The Department of Pathology has 16 positions for our 4-year combined Anatomic and Clinical Pathology Residency Program, currently the only pathology training program in the state of Arizona. Our resident cohort usually contains three or four University of Arizona College of Medicine graduates who opt to stay in town for residency training and one or two MD and DO residents recruited from other schools in the state. The rest are recruited from out of state, including MD and DO graduates from around the country and international medical graduates from all over the world. This combination of native Arizonans, new transplants from other parts of the country, and immigrants from around the world closely reflects the diversity of our faculty, our city, our state, and the patients we serve.
Pathology training in our program takes place in three principal sites; Banner University Medical Center Tucson, Southern Arizona Veteran’s Administration Healthcare System, and the Pima County Office of The Medical Examiner. Our AP and CP training is completely integrated, meaning that residents rotate in both areas throughout all four years of training, rather than doing blocks of training dedicated to just one or the other. Residents rotate in one-month rotations for a total of at least 23 months on required AP services and 19 months on required CP services. We allow four months of elective time, two of which may be done at outside institutions. Our aim is to provide a solid foundation in both AP and CP such that our graduates are well-prepared for the combined AP/CP boards and have the necessary skills to practice immediately upon graduation as a general pathologist in the community setting. Alternatively, should they so choose, this foundation can be used as the base upon which to build additional skills with subsequent fellowship training, to pursue a more specialized practice or an academic career.
Our residents receive most of their training at Banner University Medical Center Tucson, affiliated with the University of Arizona College of Medicine. This is a tertiary care center that provides comprehensive care to the local population, as well as a seasonal influx of retirees (snowbirds), while also serving as a referral center for specialized services for the entire state and some areas of adjacent states. Not infrequently, patients diagnosed first in Mexico will present at this facility for specialty care as well. Residents at this site encounter a wide variety of cases, ranging from the common diagnoses represented in our local community to highly complex and unusual cases referred in from surrounding areas without the necessary expertise to manage them. The surgical pathology faculty at this site all have subspecialty expertise, mostly through specialty-specific fellowship training, and each practice in a focused area or areas. While the residents are not divided into different specialty services themselves, they sign out their mix of cases with multiple attendings each day, so that each case is reviewed with the experts in each area. Banner University Medical Center Tucson is also the site designated to perform all the autopsies for the Banner network’s extensive family of hospitals in the state, providing a very robust autopsy service, and all medical autopsy rotations are performed at this site, with faculty and staff dedicated specifically to the autopsy service. This is also the training site where specialized CP rotations are performed, as it is where our subspecialty trained CP faculty practice exclusively in their areas of expertise. A team of four hematopathologists leads the hematopathology rotation here, where residents examine peripheral smears in addition to bone marrow and lymph node pathology. Rotations in chemistry, microbiology, and transfusion medicine, all led by a dedicated faculty expert, are also part of the residents’ CP experience here.
The Southern Arizona Veteran’s Administration Healthcare System provides a second site for resident training. Here, the case volumes and complexity are generally lower, and although most faculty here also have some subspecialty training, the practice is run on a general practice model, with most faculty practicing both AP and CP. Residents in surgical pathology here sign out all cases with a single attending, and residents on CP deal with a mixture of hematology, chemistry, and microbiology, also with a single attending. Rotations at the VA allow our residents to see a different way of operating from the specialized academic center, and to experience more of what it is like to practice as a general pathologist in a community hospital.
Finally, our residents do a single month-long rotation at the Pima County Office of the Medical Examiner, usually in the fourth year, but some residents with a particular interest in forensics do an elective earlier. Largely due to its location and current circumstances along the border, this office is frequently in local and even national news. Here, residents learn about forensic autopsy, including not only the usual types of cases to be expected in a city this size but also the particular tragedies that can occur in the dangerous crossing of our desert border.
Residency Program Director
Ty Abel, MD, PhD
For information regarding the Pathology Residency Program, please contact the Residency Program Manager,
Ms. Tammy Talvy, at Talvy@pathology.arizona.edu