Our History

Our history

SA Pathology has a rich history of diagnostic pathology and research over 80 years. Established as the Institute of Medical and Veterinary Science in the late 1930s, it was an era which saw political and community leaders introduce significant reform, with a focus on improving public health.

Situated near the old Royal Adelaide Hospital, South Australia's principal teaching hospital, the Institute began as an offshoot of the hospital laboratories. RAH Superintendent and Dean of Medicine Sir Trent Champion de Crespigny created an organisation combining laboratory services with pathology training and medical research.  

Changes occurred in the 1970s with a redefinition of IMVS services, resulting in the divisions of Forensic Pathology and Biology relocating and evolving into what is now the Forensic Science Centre. The 1980s saw stronger relationships with the RAH and the University of Adelaide which allowed the IMVS to diversify activity across emerging areas of pathology.

A later review recommended creation of separate science research laboratories, proposing that any new developments be integrated into IMVS and the hospital, which led to the establishment of the Hanson Institute in the early 1990s.

The IMVS experienced further change in 2008 in a merger with the pathology department of two other hospitals, the Women’s and Children’s and Flinders Medical Centre’s South Path, when the organisation was renamed SA Pathology. The core business continued to be diagnostic pathology for public health but adhering to its founder’s original vision, integrating pathology with clinical training and medical research.

SA Pathology continued to interact with the private sector, providing high quality patient services while attracting research grants. One of SA Pathology’s key strengths, it ensured the organisation stayed competitive, efficient and relevant in the services it provided.

The Centre for Cancer Biology was established within SA Pathology in 2008 as a hub for innovative science. Currently hosting over 20 group leaders and their teams, the CCB is an internationally recognised cancer research centre where research teams actively form alliances with pharmaceutical companies to foster knowledge and advance new treatments.



Our futuretrack

SA Pathology plays an important role in the delivery of public health care in South Australia, with 70% of all conditions and diseases requiring pathology diagnostic services to identify and manage.

Adhering to the original vision for the organisation of integrating pathology with clinical training and medical research, SA Pathology continues to interact with the public and private sectors, providing high quality patient services while attracting research grants. This ensures the business stays competitive, efficient and relevant in the services provided.

Working closely with researchers, research facilities and clinical services, our research drives early implementation of cutting-edge diagnostics to help identify, treat and prevent illness and disease, and retains essential medical and scientific expertise in South Australia.

The translation of new discoveries into clinical practice has been strengthened by the co-location of laboratories, as well as proximity and close collaboration with the Royal Adelaide Hospital, University of South Australia, The University of Adelaide, Centre for Cancer Biology and South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI).

Our comprehensive network of community collection centres and hospital-integrated laboratories enables us to work as part of the clinical team to provide timely results and specialist expertise to diagnose and manage disease.

The SA Pathology Strategic Plan 2020-2023 outlines our priorities, centred on four strategic pillars, that will improve our financial and operational performance as we continue to deliver a pathology service that is centred on clinical excellence and patient safety.

Read our strategic plan