New Director of Gastrointestinal Pathology, Laura Lamps, MD

By Elizabeth Walker | February 23 2017

A love of photomicrographs leads to passion for education and commitment to patient safety.


Earlier this month, Laura W. Lamps, MD made the trip from Arkansas to Ann Arbor to join our faculty as the Godfrey Dorr Stobbe Professor of Gastrointestinal (GI) Pathology. Dr. Lamps will also serve as the director of GI Pathology and the first Administrative Director of Patient Safety under the newly formed Michigan Medicine Patient Safety Office.

A graduate of Davidson College with a Bachelor of Science in Biology, Dr. Lamps received her Medical Degree from the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. She was the Director of Surgical Pathology, Director of the Diagnostic Laboratories, and Professor and Vice Chair of Academic Affairs for the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Center. She also served as the Associate Chief Medical Quality Officer for Risk and Safety.

Q: What motivated you to pursue a career in Pathology?

Back when I was a medical student when dinosaurs still roamed the earth, I got a summer job manually scanning Kodachrome slides for a professor in the Vanderbilt pathology department who was working on developing some of the first digital learning modules for teaching medical students (this was waaaaayyyy before PowerPoint). I loved the images, and how central the gross and microscopic features of disease entities were to making diagnoses on patients. After that and after taking the pathology class as a second-year medical student, I was completely hooked.


Q: What excites you most about joining the Department of Pathology at Michigan Medicine?

Working with such a great group of colleagues. I have known many of the faculty here for years, and having the privilege of working with them every day is really exciting.


Q: What is the focus of your current work?

There are several things I am currently focused on as I begin my work here.  I am the first Patient Safety Officer to be appointed for Michigan Medicine, so I am working with my colleagues in the newly formed Office of Patient Safety to get our program off the ground. That work is interesting to me because I hate the idea of anybody coming to harm when they put their trust in us as health care providers.

I enjoy solving problems, and the opportunity to collaborate with dedicated experts from all over the medical center to find solutions that ultimately prevent harm to patients is very meaningful work.

I am also one of four editors (including Dr. Jeff Myers from our department) in the final stages of working on the 11th Edition of Rosai and Ackerman’s Surgical Pathology textbook, which is one of the most widely circulated surgical pathology textbooks in the world. I love working on textbooks because I love to write and take microscopic pictures, and assemble chapters that (I hope) are useful to people. And I love the practice of pathology, so the fact that I get to do these other things, plus look at great cases with wonderful colleagues and trainees every day, makes this a pretty awesome job.


"I hate the idea of anybody coming to harm when they put their trust in us as health care providers."

Q: What are some of your goals for the next year?

Get the patient safety program off the ground, add a research fellow to the GI pathology division, finish the abovementioned giant textbook project, and learn my way around the medical center.


Q: What are your passions outside of work?

My husband, Paul Ward [pictured left], and I enjoy cooking and collecting wine. We have participated in dog rescue activities for a long time, and we have two rescue corgis named Alys (who is around 8) and Henry (who is around 7). We do a lot of walking and hiking with them. I also love to knit and read fiction, and I have practiced yoga for almost 20 years.