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Fellowship Programs in Pathology

Cytopathology | Hematology  | Molecular Genetic Pathology | Neuropathology |
Surgical Pathology
| Forensic Pathology  (under the direction of the Chief Medical Examiner of VA)

Our fellowships offer opportunities for specialized and highly interactive training in Pathology. These programs are designed to provide the fellows with advanced, practical subspecialty experience and opportunities for collaborative research. All of our fellowship programs are accredited by the ACGME.

This one-year, ACGME-accredited fellowship provides advanced training in all aspects of cytopathology as well as substantial exposure to surgical pathology with emphasis on the correlation between these two disciplines. The fellow participates in the daily sign-out of all specimens  and  provides immediate  on-site interpretation for  superficial and deep FNAs with progressive responsibilities leading to the development of diagnostic autonomy.  A dedicated FNA service in the Pathology Department allows for training in palpation and ultrasound-guided fine needle aspirations.  Approximately 14,000 specimens are evaluated annually, including 2500 non-gynecologic exfoliative specimens and 1800 fine needle aspiration biopsies covering the spectrum of cytopathology practice with extensive use of immunochemistry, flow cytometry,  molecular and cytogenetic ancillary studies. Appropriate clinical management as applied to surgical and cytopathology diagnoses and interdisciplinary communication are stressed.  Participation in the instruction of residents through lectures and slide sessions is an integral part of the program. Over 4,000 glass slide study sets are available for review.  Fellows will also gain practical skills in laboratory management. Translational research as well as clinical research for presentation at national level is encouraged.
Requirements: Candidates must have satisfactorily completed an accredited training program in AP or AP/CP and passed USMLE Step 3.
Program Director: Celeste N. Powers, MD, PhD

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This program provides intensive training in Hematopathology. It is aimed at those who have fulfilled a standard pathology residency and wish to specialize in hematopathology. Emphasis is placed on handling of critical biopsy material and complex specimens with correlation with ancillary techniques, such as flow cytometry, immunohistochemistry, and molecular diagnostics. There is extensive hands-on experience in performing bone marrow aspirates/biopsies. Intensive training is provided in bone marrow and lymph node pathology, coagulation, clinical correlation, and molecular diagnostics. Training in the use of, and investigative and clinical projects utilizing, molecular diagnostics are also available to the fellow.
Requirements: Preference will be given to applicants who have completed AP and/or CP training.  All candidates must have passed USMLE Step 3.
Program Director: Roger S. Riley, MD, PhD

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Molecular Genetic Pathology 
This is a one-year clinical fellowship which trains pathologists and medical geneticists for a career in molecular genetic pathology. The trainee receives a thorough exposure to all aspects of molecular genetic pathology including infectious diseases, hematopathology, oncology, human identity testing, and medical genetics. The VCU Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory is a state-of-the-art, 6,400 sq ft facility that performs more than 25,000 tests annually. Fellows participate in laboratory test development and translational research. The fellows are responsible for interactions with clinicians and other pathologists, and test interpretation as the training progresses. Fellows rotate through the human genetics clinical services and in the biochemical genetics laboratory. Hands-on experience is obtained with a broad range of molecular techniques including nucleic acid extraction, real-time PCR, reverse transcriptase PCR, cytogenetics, FISH, SNP analysis, Affymetrix microarray technology, bone marrow engraftment chimerism studies, and nucleic acid sequencing.
Requirements: Candidates must have passed USMLE Step 3, and satisfactorily completed residency in AP and/or CP, or in Medical Genetics.
Program Director: David S. Wilkinson, MD, PhD

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This program provides intensive training in all aspects of Neuropathology (NP) with the aim of preparing our fellows for Board Certification and a successful career as an academic neuropathologist. Fellows gain familiarity with a wide variety of diseases of the nervous system, skeletal muscle, peripheral nerve, and eye, developing diagnostic proficiency through both morphologic examination and utilization of ancillary techniques including immunohistochemistry, electron microscopy, and molecular analysis. A variety of research opportunities are available within the division and the VCU Health System, with an emphasis on neuro-oncology. Preference will be given to applicants seeking a conventional two year neuropathology training commitment, though other arrangements may be available on an individual basis.  
Requirements: At least two years of post-graduate training are required; this may include 2 years of anatomic pathology (AP) or 1 year AP plus 1 year clinical training in neurology/neurosurgery. Combined AP/NP applicants will also be considered.  Trainees must have passed USMLE Step 3.
Program Director: Christine E. Fuller, MD

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Surgical Pathology
This is a one year program designed for individuals who wish to pursue intense training in Surgical Pathology in an environment that allows graduated responsibility and independent work necessary to build diagnostic confidence and maturity. The Surgical Pathology laboratory at VCU Medical Center processes over 18,000 specimens/ year representing benign and malignant pathology, and biopsies as well as large complex resections from all organ systems. Sign-out in Surgical Pathology is subspecialized, assuring trainee interaction with faculty with expertise in specific organ system pathology. The general framework of this fellowship includes: nine months rotations through various subspecialty services (Gastrointestinal and liver pathology, Gynecologic and Genitourinary pathology, Breast/Heart/Lung/General, ENT/Dermatopathology) and three months of elective rotations. The fellowship allows flexibility in the schedule, depending on the fellow’s subspecialty interest (i.e. primarily Gynecologic Pathology focus). While on a subspecialty service rotation, the fellow signs-out the cases as a junior attending with the resident only, handles frozen sections and consultation cases, instructs the residents in handling complex specimens, and presents at interdisciplinary conferences. Elective rotations are available in Neuropathology, Cytopathology, Molecular Pathology, or selected Clinical Pathology services (Hematopathology, Blood Bank). The fellow participates in one of the many departmental research projects, and presentation at national meetings and publication in peer reviewed journals is encouraged. This fellowship is designed to provide the necessary skills for the fellow to function as an academic pathologist with responsibilities in service, teaching, and research or as a community-based pathologist with responsibilities primarily in service and laboratory management.
Requirements: Candidates must have satisfactorily completed an accredited training program in AP or AP/CP and passed USMLE Step 3.
Program Director: Ema Dragoescu, MD

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Forensic Pathology
This is a one year fellowship with the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, commencing July 1 and ending on June 30.  The fellow will work with and be mentored by nine Board-certified forensic pathologists within the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.  We have a diverse curriculum schedule that includes lectures, conferences and hands-on instruction.  A rotation through the Department of Forensic Science is provided at the Central location.  Neuropathology services are provided by VCUHS and UVA neuropathologists. There is training and instruction with lawyers and court room experience.  District office staff participate in teaching fellows how to take reports of death and investigate scenes.   Further information and an application are available at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner web site.
Requirements:  Applicants must be eligible for AP, AP/CP or AP and subspecialty board certification.  You must be able to obtain an unrestricted medical license and driver license for the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Program Director: Deborah Kay, MD

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Application Materials
The VCU Department of Pathology uses the Standardized Pathology Fellowship Application Form, which can be found on the CAP website. Application forms and information about the Forensic Pathology program are available at the OCME website listed above.

Completed applications should be sent to the program coordinator, along with the following additional required documents:

  1. Prepare a one-page personal statement discussing your interest in pathology and your career goals.
  2. Send a complete and detailed Curriculum Vitae (CV). Be sure to include research and publications information.
  3. Request three letters of recommendation from attending pathologists, to be sent directly to the program coordinator. One letter must come from the director of the applicant’s residency program.
  4. If you are a naturalized citizen or a permanent resident of the United States, send a photocopy of your citizenship papers or a photocopy of both sides of your permanent resident card.
  5. If you are accepted into our program and are not a permanent resident or citizen of the United States, you will be required to obtain a J-1Clinical visa.
  6. All applicants for fellowship positions must have passed Step 3 of USMLE or COMLEX.

Application materials should be sent to:
Michelle Smith
Training Program Coordinator
Department of Pathology
VCU Medical Center
PO Box 980662
Richmond, VA 23298-0662
Phone: (804) 827-0561
Fax: (804) 827-0178
E-mail: msmith2@mcvh-vcu.edu

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