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Our History

It is over 110 years since the foundation of our parent organisation, the International Association of Medical Museums (IAMM). The IAMM flourished in an age when every medical school had its own museum, with divisions of the IAMM in several countries, including the United States, Canada and Great Britain.

After the Second World War medical museums had lost their popularity and by 1955 the IAMM was in serious decline with only one division, the North American/Canadian, left and less than 50 members. It was rescued from oblivion by a group of American pathologists, including Cash Mostofi, and renamed the International Academy of Pathology (IAP).

In 1960 there were over 2000 American and Canadian members but one thing had been overlooked: an ‘international’ body had been formed which was composed solely of North American members. As a result George Cunningham was invited on to the ‘American-Canadian Council’. Since then the IAP has blossomed and become truly international so that there are now over 50 Divisions world-wide.

The British Division was established in 1961 following a successful international meeting in London, due mainly to Cunningham’s drive and enthusiasm; he was the first Treasurer and the third President. We acknowledge our debt to him by awarding the Cunningham Medal to individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the BDIAP.


Present day

Whilst the initial membership of the BDIAP was a mere 60; today it stands at over 1300, with over 350 trainee members, over 300 from the UK, and 50 from member countries. We also have Foundation members and member biomedical scientists.

The society is in an extremely healthy state. Our scientific meetings, including annual meetings for trainees, are well attended with excellent feedback, and the house journal, Histopathology, goes from strength to strength. Our finances are sound with healthy overall assets.

Source: Professor C Elston, gleaned from The History of British Pathology, written by George Cunningham (Professor of Pathology at the Royal College of Surgeons, 1955-68)