Message from the President of ESP

Professor Peter Schirmacher

 Professor Peter SCHIRMACHER


Dear colleagues and members,

It is a great pleasure and also a tremendous obligation for me to take over the presidency of ESP from Aleš Ryška; I also want to thank again the selection committee and especially the members for the trust in me. I can assure you that I will do everything possible to support the flourishing of ESP.

The ESP is in great shape and well-positioned to tackle the many challenges and needs we are facing. Our finances are solid and managed with high competence and allow us to pursue the projects we have decided on. We have recovered well from the Corona crisis and have not only resumed the preceding activities, but also started new educational and structural activities since then. We are looking back to two extremely successful European Congresses of Pathology (ECP): in Basel (2022) and Dublin (2023) with very interesting programs, highly positive feedback, and record-breaking participants numbers. And within one year (2022) member numbers of ESP have risen by an unbelievable 22%! This proves three important aspects: ESP is needed and addresses the right questions, we are on the right track and the current status is a fantastic achievement. We cannot underestimate these unparalleled achievements so from my side a big thank you to all who have contributed to this success.

What is the agenda for my presidency?

First of all: continuity; the successful track and our long-term strategy will be followed and further developed. But in addition, the agenda is full, the needs and challenges are manyfold. Self-sufficient resting on the outlined success would inevitably result in future decline and we have to look ahead and actively pursue our goals and identify the challenges:

  • Pathology is facing many external challenges. Coronavirus, the economic crisis and the war in Ukraine have also affected the medical system and daily Pathology work. The ESP will do everything possible to address the resulting issues. In addition, many countries and Pathologies face shortage of qualified personnel and resources and are increasingly weighted down by administrative and regulatory burden. To take up these challenges, develop solutions, support and develop activities addressing these shortages will be necessary.
  • With ESP growing and Pathology becoming more and more interdisciplinary, its impact and outreach is increasing in many ways. We have to be present in clinical societies, guidelines and political decision making to secure the impact of Pathology in the future and this will take enormous efforts. ESP has become a global player in Pathology; specific contacts with other societies outside Europe, developing countries and attractiveness for Pathologists worldwide have become increasingly important. But our view should not be too far into the distance. While our activities are highly successful, we note significant differences in outreach, needs and response at the European level; to address these differences with a ‘closing the gaps programme will be high on the agenda.
  • Education and training at all levels is in the centre of ESP activities. Our Education Subcommittee has been a stronghold and new activities, such as the European Society of Pathology Academy (ESPA), webinars and recently Masterclass courses have been organised with great success. The European School of Pathology (EScoP) has been rejuvenated in a new setting and the Pathology Progress Test and Giordano Fellowship programme are thriving. Finally, a new Scholarship has been launched in 2023: the ESP Scholarship for the European Master Molecular Pathology. These activities will grow significantly, and the new Education Subcommittee under the lead of Catarina Eloy will come up with new concepts to chart novel territories.
  • Pathology is a leading science-driven medical discipline, we define disease and diagnostics, and our translation times are the shortest in medicine. Thus, scientific and translation activities are essential for our innovative potential and even our diagnostic future; neglect of research would deprive us of our unique potentials. Therefore, I will personally emphasize to further increase the impact of research in our activities, working groups and training as well as congress activities. Especially molecular and computational pathology are drivers of this development, and you will see significant strategic activities in these areas.

These goals should not only be shaped by the Executive Committee and the President but at all levels and by all members. We had a highly successful Strategy Meeting in 2019 and the results of the strategy-finding process have contributed to our success and are still followed. Nevertheless, the world, Pathology and ESP have changed in the last four years and are not the same anymore. Therefore, in 2024 we will see a significant update of our strategy process, and this will not only involve the different committees of the ESP but our membership at large. Already at this point I urge you as ESP members to stay tuned and contribute your ideas to actively shape your future ESP.

These many activities need competent and reactive support. Our administrative team, led by Raed Al Dieri, our Director General, is doing a fantastic job and has grown significantly with the challenges such as education and training (Christos Poulios) and financial management (Michelle Mi) just to name a few. Many more aspects, such as our working groups, quality assurance as well as regulatory, guideline and outreach activities require competent support. By this we have outgrown the current office site at Rue Bara, and we will move to an already selected, new and better-equipped location in Brussels.

These are in brief only some of the concepts and projects we will tackle and realise in the upcoming years. The most important message is: it is all for providing the best service and optimal perspective for you, our members, and Pathology, as our fantastic and beloved profession. Despite all crisis and challenges we are looking towards a bright future, and it is up to us to realise our potentials. Let us all work together to shape the ESP and Pathology of the future!

Best wishes,
Peter Schirmacher

Virchows Archiv

Virchows Archiv

Virchows Archiv (European Journal of Pathology) is the Official Journal of the ESP.

The Journal is edited by an editorial committee composed of an Editor in Chief, who is appointed by the Executive Committee, and Associate Editors, who are selected by the Editor in Chief.

The mission of the Journal is to advance the scientific basis of human pathology by the publication of high quality research, including molecular and translational studies, and thereby contribute to patient care.


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