WASPaLM - World Association of Societies of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

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    Dr. Pinto and Colleagues in Madrid
  • Dr. Thiyaphat Laohawetwanit
    Dr. Thiyaphat Laohawetwanit 2020 Gordon Signy Fellow

What is WASPaLM?

Soon after the end of World War II, the possibility of founding a World Federation of Constituent Societies of Pathology was considered by a group of pathologists in London.  From this discussion the International Society of Clinical Pathology was founded in Paris in September 1947.

The new Society, which had as members national societies of clinical pathology, (initially from France, the United Kingdom, Czechoslovakia, and Belgium), was governed by a House of Delegates representing its Constituent Societies, with a Bureau to serve as the Executive Committee of the House, a pattern of government which persists today.
Early in the development of the organization, at a meeting in Sheffield, England in 1948, it was agreed that the International Society should sponsor World Congresses of Pathology. The first was held in London, England in 1951, and World Congresses have followed in various locations throughout the world, the most recent in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada in 2013.

The name, the International Society, soon caused concern. The term Clinical Pathology had been intended to include all branches of pathology, viz., anatomical pathology, chemical pathology, hematology, microbiology and all their subspecialties. Unfortunately, in many countries the term Clinical Pathology was thought to exclude anatomical pathology, a problem which was compounded when the name was translated into languages other than English.  

Because of this difficulty the name of the International Society of Clinical Pathology was changed in 1969 to the World Association of (Anatomical and Clinical) Pathology Societies - WAPS, and then revised to the World Association of Societies of Pathology (Anatomic and Clinical) - WASP. The Constitution and By-laws of the World Association were revised to emphasize its role in representing every aspect of pathology. The name was intended to emphasize that the World Association embraces every branch of Laboratory Medicine. To extend that emphasis, the name was further changed to the World Association of Societies of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine (WASPaLM) at the World Congress in 1999 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Extensive revisions of the Constitution and By-laws followed and, in 2005, the World Association was incorporated under the laws of the State of Illinois in the United States, the By-laws becoming incorporated into the Articles of Incorporation. 

What are the Constituents of WASPaLM?

At present, there are 45 Societies, Colleges or Associations in 6 worldwide regions involved with WASPaLM.

How is WASPaLM financed?

The World Association has a limited budget. Its only income comes from the small dues paid by its Constituent Societies, and from recently established Corporate Sponsorships. Serving on any of the Committees of WASPaLM requires a degree of dedication, and certainly is not a sinecure.

What does WASPaLM do?

The World Association has become increasingly active in international affairs, representing pathology at the World Health Organisation, serving on the Council of International Organisations in the Medical Sciences, and establishing relations with other international bodies.

An important aspect of the work of the World Association has been the development of a number of Committees, each with a Constituent Pathology Society or College taking a particular responsibility on an international footing. These include the International Liaison Committee (replacing the old Commission on World Standards) which represents WASPaLM societies to both ISO and the World Health Organization (USA, College of American Pathologists and Australia, Royal College of Pathologists);  the Policy, Guidelines and Advocacy Committee (replacing the Secretariat on Economic Affairs, the Secretariat on Ethics and the Secretariat on Forensic Pathology  - no sponsoring society); the Education Committee (replacing the old Secretariat on Pathology in the Developing World) which coordinates educational programs for developing countries (United Kingdom, Royal College of Pathologists); the Publication and Informatics Committee (replacing the old Informatics Secretariat; no sponsoring society); and the Finance and Corporate Sponsors Committee (Japan, Japanese Society of Laboratory Medicine).