Pathology is a specialty area of medicine that is directly involved in the interpretation of clinical laboratory results (Clinical Pathology or Laboratory Medicine) and identification of abnormal changes of human cells and tissues (Anatomic Pathology). Pathology practice most often occurs in association with a hospital or large clinical referral laboratory.
Pathologists function as diagnosticians, consultants to clinicians, educators and teachers within the hospital setting and are frequently involved in scholarly pursuits including both clinical related and basic biomedical research.
Clinical Pathologists have responsibility for the oversight and management of the hospital laboratories including the establishment of new test methodologies and serving as a consultant to clinicians in the interpretation of laboratory results. The laboratories include: clinical chemistry, microbiology, hematology, tissue typing, molecular diagnostics, blood bank and transfusion medicine, cytogenetics, immunology and laboratory informatics.
Anatomic Pathology involves the interpretation of pathologic changes in cells and tissues removed from patients for diagnosis.
The discipline traditionally emcompasses: surgical pathology, cytopathology, forensic pathology, autopsy pathology, dermatopathology, and neuropathology. Most residents pursue training in combined Anatomic and Clinical Pathology training programs. Many also pursue subspecialty training in specific areas of interest. Primary certification is given in Anatomic and Clinical Pathology (either individually or together) by the American Board of Pathology.
Sub-specialty certification following primary certification is offered in cytopathology, forensic pathology, neuropathology, dermatopathology, pediatric pathology, microbiology, chemistry, hematology, molecular genetic pathology and transfusion medicine.
Additional sub-specialty fellowships in surgical pathology, pathology informatics and other organ system sub-specialty areas are offered by many institutions although not associated with sub-specialty board certification. Most pathology residents complete at least one additional year of fellowship training.
Duration of Training
- AP certification: 3 years.
- CP certification: 3 years.
- AP/CP certification: 4 years.
- Sub-specialties: 1 year; except neuropatholoogy, which is 2 years.
- Number of programs nationally: About 150.
- Number of entering residency positions per year: 601.
- Number of U.S. seniors applying: 232.
- Unmatched positions: Fewer than 33.
- Types of fellowships or subspecialties: ACGME approved are Cytopathology, Forensic Pathology, Neuropathology, Dermatopathology, Pediatric Pathology, Medical Microbiology, Chemical Pathology, Hematology, Blood Bank/Transfusion Medicine, Molecular Genetic Pathology. Non-ACGME approved: Wide variety based on sub-specialty, e.g. general surgical pathology, gi-pathology, gyn-, gu-, bone soft tissue, etc.
- Type of Match: Regular through NRMP
- Overall competitiveness: Moderate. The average student is very likely to match in competitive programs. Top programs are very competitive.
Primary Faculty Contact for M1's and M2's
Allecia Wilson, M.D.
Medical Student Club or Interest Group
Madeline Lew, M.D.
Shadowing or Mentoring Experiences Available to M1's or M2's
Kristine Konopka, M.D.