When Worlds Collide or What’s Music Got to Do With It?

This blog is for everyone who is passionate about Cytology but knows that our work doesn’t entirely define us. This blog is also confessional: I’m revealing something about myself that many of you don’t know. During high school and college, I dreamed of a career as a classical pianist. My parents arranged for piano lessons for me and my sister when we were young, and from my earliest years I loved playing. I performed extensively and loved it (mostly), but when push came to shove I realized that the life of a musician was not for me. Even though I ended up studying medicine, I never stopped playing. And to this day one of my favorite things is getting together with friends for an evening of chamber music.

Sometimes, my two worlds collide in surprising and delightful ways. In May 2013, I was invited to play a short program of music for piano four hands at the International Congress of Cytology in Paris. My partner in crime was Dr. Felipe Andreiuolo, a Brazilian pathologist living in Paris and a superb musician. An evening I’ll never forget!

eds-hands-1024x683

And now, surprisingly, my two worlds are colliding again: a few months ago I was at a retreat with the ASC Foundation, the purpose of which was to brainstorm about fundraising. During the retreat, to facilitate bonding among the participants, we all shared something personal about ourselves. Of course, I brought up my passion for music. I mentioned to the group that some live recordings of concert performances from my college and medical school years had been recently transferred from cassette to CD format to preserve them from extinction. Aha – a fundraising idea was born!

If you enjoy classical music, and if you’re at all curious to see this other side of me, you can own a copy of the CD by simply making a $50 (or greater) contribution to the ASC Foundation. Your contribution will go towards furthering the mission of the ASC – its commitment to education, research, and advocacy. The CD includes live performances of the Chopin Ballade in g minor and a couple of pieces by Brahms (from Op.118), all from my college years, as well as Jeux d’eaux by Ravel, recorded when I was a medical student.

A big thank you, in advance, for considering making a contribution to our very precious and worthy ASC!

Advertisements

Cytology Shark Tank Finalists Announced!

Cytology Shark Tank – ASC Young Investigator Grant
Saturday, November 11, 2017
5:30 PM – 6:30 PM

I’m pleased to announce that the members of the Research and Current Concepts Committee have reviewed 12 highly meritorious proposals and selected the three finalists for the ASC Cytology Shark Tank:


Eric Huang, MD, PhD
University of California, Davis
Sacramento, CA

Proposal: Diagnostic Utility of Raman Spectroscopy in Differentiating Thyroid Nodules and Identifying Thyroid Cancers


Sinchita Roy-Chowdhuri, MD, PhD
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Houston, TX

Proposal: Mutational Profiling of Centrifuged Supernatant Fluid from Fine Needle Aspiration of Thyroid Nodules


Vivian Weiss, MD, PhD
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Nashville, TN

Proposal: The Use of Next Generation Sequencing to Identify the Molecular and Immunologic Mechanisms of Thyroid Cancer Invasion to Develop Improved FNA-based Testing


With 3 minutes for their pitch, followed by questions from four judges (“sharks”), each finalist will do his/her best to convince the judges (and the audience) that their proposal is the most deserving of the $50,000 grant.

The Cytology Shark Tank Aquarist (moderator) for the evening will be Dr. Liron Pantanowitz (University of Pittsburgh), and the Sharks (judges) will be Dr. Douglas Clark (University of New Mexico), Dr. Martha Pitman (Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School), Dr. Celeste Powers (Virginia Commonwealth University), and Dr. David Rimm (Yale University).

Mark your calendars now (Saturday, November 11 at 5:30 PM). Be there to support and encourage our three finalists as they dive into the ASC Cytology Shark Tank!

Cytology Shark Tank Comes to Phoenix!

As many of you know, one of my goals as your President is to encourage and support our talented young members who want to do research in cytology. This is a crucial investment: they’re the ones who will lead the profession forward, finding new applications for the cytologic method. Along with education and advocacy, research is one of the key missions of our Society.

In this regard, I’m delighted to announce that we’ve received 12 proposals for the $50,000 research grant that will be awarded at the Annual Scientific Meeting in Phoenix this November. This first-ever “Cytology Shark Tank” event, modeled after competitions like “Project Runway” and “Shark Tank,” will feature three finalists. The members of the ASC Research and Current Concepts Committee, chaired by Dr. Liron Pantanowitz (University of Pittsburgh), are currently reviewing the proposals to select the three finalists, who will make their pitch to a panel of judges on Saturday, November 11th from 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm. The judges will be Drs. Douglas Clark (University of New Mexico), Martha Pitman (Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School), Celeste Powers (Virginia Commonwealth University), and David Rimm (Yale University).

The 12 proposals have come from across the United States: California, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Texas.

The three finalists will be offered an additional benefit: a weekend workshop in Chicago a month or so prior to the Phoenix meeting. The workshop will be coordinated by Ms. Heather Barnes, whom some of you saw at the New Orleans meeting last year. She gave a delightful and instructive presentation entitled “Taking a Stand: Using Improv to Teach Science and Medicine.” Ms. Barnes will spend a day with the finalists, helping them develop their presentation skills using improv methods – skills like responding in the moment, connecting with others, and managing questions. For all three finalists, this will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and they will leave Chicago with a toolkit of resources for further professional development.

I look forward to seeing many of you at the first-ever “Cytology Shark Tank” event in Phoenix in November. Come and support our three finalists and help shape the future of our profession!

The Search for New Knowledge

cibas_2012_headshot_color

Edmund S. Cibas, MD

It’s a privilege to serve as your President: The ASC has been MY Society since my fellowship year (don’t ask how long ago…), and I’m eager to do my best for all of you. One of my goals is to encourage and support our talented young members who want to do research in cytology. This is a crucial investment:  they’re the ones who will lead the profession forward, finding new applications for the cytologic method.

I’m grateful to the ASC Foundation for sharing this goal and offering a $50,000 Young Investigator Grant for a research proposal related to cytopathology. I hope you’ve all seen the announcement that was sent out via the ASC Listserv. It’s also highlighted on the ASC website. To qualify, you have to be an ASC member and no more than 10 years out from training. Cytotechnologists and cytopathologists are eligible. (See link above for detailed eligibility requirements and application information.) The deadline for applications is April 15th.

If you qualify, I encourage you to apply! If not, please encourage your eligible colleagues to sharktank_300submit a proposal. The proposals will be carefully reviewed and three finalists will be selected by the Research and Current Concepts Committee.  To add to the excitement, the winner will be selected at a live event during our Annual Scientific Meeting in Phoenix this November – the new “Cytology Shark Tank” event, modeled after competitions like “Project Runway” and “Shark Tank,” with the finalists presenting their proposals to a panel of judges.

The finalists will be offered an additional benefit: a weekend workshop in Chicago prior to the Annual Scientific Meeting. The workshop will be coordinated by Heather Barnes, of the Museum of Science and Industry and Second City, whom some of you saw at the New Orleans meeting. She gave a delightful and instructive presentation entitled “Taking a Stand: Using Improv to Teach Science and Medicine.” Ms. Barnes will spend a day with the finalists, helping them develop their presentation skills using improv methods – skills like responding in the moment, connecting with others, and managing questions.  Are you shy, afraid of improv and workshops like this in general? Have no fear!  Ms. Barnes’ workshop will be conducted in a supportive environment. She’s designed exercises that help participants develop increased confidence presenting in front of large scale audiences.  For all three finalists, this will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and they will leave Chicago with a toolkit of resources to use for their own further development.

Do you have questions about the proposal requirements and expectations? You can email them to: sharktank@cytopathology.org.

Spread the word, and please come to the first-ever “Cytology Shark Tank” event to cheer on our three finalists!

An Opportunity for You to Tell Your Favorite Cytology Story

An Opportunity for You to Tell Your Favorite Cytology Story
Guest Blogger – Rosemary Tambouret, MD
Co-Chair, Public Affairs and Advocacy Committee

We need your help in spreading the word on the value of cytology to the general public and Tambouret Phototo our colleagues in other medical specialties; therefore, we have begun a new program that we hope you will embrace enthusiastically.

In January 2016, each ASC Committee was tasked by Dr. Wojick with selection of an initiative to focus on during the year. Since one of the Public Affairs and Advocacy Committee charges is to provide information on cytopathology to the public, we decided to ask each committee member to write an essay on some aspect of cytology important to them. On reflection, we thought why not open this creative challenge to all ASC members. And to really get your creative side revved up, in lieu of an essay, submit a poem, a slide show or a short video about you and cytology. A haiku verse might work for you, or how about a short animated movie? The piece can be serious or light hearted, you be the judge. Here are some topics just to get you thinking:

• Experiences with even an oblique tie to cytology
• How being a cytologist has expanded your world
• Interactions with patients and/or clinicians linked your work as a cytologist
• Episodes in the FNA clinic
• How your career in cytology began and developed.

Here is an example of a Haiku verse:

Switch on the light bulb
Swirl the knob to focus so the
Cells can tell their story

We will publish the works in print or on the Web site for professionals and for the general public. Wouldn’t it be great to do a Google search on cytology and have your creation pop up?

We urge you to submit your creations by August 15, 2016, using the button below.
submit your creation button

All entries will be displayed on the ASC Web site and the best will be honored at the Annual Scientific Meeting in New Orleans. The very best will be awarded 1st, 2nd and 3rd place prizes.

We look forward to your creation!

Value adds. . .

Kristin Atkins, MD, Scientific Program Committee, ChairAtkins, Kristen 6-2015
Guest Blogger

Value adds positive outcome to an experience. Part of my personal mission of being Scientific Program Committee, Chair is to recognize what we do as individuals for patients, coworkers, and trainees and add components to the Annual Scientific Meeting that provide venues to make all of these aspects even better.  The 2016 Meeting is being constructed and aims to:

  1. Provide hands- on training and group discussions to encourage diagnosis at a high standard,
  2. Give individuals confidence in their abilities, and
  3. Provide opportunities that allow for reflection and camaraderie.

The majority of us still love the beauty of cells and you could see the joy in morphology last year at the microscopic workshops and virtual microscopy sessions.  They were filled to capacity and ended with attendees still viewing slides.   This year, we have increased the number of sessions and the time in each workshop to accommodate this popular learning venue.  The workshops on communication and leadership received the highest scores last year and we are bringing them back and adding to them this year.  We are sprinkling these opportunities throughout the meeting so that more members can participate.  We are adding mini workshops to some of the evenings.  These are one-hour discussions on focused topics that will be an after-dinner treat.

In 1999, I attended my first ASC Meeting by myself as a resident.  At that time, there were not that many trainees and, to tell you the truth, it was a rather lonely experience.  This is in stark contrast to one year later when I attended under the wing of my fellowship director.  I met so many cytotechnologists and cytopathologists in Kansas City.  What was apparent was the mutual appreciation between technologists and pathologists and the support given to me to get involved in the Society.  The difference in the two meetings was impactful.  Last year we strived to provide more venues for trainees by creating Trainee Enrichments sessions.  These free sessions covered a variety of topics given in a casual setting so that trainees could connect with ASC members and each other.  My favorite evaluation from these stated, “The trainee enrichment sessions gave me a home.  The faculty was so kind and encouraging.  Best part of the meeting.”  We value the young members and want to encourage more attendance.  For our cytotechnology students and cytotechnologists in their first 3 years, we are also offering a free session of hands-on rapid onsite adequacy practice.

I was listening to an actress give tips to an acting class and she kept saying, “It’s not about you, it’s about your audience.”  I think this has to be the mantra of the Scientific Program Committee.

  • What do our attendees need?
  • What venues work best?
  • What will encourage more participation
  • What will bring value to their meeting experience?

One focus this year is to increase the number of sessions included in the general registration fee.  Every session has been scrutinized as to whether it is broadly informational and therefore pertinent to the entire cohort (and; therefore, rolled into the registration cost).  We have more panel updates on nomenclature and practice such as with head and neck squamous cell carcinomas and breast cytology, as well as free sessions on FNA technique and practical molecular information all in rooms that can accommodate large audiences.  We sometimes have multiple free offerings so that members may choose which topic is most relevant to their practice.  Our guest speakers will cover topics ranging from genomics and personalized medicine to social health issues.

There are small break out sessions aimed to highlight us as individuals and what value we each bring to our profession (how nice to focus on what you are doing right and what you are doing well).

Of course, one of the nicest parts about the ASC Annual Scientific Meeting is connecting with friends and expanding our cytology family.  We are expanding the time allocated for the Exhibitor Hall and working with the ASC Foundation for the showing of a movie on the HPV epidemic.  The Hyatt Regency Hotel in New Orleans will be the headquarters is well thought out and the meeting rooms, exhibit hall, and meeting rooms are all close together making for extremely easy navigation.

I would like to highlight the value I am experiencing from the Scientific Program Committee to bring an incredible Meeting to you this November.  This group has already put in over 100 volunteer hours and they are approaching this Meeting with such excitement and thoughtfulness.  My job is simple as they are all invested in bringing you value in 2016 in hopes that you leave eager for the 2017 Meeting!

Message from the ASC President – Eva M. Wojcik, MD

It seems like it was just yesterday that we met in Chicago for our Annual Scientific

Eva M. Wojcik, MD, MIAC

Eva M. Wojcik, MD, MIAC

Meeting, and it’s already February. Right after the Meeting the holiday season arrived with parties, potlucks, preparations, gift wrapping and everywhere work/projects were put slightly aside. In January, we all had to pay for the holiday season and catch up with our work. Although it seems illogical to do this, we all know we will repeat this cycle this year and all the years to come!

However, this does not mean that no work has been done at ASC. Holidays or no holidays, the regular Society’s activities are taking place. Since the last Annual Scientific Meeting, over 30 calls/committee meetings took place! I am in constant contact with our ASC National Office, having scheduled weekly calls with Beth Jenkins, our Executive Director. To ensure a smooth transition of the presidency, the Officers are equally involved. We have monthly calls to discuss and review all pertinent issues and events. For many committees, this has almost been the busiest time of the year. The best example is the Scientific Program Committee that has already met formally or informally five times.

In Chicago, I promised to “keep you in the loop.” We will use this blog to be a platform informing you throughout the year about the Society’s activities. Starting next month, we will have regular updates from main committees with the first report from the Scientific Program Committee. As you may remember, each committee was charged with identifying a specific project that the Committee will be concentrating on this year. Many exciting initiatives have been identified and a steady progress is being achieved and will be shared with the entire membership on this platform. Also, I asked all committee members to provide questions for our very successful Progressive Evaluation of Competency (PEC) program. I am happy to report that over 160 new questions have been submitted to the PEC Committee for their review and approval.

I am also happy to report the ASC-ASCP Workgroup’s flagship project – Advanced Cytopathology Education (ACE) course preparation is practically finalized. The program is exciting and will encourage participation of many local cytotechnologists, pathologists, residents, fellows and students. The two-day cytopathology education program speakers will be almost all of our well-known prominent ASC Executive Board members making the meeting more attractive.

Coming back to our Annual Scientific Meeting in New Orleans, a number of new exciting initiatives will take place. In the next blog, the Chair of the Scientific Program Committee, Dr. Kristin Atkins, will share the Committee’s plans or New Orleans to motivate you to attend this event.  One of my Presidency’s initiative and theme is concentrating on “What is Your Value?” The 2016 Annual Scientific Meeting will be a platform for you to share your story, your data and your research. All of us have a “story”: How did we improve our processes? How did we become more visible in our department, institution or hospital? How does our presence and our skills directly improve patient outcome? So, come to New Orleans and TELL US YOUR STORY!

Please, stay tuned for more information.