One Hundred Years of the Pathology Medical Student Fellowship Impacts on Medical Education and Career Choices

Phoebe Hammer, Karen Ireland, Donald C. Houghton, Alexis Jaggers, Anya Coleman, Olivia L. Snir, Megan Troxell, Nicole K. Andeen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Context.—The Pathology Medical Student Fellowship (PSF) is a unique, year-long immersive educational experience. Review of institutional archives describes a medical student ‘‘Fellowship in Pathology’’ founded in 1919. Objective.—To characterize the impacts of this 100-year-old program. Design.—We determined the subsequent medical specialty of each PSF graduate in our department and surveyed those with available contact information. Results.—Of 145 pathology student fellows graduating between 1924 and 2020, a total of 50 (34.4%) matched into pathology; medical, surgical, and radiology subspecialties were also well-represented career choices. Between 2001 and 2020, of 36 students who matched into pathology from our institution, 19 (52.8%) had completed the fellowship. Survey respondents (n ¼ 42) indicated that before the PSF, 11 of 42 students (26.2 %) were undecided in their specialty, with only 6 (14.3%) identifying pathology as their primary field of interest. Of survey respondents who had completed training, 26 (61.9%) practice in academic settings. Nonpathology physicians reported frequent utilization of skills gained during the PSF year, with 5 of 23 (21.7%) responding ‘‘daily,’’ and 9 (39.1%) responding ‘‘weekly.’’ The most useful skills included knowledge of pathophysiology of disease and anatomy, improved communication with multidisciplinary teams, and/or interpretation of pathology results (each selected by 17 to 20 students, 73.9%–87.0%). Free-text responses on impacts of the PSF described enhanced knowledge of disease pathobiology and diagnostic complexity and increased confidence and autonomy. Conclusions.—We describe the program structure, educational benefits, graduate specialty choices, and career impacts of 100 years of the PSF at our institution. Although undecided before pathology exposure, many PSF graduates subsequently enter pathology careers. Regardless of specialty choice, PSF graduates have a high rate of subsequently pursuing academic medical careers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1037-1042
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Volume146
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Medical Laboratory Technology

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