How to launch an undergraduate pathology society
There’s a shortage of doctors going into histopathology and an even greater shortage of histopathologists pursuing an academic career. A large part of the problem is inadequate exposure to histopathology at medical school. A well-functioning, active and engaged undergraduate pathology society is the perfect way to address this issue. Leadership from you is a great way to interact with medical students and demonstrates a key skill which will stand out on your CV.
If your medical school has an undergraduate pathology society, offer to 'take the overarching lead'. This ensures continuity and longevity of the society, given the constant turnover of undergraduates.
You don’t have to do this alone – ask a peer if they’d like to share the role. It shares both the work and the success and is good for bouncing ideas off each other.
If you don’t already have an undergraduate pathology society, set one up:
- contact the medical school to ask if there is anything official you need to do to register the society
- contact the PathSoc undergraduate committee to register your interest
- contact your local Pathology Ambassador to establish the best way of working together to promote pathology
- investigate potential funding
Let the students 'drive' the group. It’s a good idea to have a structured committee with a Chair and Vice Chair. Determine how you will elect students to these positions, what their terms will be and what responsibility they will have.
Decide on a termly programme of events:
- How often will you meet?
- Where will you meet? Who will book the venue? Will you provide food / drinks?
How will you advertise events? Options include:
- an email account e.g. gmail
- Facebook page
- University / medschool webpage
- Freshers’ Fair
What material will you cover? What would the students value? Popular topics include:
- Careers, CV. writing and Foundation applications
- Histology revision, 'Pathology Pots', digital pathology, forensic pathology, paediatric pathology, neuropathology
- How to get involved in pathology research projects as an undergraduate
- Journal Club
- Arranging taster sessions within your histology department or for students to attend the mortuary
- Joint sessions with other student societies e.g. the surgical or oncology student societies
- Will you provide certificates?
- Will you collect feedback?
Promote the following opportunities to your student members:
PathSoc undergraduate membership. This is free and provides:
- free meeting registration
- access to the education portal
- undergraduate network
- UGPathSoc blog
- undergraduate case report prize
- intercalated degree bursaries
- student society bursary scheme
- undergraduate bursary (electives/summer placements)
- RCPath undergraduate membership (free)
- PathSoc Undergraduate Day at the PathSoc Summer Meeting
- PathSoc and RCPath undergraduate Summer Schools
- RCPath ‘Path to Success’ event
- the opportunity to write about their experiences e.g. for the PathSoc undergraduate blog or RCPath Bulletin (contact the Editor in the first instance)
Don’t forget to record your involvement on your CV.