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March Blog: The BAC membership offering – An office perspective

This free access for all March blog is brought to you by Christian Burt, Professional Support Services Manager (IBMS). Christian tells us about his role supporting the BAC and the current and future developments that ensure the BAC continues to be a relevant membership body that provides tangible benefits for cytologists.


The BAC membership offering – an office perspective

The BAC has a long-standing contract with the Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS) for the provision of key administration support.

My job title at the IBMS is Professional Support Services Manager and this a role whereby I predominantly work alongside the Executive of the BAC, as well as the Council of the Association of Anatomical Pathology Technology (AAPT) and the Science Council.

In this blog, which contains my own personal views, I look at some of the main areas of BAC work and look to the future and how the BAC will continue to be a relevant membership body that provides tangible benefits for cytologists.

In essence, there are two elements to the BAC officer role:

  • 1) Provide support to the BAC Executive and subsequent committees and sub-groups
  • 2) Be a central point of contact for members & stakeholders

The pandemic situation lead to new ways of working for the Executive and it has been fulfilling that the initial steps taken by the BAC in providing educational content for members have continued post-pandemic.

In particular, I enjoyed working closely with outgoing Executive meeting lead, Alison Malkin, in providing host support for the series of BAC webinars that have been available to both members and non-members.

Our new meetings lead, Dr Bijal Shah, has carried this initial enthusiasm with the same energy to provide regular educational webinars, and our first for this year took place on the 24th of January on the theme of The German health care system and the screening concept for cervical cancer.

This will be followed with a webinar on the 27th of March on the theme of Remote ROSE for head and neck FNA: Telecytology utilising a clinical imaging assistant. You can also find past webinars on the dedicated BAC YouTube channel that also contains videos in conjunction with the Cytopathology journal.

With the BAC website offering increased member-led functionality over the next year, this can allow for more innovation from the BAC office. I know from working with Leonie, that we will not rest on our laurels and will look to enhancements and improvements and there will always be the need for the ‘human element’ with a small professional body, even with a welcome increase in more automated processes.

2024 will also see the BAC host an in-person Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM) and, as a member of the meetings sub-committee my role includes speaker and commercial liaison for the event.

To meet up in-person with BAC members is always a valuable networking experience, between the topical lectures, and an opportunity to gather ideas from members to keep the BAC relevant.

Please do visit the BAC registration stand throughout the ASM to share thoughts and discussion.

It is the enthusiasm of the BAC Executive that is a main reason for the role remaining so varied and interesting; and whilst I would be no help behind a microscope, I hope I can use my 20 years of professional body experience to help inform the Executive and membership.

The close partnership between the IBMS and BAC has been useful for both organisations; especially around broader cytology issue joint statements and planning of events such as the IBMS Congress.

It is pleasing that the BAC will be at the heart of planning the cytopathology scientific programme at Congress 2025, so please do look out for the Congress 2025 programme launch towards the end of this year.

The last year or so has seen me work particularly close with the BAC Media Lead, Mrs Leonie Wheeldon. The BAC website relaunch has been a major project that will continue into 2024. Phase 1 has gone smoothly (well, after much dedicated testing!) and included the introduction of a significant increase in exclusive content for members of the BAC.

The new content includes blogs, case studies and image of the month which is great for member engagement and tweets.

The BAC must continue to be relevant in terms of its ‘member offering’ and exclusive website content is an excellent educational CPD resource, with CPD, of course, a regulatory requirement for both consultant pathologists and biomedical scientists.

Part of my role at the IBMS is management of the Science Council registers and it is always hugely encouraging to CPD review cytologists who have attended BAC webinars, read blogs and case studies as a great source of learning for self and service improvements.

Subsequent phases of the website development will help ensure that being a member of the BAC is a positive experience and takes the Association into the modern age. Members will be able to pay subscriptions online, with a variety of payment methods, and also change their personal details.

This phase 2 of the project is likely to take up much of the office role time in 2024 and, under the leadership of Leonie, it has been a real pleasure to help improve the website experience for our members.

In tandem with the website development has been the introduction of a BAC media group, and the output of the group has been significant in the last year; and has been hugely aided by the willingness of new Executive members to be involved.

Just recently, a LinkedIn page has been set-up by Karina Evans and provides another professional social media platform for the BAC to update members and stakeholders on both BAC-unique and broader cytopathology issues.

It is my longstanding viewpoint that any professional membership organisation cannot function without input from it’s members. Might you consider the following in the future:

  • A BAC-hosted webinar of particular interesting cases and innovation from your laboratory?
  • Submission of an article for the SCAN section of the Cytopathology journal?
  • Perhaps even to get nominated as a new member of the Executive when the opportunity arises?
  • Submission of a case study, blog, or Image of the Month?

As the BAC officer, I am just an email away and can open communication with regard to the above, or signpost to the most appropriate member of the Executive.