The Department of Pathology offers comprehensive training in all aspects of pathology. Although we are a large and diverse department, there is a strong emphasis on cohesiveness in both providing service and resident training. The majority of our clinical and anatomic pathology facilities are housed in the University Hospitals and the adjacent Medical Science complex. Our research faculty are located in the adjacent Cancer Center and Medical Science Complex and, a few steps away in the Biomedical Sciences Research Building. This allows for ready communication and collaboration between faculty and residents working on different aspects of patient care or on research projects.
Our program provides training in clinical pathology (CP), anatomic pathology (AP), and research. Clinical training encompasses either a combined AP/CP program or exclusive training in AP or CP. Research training is available and can be linked to clinical training or exclusively as post-doctoral fellowship training.
The goal of our training program is to provide a comprehensive educational experience ensuring that our residents have a strong foundation in the knowledge base, interpretive skills and clinical interface skills required of a practicing pathologist. Increasing resident responsibility in the day-to-day aspects of tissue diagnosis and laboratory problem solving are emphasized along with participation in laboratory administration and medical informatics programs. Involvement in laboratory and clinically based research is strongly encouraged as an integral component of training. Teaching opportunities include clinical conferences and medical student pathology laboratories.
Training programs are personally designed and formulated to meet individual professional goals allowing our graduates to pursue multiple career paths including clinical practice, clinical academic careers and research investigator academic careers.
The following documents are required from ERAS to complete your application:
Rotations are structured in 2 week blocks, although many rotations including autopsy and clinical pathology are grouped into 4 week increments. The frequency of rotations emphasizes and reinforces concepts learned on complementary services. Additionally, exposure to rotations at different levels of training helps naturally increase gradation of responsibilities and education. This design also helps routinely expose residents to most sub-specialty areas before fellowship applications are due.
All incoming residents spend their first 2 weeks of residency in onboarding, which includes required GME training sessions, BLS certification, MiChart (Epic) training, and pathology-specific orientation sessions. Additionally, starting during onboarding and continuing through the first few months of residency, first-year residents review normal histology and key pathologic entities in morning sessions organized by senior residents and faculty. These sessions offer our new trainees a chance to practice speaking and thinking about pathology in a low-key, judgement-free zone.
Anatomic Pathology Required Rotations
|Surgical Pathology||74 weeks (approx. 18 months)|
Surgical Pathology Sub-Specialty Signout Services
|Breast Pathology||8 weeks|
|Gastrointestinal Pathology||8 weeks|
|Genitourinary Pathology||8 weeks|
|Gynecologic Pathology||8 weeks|
|Pediatric and Placenta Pathology||Pediatric: 4 Weeks / Placenta: 2 Weeks|
|Renal Pathology||2 weeks|
(Soft tissue, head and neck, thoracic, endocrine)
|Frozen sections||10 weeks|
Residents Training only in Anatomic Pathology have additional specific rotations
|Hematopathology (includes Flow Cytometry)||8 weeks|
|Molecular Diagnostics||6 weeks|
Clinical Pathology Required Rotations
CP rotations are usually organized into block rotations of slightly longer duration, particularly for Hematopathology (4-8 weeks) and the first time on Transfusion Medicine (6 weeks). The remaining CP rotations are typically in 2 or 4 week blocks within individual laboratory disciplines. This program is designed to increase longitudinal exposure to various CP disciplines and facilitate interdisciplinary approaches to complex clinical problems. Residents will have graded responsibility with first and second year residents focusing on acquiring basic skills and upper level residents refining their knowledge and interpretive skills and serving as a liaison for clinicians, laboratory supervisors and technologists.
Clinical Pathology Rotations
|Chemistry I (Toxicology,Coagulation, Hematology)||10 weeks|
|Chemistry II (Immunopathology, Hemoglobinopathy)||6 weeks|
|Hematopathology/Flow Cytometry||20 weeks|
|Molecular Diagnostics||10 weeks|
|HLA and Tissue Typing||2 weeks|
|Transfusion Medicine, including Apheresis||16 weeks|
Residents will have 24 weeks (almost 6 months) of elective rotations available during their core AP/CP 48 month training program. Numerous electives are available, including subspecialty consultation services in each field, and elective time can also be utilized as protective research time. Novel electives may be pursued with an identified mentor and approval by the Residency Program Director. This is to ensure the overall quality of the training experience and that the experience meets American Board of Pathology (ABP) requirements.
The Department of Pathology has recently created a Division of Quality and Health Improvement (DQHI), which will support projects aimed at quality improvement and assurance. This includes resident initiated projects of wide-ranging scope. Participation in quality improvement is an ACGME requirement and the department is well positioned to support such work.
The Department provides free access to ASCP’s Lab Management University, online learning modules which complement existing didactics. Completion of the online program is required prior to graduation and results in a program certificate.
AP Rotation Design
Unique Autopsy Rotation Design
CP Rotation Design
Each morning from 8-9 am is protected time for resident education, primarily with didactic talks given by faculty, fellows and residents. Resident presentation skills are developed through regular presentations including AP grand rounds (annually) and CP case conferences (2-4/year). The didactic lecture content will include fundamental and advanced topics generally repeated every 2 years, such that over 4 years a resident will have experienced these sessions twice at different stages of training. Additional regularly scheduled conferences at other times include Brain Cutting Conference, Autopsy Gross Conference, Autopsy/Forensic pathology talks via the Medical Examiner’s Office, Hematopathology Education Conference, and additional Frozen Section conferences.
Typical Weekly Schedule (8-9am Conference)
|Monday||AP didactics (Faculty Led)|
|Tuesday||Resident presentations (CP Case Conference or AP Grand Rounds) or monthly hands-on Gross Conference|
|Wednesday||Unknown/Thematic slide sessions or Frozen Section Conference|
|Thursday||Professional Development and/or Wellness topics, or monthly Program Director meeting with the residents|
|Friday||CP didactics (Faculty Led)|
There are 28 total residents, with the number of positions varying between 6 and 8 each year. Most residents are in the AP/CP track, but AP only, CP only and AP/NP are also offered.
17 different fellowships are available, some of which have multiple positions available. Many residents choose to stay for fellowships at University of Michigan. Additional info can be found here.
Completed ERAS applications are reviewed shortly after they become available from ERAS from applicants registered for the NRMP match. Invitations for candidate interviews are sent starting in mid-to-late September, and continued on a rolling basis as ERAS applications are completed.
Applicants are encouraged to contact the program coordinator, Pam Howard, regarding the scheduling of interviews, application questions, and any other inquiries.
The 2020-2021 applicant cycle is unique with virtual-only interviews. The interview day will include virtual one-on-one sessions with the program director and associate program director, as well as a variety of faculty from both AP and CP divisions, including faculty tailored to the specific interests of the resident (a short survey is sent prior to interview in order to optimally tailor the interview day to each candidate’s interests and career goals). Opportunities to meet and chat with residents virtually will also be available!
The research programs of the Department of Pathology are one of the many strengths of our academic mission. Our research faculty successfully compete for extramural research support, and particular areas of research strength include cancer cell biology, immunopathology and inflammation, geriatrics, developmental biology, and translational research including biomarker discovery, proteomics and bioinformatics. Clinically-based research programs include active studies in virtually all clinical sub-specialty areas. Anatomic Pathology Research Grants are available for residents and fellows with a faculty sponsor who will oversee the project and project-related expenditures. Projects will be funded to a maximum cost of $30,000 per project with total program costs of no more than $150,000 annually.
The Department provides up to $1,500 annually to each resident to support travel to professional meetings and the purchase of books or other learning materials (e.g. audio, video reviews) relevant to their education with the approval of the program director. In addition, residents who have an abstract accepted for presentation at a national meeting will be supported with an additional $1,500 per meeting up to three times, an additional $4,500 of potential support during training, for a potential total Academic Fund support of $10,500 during a four year residency program. Up to $500 can be borrowed from the following year if the need arises to support the resident’s training.
There are additional grants for travel to meetings funded by the A. James French Society of Pathologists that residents may apply for should they require additional funds to those outlined above.
In 2016, the department’s Division of Quality and Health Improvement (DQHI) initiated a structured quality improvement curriculum, which supports intradepartmental projects aimed at quality improvement and patient safety of wide-ranging scope. Additionally, in 2020, the morning didactic curriculum was restructured to include a broader range of topics and new presentations from our world-class faculty.
Residents in the AP/CP program will have 24 weeks (almost 6 months) of elective rotations available during their 48 month training program. Numerous electives are available, including subspecialty consultation services in each field. Elective time can also be used as protected research time.
As of August 2020, the American Board of Pathology changed the required limit of 50 autopsies to 30 autopsies. That said, residents have never struggled to meet the autopsy number requirement during their 12-week autopsy/forensic rotations. The average total is between 55 – 70 autopsies.
Resident call is combined AP/CP coverage. Weekday calls last from 5 pm to 8 am the following day, and Weekend days last from 8 am to 8 pm the following day. Call coverage averages 2 call days per month for 2nd to 4th years. 1st years do not take AP/CP call.
Call coverage generally includes covering frozen section evaluations in the evening, and CP-related consultations in the evening and overnight. After frozen sections are complete, overnight call is at-home call.
Each resident has 4 weeks of vacation annually, which may be taken in 1-2 week blocks. Vacation is scheduled separately from rotations, eliminating the requirement for seeking coverage and preventing the pressure to take vacation during less time-intensive services. In addition, every effort will be made to allow residents to present at meetings and conferences with advanced notice.
2016 marked the inaugural year for the Pathology resident’s Quality Improvement course. The lean-based curriculum introduces our residents to common and effective problem solving tools and concepts like A3 documentation, gemba walks, root cause analysis, and the PDCA cycle. Our residents put these tools to use throughout the semester, as they break into small teams and work to solve some real challenges that face our department. In 2016, our residents and Hematopathology fellows tackled the following problems:
Inadequate formalin fixation on Anatomic Pathology specimens
Lost and damaged Descemet’s membrane specimens
Cryostat chuck misidentification during the Frozen Section process
Non-standardized platelet refractory workflow
Hemoglobin electrophoresis utilization
Peripheral blood smear review vs. RBC morphology ordering
The teams approached these problems using the A3 framework, and by the end of the semester, each had developed, piloted, and analyzed creative and effective countermeasures to be implemented into our daily practice.