WASPaLM - World Association of Societies of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

  • Certificate of a Gordon Signy Fellow
  • The World Pathology Foundation Logo
  • Fellowship Experiences
  • 2017-8 Gordon Signy Fellow Dr. Ademola Adewoyin will study hematology at Duke University in the US
  • 2017-8 Gordon Signy Fellow Dr. Pedro Henrique Pinto to study hematology at Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria in Madrid

About the World Pathology Foundation and The Gordon Signy Fellowship


     The history of WASP, edited by McMenemy and Hendry, first published in 1983, initially refers to the World Pathology Foundation in the minutes of the Bureau Meeting, September 12th, 1970, in Atlanta. At this meeting discussions held in Vancouver concerning its formation, were confirmed.

     The World Pathology Foundation was origionaly chartered in 1972, in Berne, Switzerland. At that time the World Association of Societies in Pathology or WASP, as it was then known, decided that a body, completely separate and independent of the WASP was required. The purpose of this new body was stated thus: " The objectives of the Foundation are scientific, educational and charitable; to promote public safety and public health by fostering the development of good standards in anatomic and clinical pathology, especially in the developing countries." To further these aims, the World Pathology Foundation will, among others, foster research, education and application of these medical sciences by organizing conferences, encouraging interchange of pathology information among nations and initiating and prompting publications in pathology.  There is no record of why Switzerland was chosen as its initial home; the reason for the interval of two years before the WPF was accepted as a charity by the Swiss Authorities remains undocumented.

     Over the years the relationship between WASPaLM and the WPF has undergone some changes.  Original discussions concerning the establishment of the WPF, dating back to a meeting in Montreal in 1969, initially established its independence from the WASPaLM.  The original Charter, in Berne, Switzerland in 1972,  was amended by the Trustees following a meeting in Munich on September 13,1972.  Additional amendments to the original Charter were agreed by the Trustees of the WPF in Vancouver in 1991 and again in Munich in 2010.  At the Bureau meeting in Cyprus in 2012, the WPF Trustees agreed to recharter the World Pathology Foundation in the United States as a charitable organization in that country.  This was completed on December 12, 2012 under new Articles of Incorporation.  The assets of the Swiss Foundation were transferred to the US Foundation and the Swiss Foundation was formally dissolved on October 12, 2014.

     The foundation is administered by a Board of Trustees. The current members of the Board are:

Dr. Roberto Verna, Italy

First Vice-President
Dr. Looi Lai-Meng, Malaysia

Second Vice-President
Dr. Roberto Ruiz Arenas, Mexico

Dr. Henry Travers, United States

Dr. Catherine Hayward, Canada
Dr. Walter Alallon, Uruguay
Dr. Francesco Curcio, Italy

    The funds of the Foundation have been derived mainly from donations and an auction held at every World Congress of Pathology.  More funds are urgently needed to support the work of the World Association, especially in the task of representing pathology in international bodies. Donations from individuals, corporations and societies are solicited and should be sent to the Treasurer at the address below:

Secretary-Treasurer, World Pathology Foundation
2601 S Minnesota Avenue
Suite 105-175
Sioux Falls South Dakota 57105
Tel: +1-605-331-5061
E-mail: wpfinfo@midco.net

     The Foundation has provided visiting lectureships to enable senior pathologists to travel to developing countries in an advisory capacity and visit some of their hospitals and laboratories. Dr. Evaldo Melo was the first recipient of such a post followed by Dr. Barrie Murphy who reported, on behalf of the Foundation, from Zaire.


       Dr. Gordon Signy

     Shortly after its founding, the World Pathology Foundation established Gordon Signy Foreign Fellowships in honor of Gordon Signy, a notable supporter of the World Association, who died in London in 1972. He qualified in Medicine at Guy's Hospital, London, in 1926 and became a clinical pathologist in the widest sense, his professional career spanning nearly a half century of astounding advances in all branches of pathology, anatomic and clinical. Over 28 years he established and developing the prestigious (British) Journal of Clinical Pathology. He helped to establish and was a Foundation Vice-President of the Royal College of Pathologists. He was involved in research into hospital sepsis, rheumatic fever, and many other scientific fields. An expert fencer, he was the non-playing captain of a British Olympic Fencing Team and a witty raconteur. He had special regard for pathology trainees from less developed countries and worked strenuously to find them training places in the United Kingdom.

At the same time, The Gordon Signy Fellowships were established under the umbrella of the WPF to honor Dr. Gordon Signy and to provide support for young pathologists who were seeking to spend short period in a center of excellence in a foreign country in order to further their skills in Pathology on their return home. These Fellowships were intended to be financed as a completely separate fund within the WPF, but over the years the general WPF account and the Gordon Signy Fellowship account have been gradually fused and administered as a single fiscal unit. By 2010 the WPF no longer maintained any separation of its assets in separate funds and the Trustees adopted operating rules for the Gordon Signy Fellowships and the Barrie Murphy Traveling Lectureship in Munich.

Gordon Signy Fellowships enable young pathologists from countries with limited resources to visit centers of renowned excellence in other countries and to learn laboratory techniques that will be of benefit to the services provided from their laboratories when they return home. These Fellowships consist of financial support and, from 1975 to 2017, forty-nine young pathologists from 24 countries have received a Fellowship.

In 2014 the citizens of Islington borough, the place in which he lived, honored him with The Islington People's Plaque which was placed on the home in which he died in 1972. Pictured on the right by Dr. Signy's house on Alwyne Road are Dr. Signy's children (from left Adam Signy, Mark Signy [holding plaque], Michael Signy, and Ruth Davies).

Certificates are given to all Fellows who have completed their training and presented reports of their experiences. Any previous Fellows who have not received certificates and wish to have one should contact the Foundation.