A Brief History of the Society for Cardiovascular Pathology.
Before there was a SCVP
Interest in the pathologic anatomy of the heart and cardiovascular system dates back 100's of years. Many of those engaged in activities we would now consider "cardiovascular pathology" were not formally trained and often worked in isolation, sometimes within cardiology or cardiovascular surgery departments. Several developments during and following the mid-19th century fueled the development of the specialty and its contributions to (1) understanding the mechanisms or atherosclerosis and its complications, (2) the emergence of cardiovascular surgery as well as development and translation of interventional diagnostic and therapeutic procedures and devices, (3) understanding the impact of genetic abnormalities in cardiovascular disease, and (4) the proliferation of cardiac transplant programs with the need for expert interpretation of myocardial biopsies and other transplant-related pathology and their importance in effectively managing transplant patients. Many individuals working in cardiovascular pathology were aware of others with similar interests but no formal mechanism for sharing information - and comradery – existed until the existence of the SCVP.
Founding of the SCVP
The Society for Cardiovascular Pathology (SCVP) was founded in Toronto on March 12, 1985 when 31 individuals with an interest in the topic laid the groundwork for establishing a professional organization and community. The goals of this organization were (and continue to be) to:
The initial steering committee consisted of:
Dues were $25.00.
Growth of the SCVP
As the fledgling society became more organized, it began to reach out to other organizations for recognition and the possibility of collaboration in their scientific meeting programs. Although the Society held symposia in Washington, D.C. in 1985 (The Diagnosis of Myocarditis by Endomyocardial Biopsy) and New Orleans in 1986 (The Post-Surgical Heart), it's first "official" recognition and durable association was by the IAP/USCAP with the first Companion Meeting occurring on March 8, 1987 at The Palmer House in Chicago:
By recognizing cardiovascular pathology along with its other subspecialty groups, the USCAP became the ideal home for SCVP meetings. It provided a format for cardiovascular pathologists to share ideas among themselves and with pathologists in other specialties as well as teach cardiovascular pathology to colleagues and trainees. Many cardiovascular pathologists also had interests in other areas of pathology and regularly attended the USCAP meetings.
Soon to follow was the first IAP/USCAP Evening Special Conference in Washington, D.C. on March 2, 1988. While not an "official" Society function, the Specialty Conference speakers have largely consisted of Society members.
To facilitate communication between SCVP members, a newsletter, "CorNotes", was established and the first issue published in October 1986. The newsletter contained brief scientific articles, information of interest to SCVP members (meetings, etc.), editorials, and various forms of informal communication (difficult cases, job ads, cardiovascular cartoons!).
SCVP creates a new journal
Unrelated to SCVP, the American Journal of Cardiovascular Pathology under the editorship of Colin Bloor was published from 1986 - 1992. This journal, though not successful in itself, ignited a real desire to have a journal sponsored by the SCVP. In October, 1990, SCVP President Jay Fallon signed a contract with Elsevier for the Society journal, Cardiovascular Pathology, first published in January-March 1992. The journal has achieved great success, largely due to the outstanding efforts of its editors in publishing timely scientific articles as well as important position papers in cardiovascular pathology diagnoses.
The SCVP website, http://scvp.net, was started in 1999.
Educational activities of SCVP
Since its inception, SCVP has sponsored numerous educational sessions and workshops, some in collaboration with other organizations including the American Heart Association, American College of Cardiology, American Society for Investigative Pathology, International Society for Applied Cardiovascular Biology, and Society for Biomaterials. One of the longest standing and most fruitful collaborations has been with the Association for European Cardiovascular Pathology (AECVP), largely brought about by the efforts of Gaetano Thiene.
As with all rapidly evolving disciplines, the future of cardiovascular pathology and the SCVP lies with its young members. To recognize the work of trainees, the Young Investigator Award was first presented in 1989 to Kandice Kottke-Marchant.
The annual SCVP Distinguished Achievement Award recognizes leadership in the field of cardiovascular pathology and is presented at the annual SCVP Award Banquet, the Sunday night of the USCAP meeting. Recipients are invited to give a lecture during the Sunday morning SCVP Companion Meeting and receive their award, preceded by a "gentle" roast, at the banquet. The first awardees in 1987 were icons in the field of cardiovascular pathology, Drs. Jesse Edwards, Reginald Hudson, Maurice Lev and Robert Wissler.
The Future of SCVP
Although small in comparison to other pathology subspecialties, SCVP has grown significantly since the early days and has met with great success in establishing cardiovascular pathology as an important specialty in furthering clinical and research knowledge with collaboration and collegiality among its members. Looking forward, SCVP members and cardiovascular pathology more broadly are well positioned to identify and clarify the genetic basis for cardiovascular diseases, define biomarkers for early and precision diagnosis, and play an important role in the development, use and evolution of cardiovascular therapies and devices.
My thanks to Dr. Fred Schoen for his review and for providing insight into the "early days" of the Society.
Gayle L. Winters, MD