This year, April 14, is Pathologists’ Assistants (PA) Day, a day of appreciation led by the American Association of Pathologists’ Assistants. Raima Memon, M.D., PGY3 Chief Resident, Anatomic Pathology, wrote the following to describe the important role of a PA in pathology, and to celebrate our department’s three hardworking PAs, Joe Begany, Audrey Alexander and Kaitlin Forsythe.

PA Day Logo 2021Celebrating our department's PAs (left to right): Kaitlin Forsythe, Joe Begany and Audrey Alexander

What role does the PA play in the pathology “process”?

PAs are an integral part of the UAB Pathology team. They perform many tasks including, but certainly not limited to: Grossing surgical specimens, procurement research specimens, and training pathology residents.

What role do they play in our Department in particular?

Our PAs have re-shaped the surgical pathology experience. They facilitate resident education not only by teaching and supervising residents during grossing, but also by allowing time to focus on complex and educational specimens. The PAs have been integral in updating equipment (bone saw), safety measures (cut-resistant gloves) and improving specimen turnaround time (increased processing for fatty specimens and submitting additional sections).

What is special about our PAs?

While each of our PAs is unique, they all have one thing in common: They are incredibly hard working. We appreciate their patience and instruction and owe them a tremendous amount of gratitude, because without them, we couldn’t do what we do.

Joe Begany has been a phenomenal addition to our UAB Pathology team. His vast experience and knowledge is notable, however, it is his pleasant and patient demeanor and willingness to teach that truly sets him apart. He has been critical in streamlining the flow of the gross room and updating everything from grossing and processing procedures to equipment.

Audrey Alexander is an incredible PA and a true asset in the gross room. She handles challenges remarkably well and with such tact. Her tenacious and colorful personality is always a welcome presence and her ability to clear a table is noteworthy!

Katie Forsythe has transformed the gross room. She is thorough in grossing and consistently patient with residents’ persisting questions. She is always kind and quick to laugh, and even quicker to help when the surgery schedule becomes hectic.

Though new to our department and still in training, Dani Rodriguez has done a tremendous job over the last few months and is already well known as a conscientious grosser. She is eager to learn, receptive to feedback, and always ready with a smile.

The Department of Pathology is grateful to our PA staff for all their hard work and dedication to their work, an integral part of our department.