Residency Program: Program Description

 

Overview | Typical Program | Conferences | Electives
Academic Careers | Teaching Opportunities | Evaluations | Resident Representation

Overview

The goal of the University of Washington Residency Program in Pathology is to prepare physicians for the practice of pathology in any setting -- academic medical center, community hospital, or biotechnology laboratory. We believe this goal is best achieved in an academic environment that offers breadth and depth in all aspects of pathology.  In addition to basic training in pathology, we offer a wealth of subspecialty and research training opportunities in many areas of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology. The careers chosen by graduates of our program reflect the diverse training paths available to our residents. Typically, half of our graduates continue in academic medicine while the other half seeks employment in a community setting.  We offer four tracks of residency training:  Anatomic and Clinical Pathology (AP/CP), Anatomic Pathology (AP only), Clinical Pathology (CP only), and Anatomic and Neurological Pathology (AP/NP).

Dr. Suzy Dintzis and Kim Allison
2010 USCAP Poster Session

Our AP/CP program requires two years of structured study each in anatomic pathology and clinical pathology, which will meet Board certification requirements. The training in Anatomic Pathology provides broad and comprehensive exposure to the areas of autopsy, surgical pathology (general, breast, gynecologic, gastrointestinal, hepatic, renal and pediatric), cytology, dermatopathology and neuropathology.  The first year in clinical pathology covers all of the major areas of Laboratory Medicine including chemistry, microbiology and virology, molecular genetics, immunology, hematology, coagulation, and transfusion medicine.  In the second year residents serve as acting director of one or two lab sections for a total of six months and choose elective studies in either anatomic or clinical pathology for six months. Both programs encourage residents to take part in ongoing teaching and research activities.

AP-only and CP-only tracks consist of two years of core training in the track of interest.  The third year is designed for more advanced study or research in a subspecialty area. The AP/NP track consists of two years of anatomic pathology study followed by two years of neuropathology subspecialty training, one year of which is a year of basic research in neuropathology.

Our residency and fellowship programs are all accredited. The Clinical Chemistry fellowship is accredited by the Committee on Accreditation in Clinical Chemistry; the Microbiology fellowship is accredited by the American Board of Medical Microbiology; all other fellowships are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).  We offer the following clinical fellowship training programs:

  • Blood Banking/Transfusion Medicine
  • Clinical Chemistry
  • *Cytopathology
  • *Dermatopathology
  • *Forensic Pathology
  • *Renal Pathology
  • *Gastrointestinal and Liver Pathology
  • *Bone and Soft Tissue Pathology
  • *Hematology/Hematopathology
  • Medical Microbiology
  • *Molecular Genetic Pathology
  • *Neuropathology
  • *Pediatric Pathology
  • Surgical Pathology
  • *Breast and Gynecologic Pathology

 

Dr. Sthapanashai (2006) grossing in a specimen.

Our rotation sites include University of Washington Medical Center (UWMC), Harborview Medical Center (HMC), Seattle Children's Hospital (SCH), VA Puget Sound Health Care System (VA), Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA), the King County Medical Examiner's Office, and Bloodworks Northwest (BWNW), which provide a well-rounded and varied experience in anatomic and clinical pathology. Swedish Hospital (CellNetix Pathology) provides an additional training site for individuals interested in a rotation in community anatomic pathology practice.

Residents pursuing careers in academic medicine. may combine residency training with post-doctoral research. The Pathology Residency Program provides residents with diverse opportunities for an academic medical career. These activities are supported by a clinical research fellowship offered by the Department of Pathology, and a number of training grants.

Our program has detailed objectives of our program goals for each area of training. These objectives outline the areas of knowledge a resident must master to become a competent pathologist.

Anatomic Pathology Program Goals and Objectives

Clinical Pathology Program Goals and Objectives

Typical Program

Training Schedule

Anatomic Pathology

Dr. Kelly Smith directs the anatomic pathology training and overall pathology residency training program. 

First Year AP Training. During the initial year, residents train in autopsy pathology, surgical pathology, and cytology. Surgical pathology training covers all systems in rotations structured along subspecialties, with staffing by attending pathologists with subspecialty expertise pertaining to the tissue site. Assigned cases in rotation, residents primarily analyze the anatomical disease process and its correlation with clinical findings. Residents spend 6 months at UWMC, 4 months at VA Puget Sound Health Care System, and 2 months at Harborview Medical Center.

Sign out with Dr. Paul Swanson

Residents are encouraged to enhance the autopsy experience by attenting forensic pathology conferences at the King County Medical Examiner’s Office, under the supervision of Dr. Richard Harruff, Chief Medical Examiner, when residents are rotating at Harborview Medical Center.

Second Year AP Training. Our program is designed to provide increased responsibility for independent sign out of surgical specimens during the second year of anatomic pathology training. The three-month surgical rotation at UWMC provides comprehensive training and experience in in the management and diagnosis of common and rare diseases and complex specimens, and in subspecialty areas, including soft tissue, pulmonary and gynecological pathologies. There are two months of concentration on breast, GI tract, liver and renal pathologies. There is a designated one-month rotation in dermatopathology. Residents study pediatric anatomic pathology at Seattle Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center for two months. And a two-month rotation at HMC provides in depth experience in genitourinary pathology, cytopathology,and neuropathology. During the second year, residents gain increasing proficiency in Autopsy Pathology as back-up to the rotating first year resident over 2 months of rotation, during which they also spend 1 month on the renal pathology service, 2 weeks in Cytogenetics, and 2 weeks elective. Second year training occurs at UWMC (8 months), CHRMC (2 months) and HMC (2 months).

In addition, residents receive case-based training in the specialized testing methods of immunocytochemistry, ultrastructure, and flow cytometry.

Rotation Location Service Director
Autopsy UWMC

Dr. Desiree Marshall

Dr. Florencia Jalikis

Autopsy & Surgical Pathology VA Dr. Jeff Virgin
Breast Pathology UWMC Dr. Suzanne Dintzis
GI & Liver UWMC Dr. Melissa Upton
Cytology HMC Dr. Stephen Schmechel
Dermatopathology UWMC Dr. Zsolt Argenyi
Neuropathology HMC Dr. Dirk Keene
Pediatric Pathology CHRMC Dr. Michael Astion
Renal Pathology UWMC Dr. Charles Alpers
Gynecologic Pathology UWMC Dr, Rochelle Garcia
Bone and Soft Tissue Pathology UWMC Dr. Benjamin Hoch
Lung/ENT Pathology UWMC Dr. Haodong Xu
Genitourinary Pathology HMC Dr. Larry True
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Clinical Pathology

Dr. Sindhu Cherian and Dr. Monica Pagano are the Associate Program Directors for Clinical Pathology and are responsible for training in Clinical Pathology, which is provided by the Department of Laboratory Medicine.

First Year CP Training. The first year of Clinical Pathology takes place at the University of Washington Medical Center, Harborview Medical Center, Bloodworks Northwest (BWNW), Seattle Cancer Care Alliance and the VA Puget Sound Health Care System. The year comprises a tightly organized full-year of study, beginning with a month-long core course (lectures, discussions and laboratory exercises) designed to introduce the breadth of the field of clinical pathology. The introductory course covers basic material in blood banking, coagulation, immunology, urinalysis, clinical chemistry, microbiology, hematology, parasitology, mycology, virology, molecular pathology, biostatistics and laboratory computer applications. This is followed by a series of rotations in the following areas:

Dr. Jonathon Fromm, Hematopathology Faculty

 

  • Chemistry (8-9 weeks)
  • Microbiology (5-6 weeks)
  • Immunology (3 weeks)
  • Transfusion Medicine (8 weeks)
  • Virology (2 weeks)
  • Hematopathology (9-10 weeks)
  • Coagulation (4 weeks)
  • Molecular Genetics (4-5 weeks)

 

 

 

Second Year CP Training. The second year can be tailored to meet specific career goals. During the first six months, second-year residents receive an in-depth exposure to one or two chosen areas of laboratory medicine and exercise graduated responsibility by acting as directors of subspecialty lab sections. Additionally, three weeks of the second year are spent in an apheresis rotation at BWNW. The remainder of this year is spent in either AP or CP electives. Residents may spend this time developing skills in one or more areas of the clinical laboratory or receive a more generalized experience at one of the community hospitals associated with the program. Second-year Clinical Pathology residents train at UWMC, Harborview, VA, SCCA and BWNW.

  • Resident Portfolio. Medicine has become increasingly dependent on the existence of documented evidence to support decisions and practices. This extends to a need for concrete documentation of resident competency. One well-accepted way of documenting competency is by the development of a portfolio of representative work products. Accordingly, residents develop an electronic portfolio documenting experiences and work products while a resident. This may include summaries of consultations, etc., while on call or on rotations, papers and abstracts published or submitted, PowerPoint presentations of Grand Rounds and other formal talks, method evaluation data and written procedure(s) from a method development project, and anything else that may be useful to the American Board of Pathology, the ACGME, or a potential future employee in evaluating competency and training. This portfolio also provides an opportunity for self-reflection and practice-based learning.
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Conferences

 

In addition to extensive one-on-one, over-the-microscope training with our faculty, residents learn by attending and presenting at didactic teaching sessions, sign-outs and clinical conferences. Pathology specific conferences are supplemented with a wide variety of multi-disciplinary teaching conferences in subspecialty areas. In adition, numerous seminars provide opportunities for residents to learn about the research activities being conducted by UW faculty and visiting scientists.

Pathology Conferences - Master List

 

Electives

During the 4th year of training, residents may pursue subspecialty interests with elective studies. With 150 faculty members affiliated with our program over all of the training sites, residents can design electives that meet their professional interests. In addition, electives may also be designed at off-site locations within the guidelines from the School of Medicine Graduate Medical Education Office. We encourage residents to discuss these options early in the training program. The following are brief descriptions of electives that residents have taken in the past.

  • Anatomic Pathology: In-depth elective training is available in the pathology subspecialty areas of dermatopathology breast, , gastrointestinal and liver pathology, gynecological , pulmonary , renal , immunohistochemistry, genitourinary/prostate, bone and soft tissue, liver, cytology, and informatics.
  • Laboratory Medicine: Electives and acting directorships are available in all areas - molecular genetics (including next-generation sequencing), clinical chemistry, microbiology, hematology/hematopathology, immunology, informatics, virology, transfusion medicine and others.
  • Blood Center/Transfusion Medicine: An elective of 3 months is available at the Bloodworks Northwest, which is the central laboratory for blood banking for Seattle. 
  • Cytogenetics: Training provides experience in diagnostic cytogenetics with emphasis on prenatal diagnosis employing amniotic fluid cells and postnatal diagnosis employing white blood cells, bone marrow cells, neoplastic cells, and skin fibroblasts. 
  • Electron Microscopy: Training in the use and interpretation of diagnostic electron microscopy is available in rotations of one to two months at either the VA Puget Sound Health Care or at UWMC.
  • DNA Flow Cytometry:  The DNA flow lab routinely analyzes DNA ploidy patterns of tumors from most organs using multi-parameter flow cytometry.
  • Forensic Pathology: The King County Medical Examiner’s Office, located in HMC, performs 1,000 autopsies per year under  the direction of Dr. Richard Harruff. Training and experience in forensic pathology include scene investigation and court testimony.
  • Community Practice: A hands-on opportunity to work with pathologists at Swedish Medical Center/CellNetix Pathology.
  • Research: Elective time is available at virtually any research lab at UWMC, HMC, CHRMC, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, or Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. This is a valuable opportunity for residents interested in a multi-year research fellowship to familiarize themselves with the lab, its director and personnel, and its projects.
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Academic Careers

2009 Paul E. Strandjord Young Investigator Award Winners including UW residents - Timothy Amukele, MD Ph, Mikhail Roshal, MD PhD, and Colin Pritchard, MD PhD (2nd-3rd-4th in from right) - Academy of Clinical and Laboratory Physicians and Scientists Annual Meeting [Photo posted with permission from ACLPS]

Our goal is to train residents to become well-rounded academic and clinical pathologists who will practice and develop pathology into the future. To achieve this goal, we believe research training is important for all residents, whether they seek a career in academic or community pathology. We encourage residents to work with faculty members by investigating a biomedical area of interest. We support residents' academic endeavors by providing travel funds for presentations at national meetings.

Areas of Research

2014 USCAP Faculty and Resident Presentations

2014 ACLPS Resident and Fellow Presentations and Posters

In 2007 for the first time the University of Washington received more than $1 billion dollars in research funding, which was for peer-reviewed research proposals for individual faculty members. The Departments of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine are consistently in the top three NIH recipients for pathology programs in the United States. For 2009, Pathology received $23,008,922 and Laboratory Medicine received $13,870,404 in overall research funding. AP/CP residents can apply for a fifth year of clinical research which can be funded by the departments through a combination of departmental funds and training grants. This can also be an option for the third year of training for AP-only or CP-only residents. If you are interested in continuing or pursuing an academic career, you should discuss your future plans as soon as possible with your faculty advisor who will be very helpful in mentoring your aspirations.

University of Washington Affiliate Faculty & Alumni
Geoffrey Baird, MD PhD (2007) Using oligonucleotide aptamers in developing clinical proteomic and histochemical assays, and developing quantitative tissue proteomic assays for solid tissue diagnosis.
Jonathan Fromm, MD PhD (2004) Studying pathogenesis and new diagnostic methods for lymphomas.
Noah Hoffman, MD PhD (2008) Developing bioinformatic tools and approaches for characterization of bacterial populations using conventional and high-throughput DNA sequencing.
Andy Hoofnagle, MD PhD (2007) Developing novel applications of liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry in the quantifications of proteins and other analytes in clinical specimens.
Raj Kapur, MD PhD (1991) Pediatric pathologist with special interest in intestinal neuromuscular and perinatal pathology.
C. Dirk Keene, MD PhD (2009) Determining the pathophysiological mechanisms of microglia neurotoxicity and neuroprotection in degenerative conditions of brain and retina with emphasis on development of novel therapeutic strategies.
Keith Loeb, MD PhD (2007) Determining how abnormal cell cycle regulation and hematopoietic differentiation result in the development of myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS).
Colin Pritchard, MD PhD (2010) Developing molecular diagnostics for cancer, including circulating microRNA biomarkers, high-throughput DNA seqeuencing for cancer risk, and tissue-based testing to guide cancer prognosis and personalized treatment.
Mara Rendi, MD PhD (2012) Director, Medical School Pathology Course; breast and gynecological pathologist with leadership role in UW medical school education.
Shreeram Akilesh, MD PhD (2013) Assistant Professor and Attending Pathologist
Luis Gonzalez-Cuyar, MD (2011) Acting Assistant Professor and Attending Pathologist
Florencia Jalikis, MD (2015) Acting Assistant Professor and Attending Pathologist
Mark Kilgore, MD (2015) Acting Assistant Professor and Attending Pathologist
Gordana Juric-Sekhar, MD (2015) Acting Assistant Professor and Attending Pathologist
Lisa Koch, MD PhD (2015) Acting Assistant Professor and Attending Pathologist
Eric Konnick, MD MS (2015) Acting Assistant Professor, Laboratory Medicine
Patrick Mathias, MD PhD (2015) Senior Fellow, Laboratory Medicine
Robert Ricciotti, MD (2015) Acting Assistant Professor and Attending Pathologist

Teaching Opportunities

Residents teach medical students taking electives in Anatomic and Clinical Pathology. For the first and second year students, residents work with faculty teaching pathology laboratory sessions. For medical students on elective rotation in Anatomic Pathology, residents work directly with students on both autopsy and surgical pathology cases. Residents also work with trainees from other programs including radiology and dermatology residents. In addition, residents give lectures and assist faculty in small group teaching of allied health personnel (medical technology students, cytotechnology students, physician assistants, etc.). The opportunity to teach students in the Health Sciences Center of the University of Washington and residents from other programs is an important component of our training program.

Evaluations

Although we are considered to be a large training program, residents are strongly encouraged to discuss directly suggestions or problems with any faculty member or the program directors. We meet the ACGME requirements for evaluation with several online, written evaluation forms for both the residents and faculty members.

Evaluation of Residents:

  • Resident Evaluation: completed by faculty members at the end of each rotation
  • Mid-Year Evaluation: a face-to-face meeting between the resident and faculty advisor
  • Year-End Evaluation: a face-to-face meeting between the resident and program director
  • Clinical Competency Committee Pathology Milestones Evaluations twice a year.

We use the MedHub residency management system and residents receive evaluations directly to their electronic portfolios.

Evaluation by Residents:

  • Rotation Evaluation: completed by residents at the end of each rotation
  • Individual Faculty Evaluation: completed by residents once a year on each faculty member with whom they have trained
  • Annual Evaluation: a compiled review of the AP and CP programs led by the chief residents and presented to the Residency Management Committee

Residents complete these evaluations anonymously. Rotation service chiefs or faculty members receive the evaluations in a batch every six months. Each year the Program Evaluation Committee reviews all of the program evaluations, meeting minutes, site visit and internal review reports and ACGME resident surveys to prepare an annual report and program improvement action plan.  Resident feedback is a cornerstone of this quality improvement process for our program.

Residents also participate annually in the Residency In-Service Exam, a national skills assessment provided by the American Society of Clinical Pathologists. The results are reviewed by the program director but are not the sole means of determining progress in the program.

Resident Representation

Being an effective pathologist also means understanding the business of medicine or systems-based practice. We encourage residents to participate in many program management opportunities to learn by doing. Residents are represented on the Residency Management Committee by the Chief Residents from both Anatomic Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. Many of our residents participate in CAP laboratory inspections in-house and at sites across the country. For more global issues affecting residents and their training, peer-elected representatives to the CAP and ASCP Resident Councils are selected every two years.