Why do we need a national group?
Traditionally, the continuing education interests of medical scientists, technologists, pathologists, researchers and anyone working in histology laboratories or having an interest in histotechnology in Australia were looked after at a local level by various autonomous state groups.
For many years, these state groups; the Histotechnology Group of New South Wales (HGNSW), the Histology Group of Victoria and Tasmania (HGVT, formally the Histology group of Victoria), the Histotechnology Group of Queensland (HGQ) and the Histology Group of South Australia (HGSA) independently organised scientific meetings, educational events, conferences, workshops and social events for members of the histology world within their respected states.
Additionally, each of the state organizations took turns to host a biennial National Conference, the first of which was in Sydney in 2003, followed two years later in Melbourne run by what was at the time the HGV. 2007 saw the turn of the HGQ who chose the Gold Coast as their venue, and the cycle was completed in 2009 by the HGSA in the Adelaide Convention Centre. 2011 saw the National Histology Conference return to New South Wales, and the cycle began once more.
Although held for delegates from all over the country and internationally, the state group hosting the events nonetheless did so autonomously. It wasn’t until 2015, during a debriefing and handover session at the close of the second National Conference hosted by the HGQ in Brisbane, that consensus was reached by representative committee members of the four state institutions that the organisation of next National Conference would be a collaborative effort, and the cycle of venues was interrupted for the occasion, with the 2017 conference to be held in Hobart, Tasmania for the first time.
This collaboration was the first time the state organisations had worked together at a national level, and paved the way for the formation of a national group.
Following that very successful conference in Hobart, hosting duties fell back once more to South Australia, and whilst the majority of the ground work fell into local hands, it was nonetheless organised by a committee comprised of representatives from what had by then become five state groups, following the creation of the Histology Group of Western Australia.
It was in the run-up to that next conference in Adelaide that committee members became aware that a company called Human Capital Alliance had been commissioned by the Australian Institute of Medical Scientists (AIMS) in collaboration with the Australasian Institute of Clinical Biochemists (AACB) in response to previous calls from the Federal Government devise and implement a certification scheme for Medical Scientists and Technicians in Australia. They were eighteen months into the two year project and were about to publish their final position paper for stakeholder review. With no central, national body representing those within the histology field, there had been very little representation from anyone within the histology world into the discussions and the content of the proposal.
A meeting of all state group committees was held during the Adelaide conference to address the certification scheme and the absence of centralised, national representation for all those scientists, technicians and other key people working in the histology field that such a scheme will impact. From that meeting, the Histology Group of Australia was born, with the aim of representing the interests of all persons interested in the field of histology in Australia at a national level, and to formalise the collaborative organisation of future national conferences.
About the Histology Group of Australia
The Histology Group of Australia is is a committee of ten people comprised of two representatives from each of the committees of the five state groups;
- The Histotechnology Society of New South Wales (HSNSW)
- The Histology Gropup of Victoria and Tasmania (HGVT)
- The Histotechnology Group of Queensland (HGQ)
- The Histology Group of South Australia (HGSA)
- The Histology Group of Western Australia (HGWA)
The two representatives from each organisation are elected by the committees of that organisation.
The posts of Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson are held by the representitves of the state group who will be hosting the next National Histology Conference. Additionally there is an elected position of Secretary and Treasurer.
Currently, the HGA has no ordinary members. It is considered to represent all of the members of the state groups from which the committee is comprised.
The role of the HGA is three fold;
- To be a centralised body and contact point representing all interested histologists and histotechnologists in Australia at a national level
- To represent histology scientists and technicians on the Australian Council for the Certification of the Medical Laboratory Scientific Workforce
- To organise and host the biennial National Histology Conference