International Society of Dermatopathology (ISDP)
Mission Statement for Continuing Medical Education

Developed by The Continuing Education Committee and approved by the ISDP Board of Directors

1. Purpose: The Continuing Medical Education mission of the International Society of Dermatopathology (ISDP) is to improve the overall quality of dermatopathology practiced by dermatopathologists, dermatologists and pathologists by offering courses that update medical knowledge essential to:

  •  The enhancement of the competency and performance in the histologic diagnosis of cutaneous diseases.

  • More effective communication of diagnostic findings and interpretation of their significance to clinicians who rely on the dermatopathologist's information for making therapeutic decisions.

  • Upgrading other professional activities that are encompassed in the spectrum of healthcare services traditionally provided by dermatopathologists.

2. Content Areas: The content of educational activities encompasses a broad knowledge base, which  includes new and updated diagnostic approaches in techniques and technology applicable to routine and obscure cases; practice- and systems-based learning and improvements; effective communication skills; medical knowledge of established and new, evolving cutaneous disorders that incorporates clinical, histologic, immunologic and molecular data; and the application of all of the above to patient care.

Topics covered are devoted to areas relating to our attendees, and include but are not limited to:

  • Adnexal Neoplasms
  • Alopecia
  • Basic research
  • Cutaneous lymphomas
  • Epidermal neoplasms
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Infectious diseases
  • Inflammatory diseases
  • Melanocytic Neoplasms
  • Pediatric Dermatopathology
  • Soft tissue tumors
  • Systemic diseases
  •  Less common topics and related fields include oral, genital, and ocular pathology.
  • Course subjects routinely covered include:
  •  Essential knowledge relating to accurate dermatopathologic diagnosis
  •  Recently reported diagnostic methods and technologies
  • Updates on recent disease classifications
  • Recently recognized diagnostic pitfalls
  • New standards and recommendations by regulatory agencies, professional societies and specialty boards on best practices, including optimizing the interpretation and communication of test results to clinicians; legal and regulatory issues
  • Evidence-based decision making
  • Risk avoidance and safety management

3. Target Audience:  The ISDP offers CME activities that are primarily designed for U.S. and non-U.S. physicians who are board certified in dermatopathology. The secondary audience includes dermatologists, pathologists and physicians-in-training who practice dermatopathology. A third-tier audience includes individuals possessing a PhD, DVM, DDS, researchers, and scientists or non-physicians such as medical students and administrative staff who demonstrate special expertise in pathology of the skin or research.  They have in common the goal of seeking to update their diagnostic skills and acquiring new knowledge in the rapidly evolving field of dermatopathology.

The practice settings of the target audience include university and private laboratories, medical schools and teaching hospitals, military hospitals, community hospitals not affiliated with medical schools, and private practice.

4. Types of activities: The educational activities provided in the two-day annual conference are structured into didactic courses, interactive case-based presentations, oral and poster presentations, basic science, panel discussions as components of course presentations, self-assessment courses and keynote speakers who are experts in the field of dermatopathology or allied fields

5. Expected Results: The CME Program is expected to improve physicians’ abilities and execution in diagnosing routine and obscure cutaneous diseases; written and oral communications skills; and practice management.  Effectiveness of the CME program will be measured by physicians’ improved ability to: diagnose; create and/or revise protocols, policies, or procedures in the workplace; or change the management or treatment of the patients.

Some specific ways in which the learner can be considered to have realized these results are:

  • Acquire knowledge and perspective in areas of knowledge deficiency
  • Successfully transition from pattern recognition to criteria-based diagnosis
  • Make more effective use of quantitative morphologic data in routine diagnosis
  • Obtain and correctly use new and/or improved diagnostic methods and technologies
  • Recognize Additional Knowledge Gaps and Limitations of Diagnostic Skills Requiring Further Continuing Education  
  • Determine personal limitations of knowledge and diagnostic skill when confronted with the unfamiliar, indeterminate, complex lesions, and the need for obtaining outside consultation
  • Assess technological development and trends that will require further continuing education
  • Be More Effective in Communicating Diagnostic Information to Clinicians
  • Generate concise and complete dermatopathology reports
  • Interpret dermatopathology reports for clinicians to fully explain terminology, disease classifications, additional workup required, and implications of therapy selection
  • Build Confidence in Diagnostic Capabilities in Knowledge Areas Covered by the Course
  • Tackle diagnostic entities that previously were deferred to colleagues or consultants
  • Be able to effectively share knowledge obtained in the course with colleagues and apply it to departmental audits and quality assurance and improvement studies.     

Assessment of the effectiveness of CME activities in improving the quality and accuracy of dermatopathologic diagnoses is largely limited to evaluation of competence and performance. Indirect methods available to the provider include course evaluations that query the extent to which the learner felt that the course provided new and useful information applicable to his/her diagnostic skills and that will significantly improve the learners diagnostic skills.  A direct metric system being considered for future implementation by the provider is the use of an audience response system during a course presentation to assess the learners’ ability to absorb difficult concepts and address any misunderstandings of the subject being discussed.

The Board of Directors measures the success of the CME program annually by reviewing the administration of the CME program and utilizing aggregate response data from self-assessment tests, live audience feedback, activity evaluations and post-course surveys. Volunteers directly responsible for educational planning and execution, staff or members at large can recommend changes to the CME Program. The Board of Directors shall approve any and all changes.