Anatomic Pathology Residency

The residency program in Anatomic Pathology provides a three- to four-year training experience in Anatomic Pathology. The department’s goal is to establish essential basic experience for the resident who is planning a career as a laboratory investigator in an academic pathology department and for the resident who is planning a career in academic surgical pathology or a related clinically oriented subspecialty.

All residents rotate through the first two years of the program (the Anatomic Pathology core), which is designed to provide a sound basis in autopsy pathology, diagnostic surgical pathology and cytology. After the second year, the program splits into two parallel tracks, a basic research track and a diagnostic pathology track. Residents are encouraged to select the track that appears most suitable for their own goals.

Some residents wish to spend the majority of their professional lives after completion of their residency doing basic biomedical research. For these individuals, the two-year Anatomic Pathology core, supplemented by six months of additional clinical electives, provides a morphologic basis that will permit them to function comfortably as a laboratory investigator in an academic pathology department. Residents who choose the basic research track are guaranteed at least two years of support while in the lab.

Other residents plan on a career emphasizing diagnostic pathology, focusing their research efforts on topics with immediate clinical application. For them, the core curriculum provides a basis on which to build more advanced diagnostic skills during the remaining year of their training. These skills involve more detailed experience in subspecialty areas of Anatomic Pathology, graded responsibility for diagnostic duties and elective opportunities in applied research.

During the entirety of the clinical program, trainees are encouraged to pursue applied research topics, in concert with faculty members. This activity is integrated with practical and didactic experience, with emphasis on utilization of new technologies in Anatomic Pathology. Residents are strongly encouraged to involve themselves in clinical projects with the faculty in order to learn the elements of hypothesis testing, study organization, and manuscript preparation. These are essential for those residents considering an academic career, and they are also important in learning to evaluate the scientific literature with a discerning eye.

The chief resident is selected from among the outstanding residents in the program. Responsibilities include setting up schedules for the residents, organizing clinical pathology conferences and aiding residents with any problems. The chief resident sponsors a yearly seminar with an outside visitor.

First and second year

The first year is divided into seven rotations of equal length. Each resident spends two rotations in autopsy pathology which, even in this age of increasingly powerful diagnostic tools, provides an important service, frequently uncovering unsuspected disease processes. The cases include adult, pediatric and fetal autopsies, totaling approximately 450 cases each year. Alternating with autopsy rotations are five rotations in surgical pathology, (including pediatric pathology, hematopathology, and cytopathology). Special training in neuropathology and forensic pathology also is provided during these blocks.

The second year builds upon the introductory experience of the first year, with rotations that focus on additional subspecialty areas in Anatomic Pathology. Individual rotations are devoted to dermatopathology, ENT pathology, and gynecologic pathology. One rotation is devoted to cytopathology and include experience in performing fine-needle aspirations. Two rotations are taken at Barnes-Jewish Hospital North Campus, where residents provide the frozen section service under the supervision of an attending pathologist and pathology fellow. Other rotations focus on liver/GI pathology, renal pathology, and transplant pathology.

Third year and beyond – The research track

For those residents who plan to spend the majority of their professional lives engaged in basic biomedical research, the two-year Anatomic Pathology core, supplemented by six months of additional clinical electives, provides a morphologic basis that will permit them to function comfortably as a laboratory investigator in an academic pathology department. Residents who choose the basic research track are guaranteed at least two years of support while in the lab.

During the second year, residents who select the research track visit various laboratories whose research areas appear interesting, to discuss opportunities with investigators, select a laboratory in which they wish to work and, in collaboration with the laboratory director, formulate a research plan. Most research laboratories request a minimum two-year commitment. About one-half of the residents also opt for a third year of research experience (which is dependent on a high level of performance in the lab). The laboratory selected need not be within the Department of Pathology & Immunology; however, all research proposals must be approved by the senior faculty before implementation.

Residents doing research participate in teaching the medical school course and attend pathology conferences. Residents who select the research track maintain full house staff benefits during their research years, including being paid as a resident at the appropriate postgraduate level. The research activities of the faculty are sortable in our directory.

Included in the training is the participation of the residents in teaching and academic seminars of the department. Residents also have the responsibility of helping with pathology tutorials of second-year medical students. Those residents interested in lecturing in pathology have the opportunity to do so in a number of courses offered by the department. For example, the pathology course for physical therapy students is usually organized by the chief resident with the participation of the residents. In addition to seminars and presentations exclusive to the autopsy service and surgical pathology, two departmental conferences are open to all residents. One consists of a resident journal club given every two weeks planned by, and with the exclusive involvement of, the residents, with the participation of the faculty. A weekly seminar, consisting of lectures by faculty and invited outside speakers, is held each Thursday.

Check our directory for a list of positions currently held by Research Track residents who recently trained with us.

Physician Scientist Training Program (PSTP)

Although the three-year Anatomic Pathology Residency Programs include time for research training, the Department recognizes that serious basic science training requires substantial additional time. Thus, the Department supports PSTP trainees for up to three years dedicated entirely to research training after completion of residency. Find out more ยป

Third year and beyond – The diagnostic pathology track

The third year is devised and structured in such a manner that it facilitates the resident in the process of selecting certain subspecialty areas of interest that are available in the Division of Anatomic Pathology. If the third-year resident chooses, he or she may rotate through dermatopathology, neuropathology, hematopathology and cytopathology or select a faculty person with whom he/she may choose to do clinical investigation utilizing one or another of the special laboratories and techniques – i.e., immunohistochemistry, flow cytometry or electron microscopy. For those residents who are interested in pediatric pathology, additional time may be spent on the pediatric autopsy service.

The chief resident is selected from among the outstanding residents in the program. Responsibilities include setting up schedules for the residents, organizing clinical pathology conferences and aiding residents with any problems. The chief resident sponsors a yearly seminar with an outside visitor.