The residency training program in anatomic pathology in the Department of Comparative, Diagnostic, and Population Medicine, University of Florida is designed to train individuals to become competent and successful veterinary pathologists with emphasis on preparation for the certification examination given by the American College of Veterinary Pathologists (ACVP).
In addition to developing strong skills in diagnostic pathology, there is emphasis from the outset on use of clinical material for academic purposes and on the application of newly acquired diagnostic skills as research tools. Publication of original findings is encouraged and supported as a part of the training. One research project and the presentation of results in oral and written form is required. The Health Science Center setting of the program, with six geographically contiguous health related colleges, allows interested residents to pursue comparative studies through the numerous specialty conferences and seminars that are available. There is also the opportunity to apply to the Graduate School at the University of Florida for entrance into a PhD program at the conclusion of the residency depending on candidate interest and funding.
The objective of this program is to prepare veterinarians to be qualified diagnostic pathologists, to provide a base set of knowledge to enable residents to prepare for the anatomic pathology board certification examination given by the American College of Veterinary Pathologists, and to introduce them to concepts of research in experimental pathology. Trainees completing the program will be skilled diagnostic pathologists capable of participating in service-oriented pathology laboratories, as well as in interdisciplinary research and testing programs commonly encountered in governmental and industrial situations. They will also be prepared to undertake advanced degree training in experimental pathology, if they choose to do so.
1. General characteristics:
Residency training at the University of Florida represents a combination of case-based and rounds-based learning. Trainees will acquire proficiency in anatomic pathology by examining case material submitted to the necropsy and surgical pathology services (approximately 750 and 3500 cases per year, respectively).
Accessions are predominantly companion animals, equine, and captive and free-ranging wildlife, with occasional laboratory and food animal species, resulting in exposure to a broad spectrum of diagnostic materials. We have four specialty pathology services, including dermatopathology, forensic pathology, ocular pathology, and aquatic, amphibian, and reptile pathology. Trainees may also rotate through Clinical Pathology (as this is included on the ACVP board examination).
Publication of results from the study of a series of cases or from a small research project is required, as is oral and written presentation of results of the project.
2. Diagnostic Services:
- Necropsy: Trainees rotate through the necropsy service for one week every 5-6 weeks. They are responsible for either performing or supervising complete necropsy examinations during their period of assignment. A faculty member is assigned with them to oversee the work. The Trainee is responsible for preparing a complete gross description of tissues, obtaining appropriate tissues for histopathologic and pertinent ancillary examinations, trimming and submission of tissues for preparation of slides and microscopic examination of tissues. After slides have been examined, a complete microscopic report is prepared by the resident. The gross and microscopic findings are reviewed by the faculty member who supervised the case. Thoroughness and precision are stressed, both to ensure that accurate, timely diagnoses are obtained and also to produce a complete archival record that will be of maximal value to clinicians and for future retrospective studies. Completion of necropsy cases usually requires an additional 1-2 weeks after the service week has ended.
- Surgical pathology: Biopsy specimens for histopathologic examination are submitted from the UF Veterinary Hospitals and from outside practicing veterinarians. This service is supervised at all times by a faculty member. Residents rotate through this service for two consecutive weeks every 5-6 weeks, with an alternating daily schedule of biopsy trimming and slide interpretation. When assigned to the surgical pathology service, the trainee is responsible for preparing a gross description of submitted specimens and for trimming specimens to be processed for microscopic examination. The slides are interpreted and a detailed histologic description is written the following day. Each case is then reviewed with the faculty member on duty and a final written report is prepared.
- Aquatic, Amphibian, and Reptile (AqAR) pathology: Trainees rotate through the AqAR service for one week every 5-6 weeks. Case material is primarily composed of field necropsy tissues, though biopsies and necropsies are also received. Trainees are responsible for the gross examination, trimming, and slide interpretation of cases representing a diversity of non-traditional species submitted from zoos, aquaria, private practitioners, and state and national government agencies under the supervision of a faculty member. Slides are reviewed with an AqAR faculty member with an emphasis on comparative pathology, histology, and anatomy and a final report is prepared.
- Forensic pathology: Trainees will rotate through the forensic pathology service. They are responsible for performing forensic postmortem examinations when cases are assigned. A faculty member will oversee the work being performed. The trainee will complete a forensic pathology report for each assigned case, obtain tissues for histopathologic examination and ancillary examinations including entomological studies and osteological trauma analysis, trim and submit tissues for preparation of slides, and microscopic examination of tissues. Cases represent a variety of non-natural processes including blunt force trauma, projectile injuries, and neglect.
- Additional specialty pathology services: Trainees have the opportunity for additional exposure to other specialty pathology services, including dermatopathology and ocular pathology, as time and interest permits under the supervision of expert faculty instruction.
3. Pathology seminars:
- Microscopic pathology conference. This weekly, one-hour seminar is presented using a variety of materials taken both from departmental files and from such extramural sources as the Joint Pathology Center. The purpose of this seminar is three-fold. First, residents have the opportunity to gain experience presenting histopathologic descriptions in front of a small, critical audience. Emphasis is placed on precision, proper nomenclature and proper presentation technique. Second, it is designed to give trainees experience composing histologic descriptions similar to those that are required on the certification examination given by the American College of Veterinary Pathologists. Third, residents are exposed to case material that might not otherwise be encountered during the training period.
- Gross pathology seminar. The purpose of this weekly, one-hour seminar is to teach residents to accurately interpret gross lesions presented in projected photographs, as is expected on the ACVP examination. Again, precision and proper nomenclature are stressed.
- Necropsy rounds. The objective of rounds is to expose residents to as many fresh gross lesions as possible, give residents practice presenting pathologic findings to colleagues, and to participate in the discussions of pathogenesis that regularly arise at this forum of clinicians, residents, and students.
- Diagnostic and Systems Based Speed Slide rounds. The purpose of these weekly, one-hour seminars is to train residents how to rapidly approach diagnostic cases and tissue systems in a systematic way with emphasis on differential diagnosis, diagnostic testing, and normal anatomy and physiology.
- General pathology rounds. General pathology rounds are offered in the fall and early spring once a week in preparation of the Phase I ACVP examination. Fundamental concepts of the general pathology of cellular injury, repair, inflammation, immunopathology, and neoplasia are presented.
Attendance of these seminars is mandatory for pathology residents. Upon successful completion of Phase I of the ACVP examination, general pathology rounds are optional. Numerous other specialty seminars (including ocular pathology, dermatopathology, oncologic pathology and neuropathology) are available, but optional.
- Resident Seminars. Annually, each resident in the UF Veterinary Hospitals is required to prepare and present a 25-minute seminar on a topic of their choice. Usually these topics are an in-depth review in a focused area within the resident’s special field of study. The purpose of this seminar series is to provide experience in public speaking and to foster interaction between residents and faculty members of other disciplines.
- Southeastern Veterinary Pathology Conference. Each year, residents select an interesting case for presentation at the Southeastern Veterinary Pathology Conference held in Tifton, Georgia during the month of May. Residents gain experience in case presentation at professional conferences and are able to meet and exchange ideas with other pathologists and residents in training.
4. Teaching responsibilities:
Veterinary medical students. Residents in anatomic pathology teach third and fourth year veterinary medical students standardized necropsy technique and how to properly describe and interpret gross lesions. These objectives are accomplished through interaction with groups of up to seven students as they rotate through the necropsy service.
Sophomore veterinary medical students. Residents assist the faculty in both the general and systemic pathology laboratories where they serve as teaching assistants for microscopic portions of the lab.
Other residents. Several outside training programs (e.g., surgery, clinical pathology, dermatology) require that their residents be exposed to the discipline of anatomic pathology. Residents in anatomic pathology assist the faculty in providing such individuals with the level of understanding of gross and microscopic pathology that is appropriate for each of their areas.
SELECTION OF TRAINEES AND FUNDING OF RESIDENT POSITIONS:
The application deadline is approximately the middle of September each year (see ACVP website; this year the deadline is September 22, 2023). Selection is announced by, or about, October 15. Starting date is around July 10-15.
There are six residents total in the program, with a variable number in each year of the program, though the goal is to accept two residents annually. Candidates must have a good scholastic record, have demonstrated commitment to a career in pathology, and have recommendation letters from referees who can comment on their academic or clinical acumen.
Trainees are selected from a pool of applicants by vote of the faculty. Selection is based on academic record, demonstrated commitment to the field, professional recommendations, postgraduate (DVM) experience, and a written statement of career objectives by the applicant. Applicants need to submit the following documents for consideration:
- A curriculum vitae
- A letter of intent that includes a clear statement of career objectives
- Official copies of professional and graduate school transcripts (if applicable)
- Three letters of recommendation
Electronic applications are required via the application portal. If official transcripts cannot be sent electronically, they may be mailed to Ms. Maura Pedersen, P.O. Box 100123, Gainesville, FL, 32610-0123. Questions about your application can be sent to Maura Pedersen (firstname.lastname@example.org). Specific questions regarding the program may be obtained by e-mailing Dr. Ian Hawkins (email@example.com).
Resident salaries are provided by the UF Veterinary Hospitals. The current starting annual salary is $50,000. A supplemental yearly stipend is provided for professional development and additional funding is available for research projects and travel. Residents are offered a competitive benefits package that includes; medical, dental, vision, life, accidental death & dismemberment, disability, and options for additional optional life insurance.
The College of Veterinary Medicine is part of the J. Hillis Miller Health Science Center complex, which also contains Colleges of Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, and Public Health and Health Professions.
The UF Veterinary Hospitals of the College of Veterinary Medicine serves as a major referral center for the diagnosis, treatment and study of animal diseases in the southeastern United States, especially northern and central Florida. In addition, clinicians and students participate in an ambulatory medical service for food animals on an out-patient basis. The Hospital is administratively organized along traditional service lines, which include medicine, surgery, radiology, pathology, clinical pathology, oncology, cardiology, primary care and dentistry, emergency and critical care, anesthesiology, theriogenology, and zoo/wildlife services.
Anatomic pathology facilities include well-equipped necropsy laboratory and surgical pathology facilities. The residents share an office. An individual microscope and computer are made available to each trainee. Additional instruction is available in the laboratories of the department and college, such as cytology, clinical microbiology, hematology, etc. A complete medical library is part of the Health Science Center complex, and some current journals and textbooks are available in the Education Center in the Veterinary Academic Building, with a good number of journals available online through the university.
Supervision of trainees is provided by faculty members as they rotate through the department’s diagnostic services. Thus, trainees work closely with all faculty members in developing cases, reviewing gross and microscopic findings, and in interpreting special ancillary diagnostic information. In this manner, the diversity of interests and disciplinary expertise represented in the faculty is made available to each trainee. All pathology faculty are members of the Department of Comparative, Diagnostic, and Population Medicine (https://cdpm.vetmed.ufl.edu/), comprised of faculty members including board-certified veterinary pathologists (clinical and anatomic), as well as parasitologists, microbiologists, anesthesiologists, and zoo/wildlife/aquatic animal health clinicians for consultation on cases and help in the development of cases with research potential.