The Cytopathology Fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital, a one-year, ACGME-approved program provides advanced training in diagnostic cytopathology under the supervision of nine staff cytopathologists. The goal of the program is to train cytopathologists who will become leaders in the field. Whether the candidate intends to practice in an academic setting or in a community based practice, the combination of clinical, teaching, and research opportunities will prepare the trainee for any eventuality.
In 2016, the Cytopathology Laboratory processed 18,187 non-gynecologic specimens, and 4,735 fine needle aspirations (FNAs), including 519 FNAs from the FNA clinic. Additionally, we processed 25,670 gynecologic cases, and 18,361 HPV tests (Roche Cobas).
The fellows are given gradually increasing responsibility in cytopathology with appropriate supervision. Work-up of clinical cases is facilitated by a modern pathology information system that is integrated into the hospital information and electronic record systems. Cytopreparatory techniques are taught. Training also includes performance of superficial fine needle aspiration biopsies with ultrasound guidance, rapid interpretation of deep needle aspirations performed by the radiologists, interpretation of ancillary tests including immunocytochemistry, flow cytometry, fluorescence in-situ hybridization, electron microscopy and molecular techniques. Aspects of quality assurance and laboratory management are integrated throughout the year.
Teaching responsibilities that include individual resident teaching, lectures and journal club presentations are incorporated into the program. An emphasis is placed on refinement of communication and teaching skills whether dealing with pathology colleagues, clinicians, patients or families. Fellows must select one quality improvement project for analysis. They are encouraged to design and complete a research project, either a clinicopathologic study or a project utilizing the extensive research resources of the department. Most often the work is presented at national pathology meetings.
Each fellow will select a research topic with the help of a faculty member. The fellow-faculty team will design and carry out the study. Departmental funds may be available for select studies.
Finally, fellows are encouraged to join and to actively participate in national cytopathology and pathology organizations so as to develop confidence in their ability to influence the current and future practice of their profession.
Prior to appointment in the program, fellows must have one of the following: at least two years of a pathology residency accredited by the ACGME or of a program located in Canada and accredited by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC); or certification by the American Board of Pathology in anatomic pathology and clinical pathology or in anatomic pathology. If a graduate of an international medical school, the applicant must have a valid ECFMG certificate. The candidate must also be eligible for employment in Massachusetts and obtain a Massachusetts medical license prior to starting the fellowship.
Structure of the Cytopathology Fellowship
In order to develop diagnostic acumen, the fellow spends approximately half of the year on cytopathology sign-out. Although always under supervision, the fellow is the primary cytopathologist in charge of cytology cases along with the accompanying surgical pathology, either cell blocks or core biopsies, and is responsible for professional communication with clinicians, radiologists and cytotechnologists and for timely completion of signout. The fellow will spend four weeks in the cytopathology division of the Brigham and Women's Hospital in order to be exposed to a varied case mix and to alternate methods in laboratory management and cytopreparatory techniques. A three-week rotation in the Mass General molecular pathology laboratory is part of the program. Outside of the four weeks of vacation, the fellow will spend the remainder of the year working on projects. Duty hours are 8:00 am to usually 6:00 pm, but no later than 9:00 pm, Monday through Friday. There is no on-site night or weekend call responsibility.
To apply to our program, please email the following materials to Tony Brooks at email@example.com:
- CAP Standardized Fellowship Application (place hyperlink to application here)
- Curriculum Vitae (must be in year/date format. E.g., 00/0000)
- Personal Statement
- USMLE Steps 1, 2, & 3 Score Reports
- Three Letters of Recommendation (one letter must be from either your current program director or your department chair)
- Wallet-sized Photo
- ECFMG Certificate (foreign medical graduates only)
- Copy of MD Degree (foreign medical graduates only)
Please do not send application materials via ground mail. All application materials should be emailed to Tony Brooks at firstname.lastname@example.org
Please remind your letter writers that even though they are sending their letters via email, all LORs must be on institutional letterhead, dated, and signed.
Elena F. Brachtel, MD
Director, Cytopathology Fellowship Program
Massachusetts General Hospital
55 Fruit Street, Warren 219
Boston, Massachusetts 02114-2352