Post-Sophomore Fellowships in Pathology: A National Survey
Danielle E Summers, Jessica Smith, Robert Klein, Ronald Weinstein, Erika R Bracamonte. University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
Background: During the post-sophomore fellowship (PSF) program, a medical student spends 12 months exploring the field of pathology. PSF programs provide a unique educational experience and sometimes serve as a recruitment tool for future pathologists. This study surveyed US pathology residency programs to determine how many currently offer a PSF program, whether the programs recruit more students into the field of pathology, and to elucidate potential barriers to offering the PSF program at more institutions.
Design: Using the Intersociety Council for Pathology Information website as a resource, the Director of Residency Training from 129 US pathology residency programs were contacted to determine whether their program offered a PSF. Depending on their response, Directors were sent one of two surveys. Programs offering a PSF were asked the rates of past fellows choosing pathology as a career and the benefits and drawbacks to the program. Programs not currently offering a PSF were asked if they had offered a PSF in the past and the reasons for not currently offering a PSF. The average national rate of medical students choosing pathology from 2007-2011 was obtained from the Results and Data 2011 Main Residency Match.
Results: 81 of 129 residency program directors contacted responded to our survey, of which 17 (21%) currently offer a PSF and 64 (79%) do not. Of 17 programs that currently offer a PSF program, 9 maintained statistics regarding prior PSF specialty choices. Of these 9 programs, an average of 37% of past fellows chose pathology as their specialty. The most commonly cited advantages to offering a program were opportunity for in-depth pathology exposure (76%), enhancement of general medical knowledge (59%), and potential recruiting tool (35%). The most commonly cited disadvantages were additional year of training for the medical student (41%) and expense for the department (35%). Of the 64 programs not currently offering a PSF, 17 had offered a program in the past. The most commonly cited reasons for not offering the program included funding constraints (58%), lack of medical student interest (17%), and insufficient staff/small program (17%).
Conclusions: Although only 21% of responding pathology residency programs currently offer a PSF opportunity, the program remains a powerful tool for recruiting medical students into pathology. The percentage of medical students choosing pathology as a career after a PSF experience far exceeds the national average, which was 2.2% of graduating medical students in the US between 2007-2011. The advantages of a PSF program should be emphasized as a worthy investment of departmental resources.
Tuesday, March 20, 2012 9:30 AM
Poster Session III # 130, Tuesday Morning