Pathologists in training

May 1, 2009

MLO, curious to know what the
answer(s) would be, asked the following question: If you were training a
pathologist to work in your lab — a young newcomer — what bit of advice
would you give? Would it involve new technology that would make
his/her job more efficient? Would it concern new laboratory equipment
that would make a particular type of testing easier and more accurate?
Would it be
a service of some type that would assist the laboratory in its
work? Would it be some sort of management tool (i.e., using LEAN
or Six Sigma, or “how to” seminars)? In other words, with all of your
experience in the lab, what would be your one good “shot” at helping the
new guy/gal on the block?

“I want new pathologists to know the importance and benefits to themselves and their practices of active involvement at the state and national levels. The resources, professional contacts, increased awareness of current and future issues, and opportunities to make a difference are incredible, all leading to increased professional fulfillment and positive impact for pathology.”—Margaret Havens Neal, MD, FCAPKWB Pathology AssociatesTallahassee, FL
“One phrase that I have repeated to many residents (and future lab directors) is that 95% of all problems in the lab are 'people-problems,' regardless of the management tools or new technology or computers involved. The chemistry problems are the easy ones to solve.”—Andrew W. Lyon, PhD, FCACB, DABCC

Clinical Biochemist

Calgary Laboratory Services and

Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

University of Calgary

Calgary, AB, Canada
“Our group's consensus is that the ability to adapt to and utilize new technology as it becomes available is something we believe is very important. Pathology groups need to stay competitive and efficient to enable them to sustain their volume and to provide the best possible service to their clinical providers and patients. This is essential for all groups of varying sizes and regional locations.” —Richard R. Gomez, MD, FCAP

St. Francis Health Center

Topeka, KS
“Optimum training for a newcomer today is similar to what it has been in the past — learn skills that bring you to the cutting edge in an area you love. Also, do not specialize on a specific disease or instrument but, rather, on an organ or function. Specific diseases and instruments can vanish overnight — organs and functions do not. Finally, change is the most significant constant.”—Ray Gambino, MD

Boca Raton, FL
“One of the big differences in private practice from academia (i.e., training environment) is personal responsibility for your decisions — hopefully you will avail yourself of the wisdom of a more experienced pathologist. A second is to develop and nurture relationships with the medical staff whose patients you serve. Accurate communication is the foundation of service.”—Douglas E. Eglen, MD

Department of Pathology

Howard Regional Health System

Kokomo, IN
“The advice I would give a newcomer is to be respectful to others, may it be other pathologists, lab staff, clinical colleagues, or patients; to be modest and question one's own diagnosis; and to be a team worker. These are, in my opinion, preconditions for being a good pathologist in times when things have become very complex in medicine and, especially, pathology. Knowledge and technical procedures are important but can be learned on an ongoing basis. The right attitude toward the responsibilities of the profession are more crucial.”—Andrea Bruecks, MD

Section Head, Dermatopathology

Calgary Laboratory Services

Calgary AB, Canada
Meet CAP's new executive VP

Charles Roussel

Charles Roussel stepped into the position of
executive vice president of The College of American Pathologists
(CAP) on April 21, 2009. He is responsible for the daily operations
of the College and for reporting to the Board of Governors for the
medical society serving more than 17,000 physician members and the
laboratory community throughout the world. The CAP is the world's
largest association comprised exclusively of pathologists and is
widely considered the leader in laboratory quality assurance. The
College is an advocate for high-quality and cost-effective medical

Roussel, 46, earned a BS from Waltham, MA's
Bentley College and an MBA from the University of Chicago Graduate
School of Business. He has served on the Board of Trustees of The
Children's Aid Society of New York and Single Stop USA, and on the
Advisory Board of the Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center in East
Harlem, NY.

Most recently, in his capacity as a director
at The Atlantic Philanthropies, Roussel directed a $300 million
global philanthropic investment portfolio that benefited
disadvantaged children. He worked to bring healthcare back into
schools and advocated for greater funding for preventive medical and
mental health services.

Prior to that, as a managing partner at
global consultancy Accenture, Roussel served as an executive-level
advisor to pharmaceutical and high-technology companies; led the
firm's research on personal and home health technology; and founded
and led Accenture's mergers, acquisitions and alliances specialty
group. He has written and spoken extensively on achieving growth
through alliances.

“The CAP is a terrific organization,” Roussel
remarks, “well run and well led with a proud history. It has an
ambitious vision to transform the role of the pathologist, which I
find compelling and achievable: to become an integral part of the
patient-care team, from risk assessment, through diagnosis and
treatment, to monitoring. Pathologists grasp the fundamentals of
disease. In partnership with others in healthcare, they can help
patients better understand their diagnoses, prognoses, and options
for therapy.”

He adds, “In the rapidly advancing era of
personalized medicine, and against a backdrop of ever-increasing
healthcare costs, the College will have to leverage all of its
considerable assets — membership talent, intellectual and
technological leadership, market presence, advocacy skills and
reputation — to bring about this vision. It is the opportunity of a
lifetime to help lead this effort, and I feel privileged to be part
of something that could help transform healthcare in America.”