Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Department of Pathology

Clinical Training

Strong clinical training is at the foundation of our residency program in both anatomic and clinical pathology. Our approach to resident education combines both a structured didactic curriculum as well as practical clinical experience in all aspects of the field.

Educational conferences

Our daily 8am educational conference follows a two-year curriculum and covers both anatomic as well as clinical pathology. Interspersed with didactic lectures are unknown slide seminars led by faculty and senior residents that provide an opportunity for more practical exposure to clinical material. Journal club is held several times over the course of the year and exposes residents to developing topics within the field and allows trainees and faculty an opportunity to critically review and discuss study design. A sample weekly lecture schedule is provided below. See our annual lecture schedule for 2016-2017.

MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday
CP call issues review

CP Didactic lecture
Surgical pathology unknownsAP or CP Didactic or Journal clubSurgical pathology unknownsAP or CP Didactic

A unique feature of our program is the afternoon slide conference held Tuesday through Friday by the senior surgical pathologist in our department, Dr. Sambasiva Rao. In this informal venue, Dr. Rao reviews challenging cases with the residents and discusses his diagnostic approach and differential diagnoses.

Practical exposure

Graduated responsibility and dedicated preview time are integral to resident education in our department. On rotations within anatomic pathology, residents are expected to independently preview their cases and write them up accordingly with provisional diagnoses and suggested ancillary studies before reviewing them with the faculty. Residents assume responsibility for their cases and follow them from the gross bench to sign out. The majority of signout takes place with subspecialists in the respective areas of anatomic pathology. On clinical pathology rotations, the experience is structured around both bench work as well as didactics. Residents work closely with faculty to address questions from clinicians and any issues that arise within the lab.

Starting at the end of the PGY-1 year of training, residents (under attending supervision) present at the many interdisciplinary tumor boards throughout Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Interaction with medical oncologists, surgeons, and radiation oncologists in these venues provides valuable perspective and clinical insight to compliment the training that residents receive within our department.

Given the ongoing evolution of our field, we are moving to emphasize quality and management training within the context of our pre-existing CP educational structure. In addition to reviewing management topics with faculty, residents complete the Lab Management University series of online modules produced by the American Society of Clinical Pathology. Residents also complete quality improvement projects during their PGY-3 year.