We are embarking on a new era in pathology training with the creation of a joint Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) residency training experience. BWH and MGH each have outstanding - but historically separate – pathology training programs, both located in Boston, Massachusetts and affiliated with Harvard Medical School. While the BWH and MGH pathology residencies have operated independently of one another for over 50 years, we are now coming together to provide a joint training experience, beginning in July 2023. To learn more, please visit: education.mgbpathology.org.
The Anatomic Pathology (AP) and Clinical Pathology (CP) residency curricula in the joint training experience are designed to provide a concentrated core training experience followed by enhanced flexibility in the later years that enables each resident to customize training to suit individual interests and needs. The residency program is available as either a three-year program in AP, a three-year program in CP, or a combined four-year program (AP/CP). AP/CP residents will spend the first year entirely in AP rotations. This means that residents do not have to decide between the AP or AP/CP tracks before the interview, or even before starting residency; the program offers flexibility to make that decision during the PGY1 year.
The Core AP program consists of a broad mix of surgical and autopsy pathology and cytopathology, plus subspecialty rotations. All trainees seeking CP alone or AP/CP complete a Core CP program consisting of rotations in Chemistry, Microbiology, Transfusion Medicine, Hematology, Coagulation and Molecular Diagnostics. Senior residents in any of the three tracks choose from a broad array of advanced subspecialty rotations, research, and/or leadership positions such as Chief Resident. Senior residents assume increased diagnostic, teaching, and administrative responsibilities on autopsy, frozen sections, surgical pathology and laboratory services, with appropriate senior staff supervision. In accordance with requirements of the ACGME (the principal accrediting agency for residency programs nationally), competency-based training and evaluation are emphasized.
We have very carefully considered the best structure for this new multi-hospital training initiative, and have sought input from current residents, recently-graduated residents who entered multi-hospital fellowships, subspecialty faculty leaders and other combined BWH-MGH residency training programs. Based on all input, our goal is to assign residents to spend substantial blocks of time at each hospital, in order to have equivalent exposures at both departments to the majority of subspecialties throughout their core training (core = 24 months for AP or CP; 36 months for AP/CP). We will not expect residents to travel back and forth between the two hospitals within the same day, or even within the same month during their core training. We also plan to ensure that core rotations are organized in such a way that residents gain maximum exposure to their classmates.
Residents who are currently in the BWH and MGH programs (i.e., those who started before the incoming July 2023 class) will remain within their existing curriculum, with the added option to do rotations at the other hospital.
A critical component of the joint training experience will be shared didactics. Indeed, while working together to develop our future joint training experience, the value of a collective educational curriculum became so clear to us that we have initiated shared didactics this academic year (2022-2023), even though our joint clinical training experience will not start until the 2023-2024 academic year.
Individualized programs will be designed in conjunction with each resident trainee prior to each academic year, with consideration given to level of training, individual preferences, long-term goals, and Board requirements. Residents may choose to do multiple pathology subspecialty fellowships or a combination of subspecialty and research training. The overall training experience will provide exceptional preparation for a broad range of career paths in academia, community or industry.