellows to get additional training in these areas.
The SCVP Executive Committee identified Education as the most important primary role for the Society. This involves educating Residents, Fellows, and fellow anatomic Pathologists in the fundamentals of the specialty. It also involves building stronger ties with other pathology specialties with overlapping interests. Thus, SCVP is building enhanced relationships with the Pulmonary and Pediatric Pathology societies, with the cardiologists (ACC), and with the forensic pathologists (NAME), with the goal of developing combined sessions, as well as specific educational presentations where SCVP members will provide content. As a result, we will also raise the profile of the Society.
In March, Barbara Sampson will take the reins as President of SCVP (and I will become Past President and Membership Chair); the SCVP will be in superb hands under her new leadership. At the same time, Joe Maleszewski and Vidhya Nair will rotate off as Councilors after their three-year stint, and John Veinot will cede his role on the Membership Committee and as Past President. We will miss them all.but will also find ways to keep them integrally involved. The Nominating Committee has put forward Cristina Basso as the Vice President/President-Elect, and Robert Padera and Jon Eisenstat as the new Councilors, and all have enthusiastically accepted their nominations. We will formally vote on these positions at the SCVP Sunday Business Meeting next March.
Each year at our annual meeting, there is a flurry of activity, enthusiasm, and best intentions as we focus (at least for a week-end) on the Society, and the opportunities that we have through the combined efforts and critical mass of such a dedicated group of talented pathologists. Much of this energy carries forward throughout the year with the consensus documents and CV tutorials that SCVP members help to generate; these bring rigor, uniformity, and reproducibility to cardiovascular diagnoses, and also provide the Society with national and international visibility and relevance. The Journal is also developing an expanding readership, with high quality manuscripts from leaders in the cardiovascular community increasingly being sent to Cardiovascular Pathology as a first stop, and not the "fall-back" option.
But.As the annual meeting recedes into the past, and as we all get back to our regular jobs and activities, SCVP matters often get put on a back burner. Grants, teaching, research, administration, writing---all the other things in our academic lives-vie for our attentions. This is not to advocate that SCVP should top our daily to-do lists, but difficult issues such as member recruitment, strategic partnerships with other Societies, and garnering stable industrial support for our academic mission require ongoing attention..
So...I invite you to participate in the discussion; this is a dialogue that's important to have for the health of our specialty.
With very best wishes, and I look forward to working with you.
Richard N. Mitchell, MD, PhD
President, Society for Cardiovascular Pathology