FIPAT – Programme

FIPAT 2014 


The FIPAT mission, confirmed at its meeting in Beijing in August 2014, is to continually adapt its anatomical terminologies to developments in the morphological sciences and to the needs of medicine, the biomedical sciences and other health professions, and to promote the correct use of terminology among these groups, as well as members of the general public, including writers and journalists.


  • The main problem facing Anatomy is the need for it to be highly relevant to contemporary health sciences. Terminology is a key element in meeting this challenge.
  • The central objective of FIPAT in the coming years must be to aim for a standardised anatomical terminology across the health sciences, thereby facilitating efficient information exchange, and indeed more effective patient management.
  • Achieving this will enhance the relevance, status and perception of Anatomy.
  • In achieving these aims, the interrelationship between FIPAT and ATI has a crucial role to play, in providing cross-linkages between their particular approaches to terminology.


  • FIPAT terminology is primarily for human morphology, but also extends to clinical fields and other health scientists. Accordingly, incorporation of relevant clinically-related terminology into FIPAT by consensus through constructive dialogue, is a major objective. New terms are continually being developed. Also, significant numbers of morphological terms in use are not found in TA. Furthermore, there are likely to be differences, variations and disparities in the term(s) used for individual entities between individual disciplines, e.g. Imaging, Imaging, Interventional Radiology and Surgery
  • The terminology of embryology and development is similarly growing and evolving. Terms derived from studies of other species may be included in FIPAT TE if they are unequivocally proven, relevant, and if they improve the formal classification of the human nomenclature.
  • The IFAA and related websites will play a central role in facilitating these developments.

Preparation and publication of FIPAT documents

  • The proposals submitted before the Beijing Congress are being considered by the relevant Working Groups [WGs] and resulting changes incorporated into the main documents [see Minutes of Beijing meeting]. A target date of June 2015 for completing this will give time for circulation of documents to FIPAT in general, to enable consideration and comment in time for the September meeting in Istanbul. Subsequent changes will entail rolling revisions of e-versions on the relevant webpages.
  • Each document needs to be approved and ratified by FIPAT before being published on the FIPAT/IFAA website. The consequent open access will enable generation of feedback from the anatomical and other health science communities [see above] worldwide, which will be reviewed and curated by the appropriate WG. Revised versions will be regularly uploaded, with an associated file indicating changes made at each stage.


Working Groups

Individual WGs will comprise a co-ordinator and up to 5 advisors, with wide flexibility to select additional experts on specific topics as appropriate.

Information Exchange within FIPAT

  • FIPAT will continue to work mainly via Internet.
  • Face-to-face meetings will take place at each IFAA Congress and also at 1½ – 2 year intervals between Congresses to review progress, assess developments and consider significant issues and for information exchange [see Beijing Minutes].
  • In addition to communication within WGs, regular exchange of information on progress needs to take place between coordinators.
  • There needs to be adequate and timely reporting of progress and developments to the Chairman and thence to FIPAT and IFAA.


  • Latin is central. The Latin term is the formal, official version. It enables translation into any vernacular and provides an exact point of intersection for communication across disciplines, languages, countries, regions and associations.

John Fraher


Chairman FIPAT




FIPAT 5-year strategic plan


Mission:   The brief of FIPAT is to coordinate and support the preparation, revision and publication of documents on the terminology of the anatomical sciences and human biomorphology (as set out in the aims of the IFAA).
Vision:  To provide and develop the definitive anatomical terminology which constitutes the basic vocabulary at the core of the health sciences.

FIPAT is a high-level biomedical anatomical terminology. It has wide relevance to the international anatomical community, and indeed to all health sciences, as well as to scientists, educators, writers (scientific and journalistic) and the general public. It provides a rigorous, precise common vocabulary, which is simple to use and encompasses pure and applied [basic scientific and clinical] aspects of Anatomy. As such it is fundamental to unequivocal communication within and between disciplines.



Standing of FIPAT Terminologies

Aim: To enhance and strengthen the place of FIPAT as the official terminology of the anatomical profession, both within the discipline and across the Health Sciences.

Methods: See Publication, Feedback and Response, Publicity, Education, below. Successful collaboration needs to be established with other terminology systems, such as UW-SIG: FMA and IHTSDO [International Health Terminology Standards Development Organisation] (SNOMED CT), as a means to achieving this objective.


Publication of the Terminologies

Aim: All of the Terminologiae to be completed and published on the FIPAT website in both the simple and informatics formats by 2022.

Method: Each Coordinator to provide a timetable in consultation with the Secretaries for completion of both formats. Monitor progress of each Terminology to ensure compliance with timetable.


Merger of TA and TH

Aim, Method and Timetable: As for item 2 [Publication of the Terminologies] above



Aim: To reduce the workloads on FIPAT members, thereby enhancing membership numbers.

Method: Develop the functions of two Secretaries, for Communication and for Informatics, in collaboration with the Chair.

Aim: To make operation more democratic.

Method: Committee of Management to operate to broaden the input to FIPAT [membership: the Chair, the Secretaries, the Co-ordinators of working groups and the Secretaries of the Latin and Informatics subcommittees].


Feedback and response

Aim: Develop an atmosphere whereby external access to the FIPAT website is extensive, is commonplace and is widely used from across the Health Sciences and beyond. Rapid responses to input and proposals will reflect the dynamic nature of FIPAT and are particularly suitable for enhancing its status.

Method: Working Groups facilitate this through rapid response in engagement with external contacts.


FIPAT Membership

Aim: [1] Expand range of membership of Working Groups, from as many member societies as possible. [2] Establish and develop the participation of young anatomists and clinical anatomists.  [3] Consolidate and expand participation from those major societies which currently show a low level of participation.

Methods: Actively pursue [1] and [2] [In remit of Communications Secretary]. Collaborate with IFAA in efforts to support and achieve aim [3].



Aim: Ensure that Latin retains its central place as the official language of the Terminologies. Support translation of terminologies into vernacular languages.

Method: Encourage and facilitate member societies to undertake translations of the official Latin terms [In remit of Communications Secretary]



Aim: Enhance and reinforce the place of FIPAT as the common, official anatomical terminology relevant across all of the Health sciences.

Method: Operate and continually progress publicity drives, emphasizing the core aim. Include articles in anatomical, clinical and educational journals, as well as communications to clinical publications, to summarise developments in FIPAT terminologies and their relevance across the health disciplines. Develop links to professional Colleges and Boards in specific disciplines.



Aim: Establish the usage of FIPAT Terminologies for anatomy and clinical anatomy uniformly throughout Medical, Dental and Health Sciences education generally. The aim is to avoid the wasteful and inefficient practice of changing sets of terms at different stages of education, which is unfair to students and graduates in the early parts of their careers.

Method: Introduce, through formal collaboration with clinicians, appropriate clinical anatomical terms in the Terminologies, after close critical scrutiny. This will make each Terminology more comprehensive.



Aim: Enhance involvement of all members by widening communication within and between all sections of FIPAT.

Method: Keep members informed through more frequent general circulation of brief updates from the Officers.



Aim: Broaden the range of FIPAT

Method: Encourage and critically discuss proposals for new developments in FIPAT, such as a section for the History of Anatomical Terminology.


John Fraher

Chair, FIPAT