University of South Alabama

Advising Meeting

Thurs., Jan. 15, 2015 at
3:00 p.m.

USA MC 1st Floor Pathology Library


J. Allan Tucker,  M.D., Professor and  Chair
USAMC, 1st Floor 251-471-7799  


Faculty Advisors to Senior Students:

Dr. Carole Boudreaux

Dr. Eillot Carter

Dr. Andrea Kahn          

Dr. Jacek Polski  

Dr. Kelly Roveda     

 Informal Description of the Clinical Discipline

The practice of pathology involves application of modern technology to the scientific study of disease in the living patient.  Morphological observations are made at the gross, light microscopic and electron microscopic level, and specialized laboratory tests utilize a variety of techniques from disciplines such as chemistry, immunology, and microbiology.  New scientific developments are being continually introduced into pathology to enhance diagnostic capabilities.  These include techniques such as use of DNA probes to identify viruses and bacteria, use of monoclonal antibodies to identify cell surface antigens by flow cytometry or tumor markers by immunohistochemistry, and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry to identify drugs of abuse.

The general field of pathology includes many subspecialty areas.  Most pathologists obtain their basic certification from the American Board of Pathology in Anatomic and Clinical Pathology.  Anatomic Pathology includes surgical pathology, cytopathology, autopsy pathology, and forensic pathology.  Clinical Pathology, sometimes called Laboratory Medicine, encompasses clinical chemistry, hematopathology, immunology, microbiology, and transfusion medicine. Residency training also includes instruction in molecular diagnostic techniques which may be applicable to a variety of disciplines within both anatomic and clinical pathology.  Because many pathologists' practices include responsibility for directing large laboratories, training in management and medical informatics is an important part of the residency programs.

Board certification in anatomic and clinical pathology requires four years of training in an approved program following graduation from medical school. 

Pathologists practice in a variety of environments.  Most work in community hospitals and combine anatomic pathology with direction of the clinical laboratories.  In medical schools, most pathologists select one or two subspecialty areas for their practice, and many conduct related research programs.  They also are involved in teaching programs for undergraduate medical students and residents, and they collaborate in presenting conferences with all of the clinical departments.  Some pathologists direct independent laboratories (not hospital-associated), and some pathology group practices provide services to several hospitals  Pathologists' efforts are directed towards providing all patients with the best medical care possible.  This is done by supplying clinicians with essential information and expert medical opinions to assist them in their direct patient care responsibilities.  Many medical students are attracted to the field of pathology because it offers the opportunity, which is unique in medicine, for the in-depth, scientific study of the entire spectrum of diseases in all patients.


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