Residency & Fellowship Programs

Why train in pathology at Columbia?

1. The faculty. The 50 full time faculty in anatomic pathology, 15 full time faculty in clinical pathology, 12 full time faculty in personalized genomic medicine, and 82 research faculty have a deep interest in teaching residents, fellows, graduate students, and medical students. The AP and CP faculty have national and international standing in all subspecialty areas of pathology and the research laboratories offer a wide range of opportunities for residents for collaboration and career development.

2. The residents. The 23 residents in the program are a diverse group with backgrounds in science and the humanities, coming from around the country and around the world. At the hospital, they are a cohesive and collegial team, working together for collective success, and go on to pursue top fellowships and jobs both here at Columbia and elsewhere.

3. The fellowships. We have ACGME-accredited fellowships in Hematopathology, Molecular Genetic Pathology, Blood Banking/Transfusion Medicine, and Neuropathology. We also offer "junior attending" positions in Surgical Pathology, GI/Liver Pathology, and Renal Pathology; these positions have full sign-out privileges and responsibilities and provide an outstanding transition from residency training to life as an attending pathologist. Residents have had universal success in obtaining their first-choice in fellowships, either staying here at Columbia or moving to programs across the country. Our fellowships and training opportunities are highly sought after, and if two or more of our own residents want to pursue the same area of specialization at Columbia, the department accommodates both of them.

4. The environment. All rotations are at the Columbia University Medical Center with the exception of the forensic pathology rotation at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of New York City. Columbia’s program has a large Residents’ Room has scores of shared textbooks and online reference materials. The residents’ shared drive has extensive resource material available online. In the resident room, each resident has his/her own desk with bookshelves, a computer and dedicated microscope. In addition, each resident is issued an iPad with pre-loaded software to allow them to access departmental programs and hospital electronic medical records. A book allowance of $500 per year may be spent on electronic or hardcover publications. The “Gross Room" for anatomic pathology has been renovated and expanded and is spacious, bright, well-ventilated and efficient. The large number of technicians and pathology assistants (PA) do the grossing for all biopsies and large specimens are shared equally between the PAs and the residents. Newly-renovated shared post-call rooms in the hospital are available to Pathology.

5. The patients. The Columbia University Medical Center provides care for an extraordinary spectrum of individuals, from tertiary and quaternary subspecialty care to common ailments. Pediatric patients from Children’s Hospital of New York, located on the medical center campus, are fully integrated into the diagnostic and teaching programs. The very active transplant programs for heart, lung, kidney, liver, and small bowel provide experience with primary disorders of those organs as well as post-transplant complications of rejection, infection, and neoplasia including post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorders. Residents are actively engaged with apheresis of transplant and other patients.

6. The flexibility. The department seeks to tailor each resident’s training to their career interests and goals. Residents who start in the combined AP/CP track may switch to single board training at the completion of the PGY1. Residents in combined AP/CP training integrate rotations in AP and CP over the 4 years of training and have 6 months of discretionary scheduling.  Residents in single board training tracks have 1 year of discretionary scheduling. In this time they may do additional clinical work, elective rotations at outside institutions, or research (the American Board of Pathology allows 6 months of full time research during residency training). Training choices are different for each resident. We expect and help each resident to have a plan for career development but also allow for serendipity and changes in focus when exciting new opportunities arise.

7. The mentoring. The department has a formal mentoring program for residents initiated during the first week of training.  Faculty support residents on individual rotations and also work closely with each resident to recommend research opportunities, additional clinical training opportunities, and to introduce them to local, national, and international colleagues in the subspecialty of their choice.   Additional mentoring is provided for junior faculty career development following residency training.

8. The responsibility. We have an extensive array of weekly teaching and didactic conferences for residents (at least 2 each day) but believe that residents learn best by doing. There is, of course, constant supervision by faculty, but we want residents to take as much responsibility as possible for individual patients and their specimen. All CP calls come directly to the resident who then discusses with an attending pathologist. Residents are actively engaged in patient care working up transfusion reactions, supervising apheresis procedures, and consulting on coagulation problems and giving interpretations of test results. Residents on intraoperative consultations interface directly with the surgical team. Biopsy and resection slides are previewed by residents who initiate additional special studies as necessary prior to signout with an attending. Residents present cases in intradepartmental conferences and also in inter-departmental conferences and tumor boards, with the backup support of attending pathologists. We believe it is important for residents to have early and extensive experience in discussions of pathologic diagnosis and case management.

9. Research. The department has a formalized Physician-Scientist Research Pathway expanding  on the American Board of Pathology pathway to be a “faculty incubator.”  This successful program has supported graduates of the residency program to become independently funded researchers.

10. The city. Living in New York City offers many opportunities for experience great art, theatre, music, food, sports, and more. New York Presbyterian Hospital - Columbia University Medical Center is only 20 minutes from midtown Manhattan by subway. Housing is readily available; housing conveniently close to the medical center is available through the New York Presbyterian Hospital Real Estate Department. Residents at the Columbia University Medical Center campus receive an additional $3,000 per year to offset costs.

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