Clinical Pathology Residency

Carey-Ann Burnham, PhD, fellow Kaitlin F. Mitchell, PhD, fellow Sophonie Jean (glasses), PhD, and resident Adam L. Bailey, MD, PhD, go on rounds in the microbiology lab at BJC IOH. MATT MILLER/WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE

The Clinical Pathology Residency program in the Division of Laboratory and Genomic Medicine at Washington University School of Medicine (WUSM) is a three-year program that integrates strong clinical training with basic or applied research experience. It is designed to train individuals for a career in academic clinical pathology. The scope of the program mirrors the modern role of the discipline of laboratory medicine that bridges the gap between basic sciences and clinical medicine.

Laboratory medicine is being challenged continually with an ever-increasing range and complexity of laboratory tests, automation, computerization and new methodologies. All of these emphasize the need for physicians who can evaluate tests and technology objectively and, as an integral part of the health care team, provide the latest procedures and interpretations in medical testing to the patient care physician.


The first year and half of the program provides a broad experience in each of the major areas of laboratory medicine and consists of five three-month blocks: 1) Transfusion Medicine, 2) Clinical Chemistry Toxicology, 3) Microbiology Virology Serology, 4) Molecular Biology, Immunology, Cytogenetics, Informatics and Histocompatibility, and 5) Hematopathology and Hematology/Hemostasis.  In addition, advance elective rotation in all core areas and informatics and laboratory management are available.  Clinical Pathology residents learn the fundamental principles of operation in these areas, and the tests and instruments therein, as well as obtain experience in the proper selection of tests and the interpretation of data. They are integrated into the overall patient care team through an on-call system set up in each clinical area of the laboratories. The residents are responsible for providing medical advice concerning the laboratory diagnosis of patients in consultation with staff and residents from other departments. They also work closely with faculty throughout the training period.

Conferences are an integral part of the training process. These include rounds with faculty and residents, and review of current cases that pose interesting and instructive laboratory-related problems.   A division-wide, case-oriented conference is held weekly during which residents present a thorough review of the recent literature concerning clinically important current or proposed laboratory tests or concepts. Research conferences are held regularly to allow faculty and residents to present the progress of their own work. A department-wide weekly conference provides a forum for all residents (AP, CP and AP/CP) to review the latest advances relevant to the diagnosis of a particular disease. A variety of visiting medical scientists present at conferences throughout the year.

Clinical Pathology residents partake in teaching medical students throughout the year. They foster interaction with the Internal Medicine residents by periodically attending their morning report at least once a week to provide concise answers and references regarding specific tests.

Research is an integral part of our Clinical Pathology Residency. Research can be in the basic sciences or in translational areas and is initiated during the second year of residency. Depending on the resident’s specific career goals, additional years of research may be needed beyond the time allotted in the standard three-year residency through the Physician Scientist Training Program. As this additional time is often important for career development, the LGM Division is generally supportive of this extended training. Residents can choose to do research with any of the faculty at the Washington University School of Medicine or at the Washington University main campus.

After the first year and half of residency, training time will be devoted to subspecialty training in one of the areas of laboratory medicine. Residents experience all aspects of their particular subspecialties including medical expertise for analyzing laboratory-related problems and technical and administrative aspects of the laboratory. They have considerable responsibility during this year for management of the laboratory, development of new clinical testing procedures and supervision of first-year residents. A chief resident is selected each year and has similar responsibilities to the chief resident in the AP program.


The distinct role of laboratory medicine within WUSM provides a unique setting for maximum exposure to and interaction with the enormous range of clinical material present at the medical center. The Clinical Pathology Residency program is coordinated among the hospitals in the Washington University medical center.