Teaching and Educational Initiatives

We believe that knowledge comes through experience and extensive interaction with faculty. In anatomic pathology sign out, residents prepare their own diagnoses and are then in a position to take full advantage of sign out with staff members. In clinical pathology, residents gain experience during daily rounds with attending, Socratic tutorials, and through positioning of residents as an intermediary between clinician and laboratory. There are daily teaching and case management conferences covering the different pathology specialties.

At BIDMC, the education of trainees is considered a key academic mission. Hospital-wide support is provided by the Shapiro Center for Medical Education. Our faculty have taken advantage of fellowships and faculty development programs coordinated by the center. This participation also allows our faculty to hone teaching skills and develop novel resident curricula. Examples follow:

  1. Given the important role pathologists play in teaching medical students and colleagues in other specialties, we provide guidance for residents as they hone their teaching skills. Such “resident-as-teacher” programs are common in other specialties but not as well-developed in pathology. Our curriculum includes sessions designed to improve skills related to giving feedback and small group teaching. There is a session on developing presentation skills with close mentoring of first year residents, by specific faculty who have also been through the curriculum, as they prepare for their first presentation. There are also opportunities for residents to teach medical students both within our department and at Harvard Medical School, as well as to receive feedback on their teaching skills.

  2. In light of the new ACGME milestones, we recently undertook a structured approach to implementation including revamping our curricula and creating resident portfolios. These changes will better enable residents and faculty to track progress. We also improved our evaluation system to allow more timely and useful resident feedback.

  3. Recognizing the need to integrate technology into residency training, all first year residents are provided with iPads at no cost. These tablets allow our residents to more easily preview the slides that are routinely scanned for our Surgical Slide Conference.

  4. Genomic technology will affect the practice of all medical practitioners. As the physicians who manage the hospital laboratories, pathologists must understand next-generation sequencing technology and its application to patient care. In 2009, we created, to our knowledge, the first genomic pathology curriculum in the country. We have published our curriculum and we continue to refine and improve the content. Our curriculum has served as the basis for a collaborative effort to develop a national genomics curriculum ( Pathology Learning ) which is currently being funded by a $1.3 million R25 grant from the NIH.

  5. Training in evidence-based medicine is critical. A first-year resident journal club allows an introduction to critical review of the medical literature. In later years, residents lead small-group discussions in monthly journal clubs. There is also an evidence-based transfusion medicine curriculum to hone these skills during CP training.

Aside from the genomics curriculum, demonstrating the national impact of our approach to medical education, we have also published research related to our resident evidence-based transfusion medicine curriculum as well as a program to introduce 3rd year medical students to pathology.