The Department of Pathology at the University of Alabama Medical Center offers approved, flexible individually tailored programs in straight Anatomic Pathology and Clinical Pathology, or combined AP/CP, leading to Board eligibility in each area. Residency training in each area encompasses the understanding of disease at macroscopic, microscopic, and molecular levels. Many electives are available to satisfy the Board requirements in addition to the core rotations. These include specialty fellowships, clinical research fellowships, or other approved training to meet both the needs and the desires of the individual are also available.
The educational aspects of Pathology Residency training are coordinated through the Divisions of Anatomic Pathology, Laboratory Medicine (Clinical Pathology), Molecular and Cellular Pathology, Forensic Pathology, and Neuropathology. In-depth involvement with each rotation provides educational experience that is the basis of the residency program.
Residency training in Anatomic Pathology focuses on analyzing the disease process in cells, tissues, and organs obtained from many sources, including cytologic washings and brushings, endoscopies, surgical operations, and autopsies. Primary experience is gained through rotations in Surgical Pathology, Cytopathology and Autopsy Pathology. AP Residents have the opportunity to train with experts who have special competence in the gastrointestinal, hepatobiliary, pulmonary, renal, cardiac, neurological, breast, hematopoietic, gynecologic, and orthopedic systems to name but a few. Cytologic evaluations are an integral part of the experience. Residents have the opportunity to learn fine-needle aspiration performance and interpretation. AP residents are given a broad exposure to pathologic processes while stressing clinico-pathologic correlation. Rotations are graduated to give increasingly greater responsibility as skills are obtained and refined. Application of modern techniques is an integral part of the diagnostic process. Residents may teach undergraduate health professions students on an ad hoc basis or part of a teaching elective experience, and they can participate in a didactic lecture series, conferences, and other meetings. Management experiences occur daily through interaction with the faculty and complemented with didactic sessions.
Residency training in Laboratory Medicine is focused on interpretation of laboratory results, technical aspects of modern laboratories, and laboratory management, Emphasis is placed on acquiring a strong knowledge base in preparation for an active consultative role in the many facets of medicine. The training provides core experience through rotations in Clinical Chemistry, Microbiology, Clinical immunology and Molecular Diagnosis, Transfusion Medicine, Immunocytology, and Clinical hematology/Hemostasis. After the initial rotations, training in Laboratory Medicine is tailored through subspecialization to the individual's career goals. Emphasis is placed on understanding disease at the molecular level. The residents in Laboratory Medicine are exposed daily to management and administration practices through the didactic lecture series, special projects such as involvement in CAP inspections, and lab administration electives at the VA Medical Center and the Kirklin Clinic.
Residency involvement in research is strongly recommended by the department, and funding for individual resident projects is available. UAB ranks among the top 10% of pathology residency programs in numbers of poster presentations at the USCAP meeting (2007). Residents with interest in basic science and academic careers may do post-doctoral work in any specialty at UAB as a part of either straight Anatomic Pathology or straight Laboratory Medicine. Support is guaranteed in the laboratory for six months credit toward board certification. There is an active graduate program conducted by the Department of Pathology (currently with 51 students) as well as throughout the basic health sciences within the university. With the Department's 40 independently funded investigators and the Medical Center's over $200 million dollars a year in extramural funding, there is an excellent base of faculty who are eager to take trainees into their laboratories. The Department of Pathology allows trainees to work not only within the Department, but also throughout the Medical Center in a laboratory that best fits their career goals. Research in our department is very diverse, and spans the spectrum of basic, transitional, and applied science, with basic research programs centering on molecular biology, signal transduction, cancer biology, extracellular matrix, biochemistry, bone metabolism, growth factor biology, cardiovascular biology, AIDS pathophysiology, and immunopathology, Applied research projects include health services research, laboratory informatics, gene therapy, biomarkers, embryo/fetal pathology, crystallography, and research on clinical outcomes. Research time is focused on the individual career goals of the young investigator and is directed toward the development of independent and successful investigators with a base in Pathology.