Medical Student Elective in Pathology

The Department of Pathology offers a month-long introduction to the practice of anatomic pathology and laboratory medicine as a medical student elective under the auspices of Harvard Medical School (HMS PA 501.5). Medical students from both Harvard and outside institutions are welcome. (Students out of Harvard Medical School, please refer to the exchange clerkship program for visiting medical students for information on how to apply.) The elective is tailored to students' interests, and generally consists of three weeks in the division of anatomic pathology and one week in the major laboratories in the division of clinical pathology (aka laboratory medicine). In anatomic pathology, students spend time on both the autopsy and surgical pathology services during which they participate in gross dissection and microscopic interpretation of both autopsy and surgical specimens. The clinical pathology experience is composed of one-day introductions to each of the major clinical laboratories (hematopathology, microbiology, clinical chemistry, and transfusion medicine). Students also participate in the department's daily conferences and are asked to give a short case presentation to the department at the conclusion of their rotation.

Students with prior arrangement will also have the option to spend their entire rotation devoted solely to laboratory medicine. Here they will learn about the different disciplines of clinical pathology in more depth through bench work, laboratory rounds, directed reading, tutorials, and participation in daily laboratory activities. Week long rotations in the four different clinical laboratories or longer rotations in one or more laboratories are possible depending on the interests of the student.