In 1964 one of the first seminars presented on topics in Histotechnology was coordinated by Barbara Spillan, Chief Histopathology Technician at the US Naval Hospital, Jacksonville, Florida. Barbara was instrumental in suggesting to Lee G. Luna that there needed to be the formation of an organized group of histotechnicians to help form a society. This society would then be established as a forum to help provide the histotechnicians with a means of education to both learn and share histological techniques to assist both pathologists and researchers. Lee and Barbara realized that the advancement of the discipline rested on the ability of its practitioners to share scientific and technical knowledge among the worldwide histology community.
On October 2, 1965 the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology presented the first "Symposium on Histopathologic Technique” presented by Lee G. Luna, Chief, Histopathology Laboratories at the AFIP. This symposium provided lectures, exchange of technical information and workshops for histotechnicians for many years. In 1965 the American Society for Medical Technology offered membership, scientific lectures and workshops to histotechnicians however Lee and others felt a need for histotechnicians to have their own society to promote continuing education, sharing of technical information and unity in their profession. On July 28, 1973 an invitation was sent out to several interested individuals to meet for the purpose of forming a national society.
On August 27, 1973, 9 people met at the Palmer House Hotel in Chicago, IL to set the framework for forming the society. Later that year 43 people representing several states met in at the Sheraton Hotel in Silver Spring, MD. These 43 people became the Founding Board. At this meeting the name for the group was chosen; The National Society for Histotechnology and the first officers were selected:
- President - Dominic Europa
- Vice-President - Elaine Boyd
- Chairman of Founding Board - Lee G. Luna
- Recording Secretary - Ken Urban
- Executive Secretary - Elizabeth Mayle
- Treasurer - John Koski
On October 3, 1973 The National Society for Histotechnology was officially formed. The Founding Board determined that the "intentions of this professional organization was to fulfill the needs of the profession and was not a union or politically motivated organization". This mission still serves the Society today.
The first meeting of the National Society for Histotechnology was held on October 5-6, 1974 in Silver Spring. The first NSH Office was formed at this meeting with Roberta (Bertie) Mosedale appointed the first Executive Director. Roberta used her family room in her home to serve as the "beginning office". Late night planning meetings around the kitchen table were commonplace as the society’s founders struggled to find a means to reach and embrace histotechnologists tucked away in clinical, research, veterinary and pharmaceutical laboratories around the country. All of this occurred, of course, after a full day of earning a living and raising families. With little more than a spark and a vision, the society was formed as a result of the passion of those committed to making this dream a reality.
The need to share technical information and developments, encourage interest for scientific lectures and seminars and to inform histotechnologists of opportunities and career advancements was an important aspect of the growth of the histotechnology profession. In 1975 the AFIP Symposium gave rise to the first NSH Symposium/Convention at the Sheraton Hotel, October 6-10 in Silver Spring, MD. There were 25 lectures, 9 workshops, 32 faculty members, 24 exhibitors and 475 registrants. The Symposium/Convention has continued to grow since 1974 to include over 100 scientific workshops, numerous Clinical and Veterinary, Industrial and Research lectures, over 80 exhibitors and records of 1300-1500 registrants.
The Board of Directors also felt the need to have a means to publish techniques and other scientific information for histotechnologists. In 1975 the Board appointed a committee to study the requirements for a journal and in September 1977, the first Journal of Histotechnology was published, with Mr. Tony Villanueva serving as the first editor. The first issue was mailed as a promotional issue to 11,209 histotechnologists. The journal editors:
- Dominic Europa, First NSH President
- Tony Villanueva: 1977 - 1980
- Lee Getsy: 1980 - 1982
- Lee Luna: 1982 - 1984
- Jules Elias: 1984 - 2000
- Jim Hendricks: 2000 - 2006
- Karen Burg: 2006-2018
The society's founders could never have imagined the progress that would be achieved from the passion and energies of so many in such a short time. Today, just over thirty years later, the NSH is 4500 members strong representing histology professionals from around the globe. It hosts a highly successful annual Symposium/Convention, publishes a quarterly world-class journal, publishes the NSH INAction member newsletter, offers numerous merit awards and educational scholarships, develops and publishes educational resource materials, and prepares relevant standards and procedures for the profession. None of this could be achieved or sustained without the efforts of the many committed individuals who volunteer their time and energies to ensure our continued success.Submitted by M. Lamar Jones, NSH Member Since 1983