• Livestream AMA: Join SDN as we welcome Dr. John Ligon, a Pediatric Oncologist with the National Cancer Institute on May 11th at 8:00 PM Eastern. Register now!

WildlifeLova

2+ Year Member
Jul 24, 2016
11
14
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Veterinary
Hi everyone!

I'm looking into anatomic pathology residencies for this year's application cycle and right now I'm drafting emails to the programs I'm interested in. I'd love to get some insight on any questions you think are "important" to ask programs and/or current residents. Right now I only have experience with my school's diagnostic facility but would appreciate any tips you guys have on other programs! (especially if you know of any really awesome programs or any not-so-great programs)

Thanks in advance!
 

JaynaAli

Need it STAT or want it STAT? They're different.
7+ Year Member
Apr 22, 2013
2,371
5,292
Status (Visible)
  1. Veterinarian
paging @WhtsThFrequency @awesomenessity

I'm a clinical pathologist and I'll give my two cents, but I tagged a couple anatomic pathology people for additional insight.

I would ask things like: How much time on necropsy vs surgical biopsies vs research, etc. What is the program's percentage of people who pass boards (including on the first time and with repeat attempts, and I'd be really interested in the recent numbers since the format changed 3-4 years ago). How much time is there for boards study and how is that structured (like do you get 2-6 weeks off of clinics prior to boards or is dedicated study time sprinkled throughout all 3 years or is there no dedicated weeks off to study). Are there other duties (call them learning opportunities!) like rounds? I would ask about research expectations and make sure those align with your goals. From what I know anatomic residencies are much more PhD driven than clin path residencies, so this can be an important aspect of the residency. I don't really know if this is appropriate to ask but it would be nice to know if residents do all the cutting in all the time or if they relax those trimming duties some later on in the program...the anatomic residents at my institution spent so much time trimming histo samples and while it's an important skill for you to have, it seems like after a year or two of trimming you reach a point of diminishing return on the learning from it and you just become cheap labor when your time would be better spent reading boards articles...but that's an outsider's view. Those are just the first few that come to my mind. The others can correct anything if they think anything was a bad suggestion.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users

awesomenessity

only cut don't close
2+ Year Member
Jun 5, 2016
675
1,675
Status (Visible)
  1. Veterinarian
paging @WhtsThFrequency @awesomenessity

I'm a clinical pathologist and I'll give my two cents, but I tagged a couple anatomic pathology people for additional insight.

I would ask things like: How much time on necropsy vs surgical biopsies vs research, etc. What is the program's percentage of people who pass boards (including on the first time and with repeat attempts, and I'd be really interested in the recent numbers since the format changed 3-4 years ago). How much time is there for boards study and how is that structured (like do you get 2-6 weeks off of clinics prior to boards or is dedicated study time sprinkled throughout all 3 years or is there no dedicated weeks off to study). Are there other duties (call them learning opportunities!) like rounds? I would ask about research expectations and make sure those align with your goals. From what I know anatomic residencies are much more PhD driven than clin path residencies, so this can be an important aspect of the residency. I don't really know if this is appropriate to ask but it would be nice to know if residents do all the cutting in all the time or if they relax those trimming duties some later on in the program...the anatomic residents at my institution spent so much time trimming histo samples and while it's an important skill for you to have, it seems like after a year or two of trimming you reach a point of diminishing return on the learning from it and you just become cheap labor when your time would be better spent reading boards articles...but that's an outsider's view. Those are just the first few that come to my mind. The others can correct anything if they think anything was a bad suggestion.

I think these are all solid questions to ask! I'll let WTF do most of the talking on this one... being Canadian and wanting to apply to Canadian schools only in my first cycle left me with a whole two options to pick from :laugh: So realistically I just decided on the program that accepted me, was closer to my home base, and I had heard good things about from the pathology people at my school. A good chunk of them did their residencies there as well so I felt pretty comfortable with my choice! I'll be starting the fall so we'll see if that holds true... haha.

I think an important thing to do (if you're able to) is narrow down your top X number of schools and visit those schools to get a feel for the community there, the culture, etc. and see if it's one that you'll enjoy. Then you can re-prioritize your top picks based on what you find. But, as one of my surgery mentors from school told me, apply anywhere you could see yourself living for 3 years. Where you end up going may not be your top choice, but if you're committed to doing the residency, you can make anywhere work for 3 years. Just some things to think about :)
 
About the Ads

WildlifeLova

2+ Year Member
Jul 24, 2016
11
14
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Veterinary
I would ask things like: How much time on necropsy vs surgical biopsies vs research, etc. What is the program's percentage of people who pass boards (including on the first time and with repeat attempts, and I'd be really interested in the recent numbers since the format changed 3-4 years ago). How much time is there for boards study and how is that structured (like do you get 2-6 weeks off of clinics prior to boards or is dedicated study time sprinkled throughout all 3 years or is there no dedicated weeks off to study). Are there other duties (call them learning opportunities!) like rounds? I would ask about research expectations and make sure those align with your goals. From what I know anatomic residencies are much more PhD driven than clin path residencies, so this can be an important aspect of the residency. I don't really know if this is appropriate to ask but it would be nice to know if residents do all the cutting in all the time or if they relax those trimming duties some later on in the program...the anatomic residents at my institution spent so much time trimming histo samples and while it's an important skill for you to have, it seems like after a year or two of trimming you reach a point of diminishing return on the learning from it and you just become cheap labor when your time would be better spent reading boards articles...but that's an outsider's view. Those are just the first few that come to my mind. The others can correct anything if they think anything was a bad suggestion.

Thank you!! I never would have thought to ask about the time spent trimming tissues, so I'll definitely keep that in mind.

I think an important thing to do (if you're able to) is narrow down your top X number of schools and visit those schools to get a feel for the community there, the culture, etc. and see if it's one that you'll enjoy.

Yeah, I originally had planned on visiting a lot of the programs I was interested in this summer via externships but COVID-19 has put all of that on hold. So hopefully I can at least visit the places this fall before deadlines! :arghh:
 

lilylilac

Ohio State C/O 2020
5+ Year Member
Aug 9, 2015
355
487
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Veterinary
Here is a list of questions I thought about/asked during my externships and emails to residencies when I was looking last year, in no particular order, and probably still some questions missing. I will be starting at Michigan State in July if you have any questions about that program specifically!

1) Is it a combined residency/PhD program? Determining for yourself if you want a PhD or not should probably be the first thing you figure out because it can either severely limit the residencies you look at or not be an issue.
2) Location - Do you see yourself living there for 3 years?
3) Salary/benefits/vacation time - I have found that these actually vary quite a bit between residencies, and it’s not altered based solely on COL for the area.
4) Amount of time on necropsy vs biopsy duty
5) Is there teaching of vet students involved in preclinical years?
6) Are there formal classes you take as a resident or is the teaching more rounds based?
7) Are you interested in a particular subcategory of anatomic path (ie. Lab animal, wildlife) - I‘m interested in lab animal and tox path so I took a closer look at programs that I knew had options to pursue these fields during residency. However I didn’t want a residency that focused solely on them because I wanted a strong general foundation for boards and a career.
8) What is the boards pass rate?
9) Will you have resident mates or will you be the only resident during your year?
10) Is the necropsy floor associated with a diagnostic lab? - may not be important to some (wasn’t for me)
11) Mental health of residents - I asked this during an interview and they seemed impressed that I had the awareness or guts to ask about it. It’s a strenuous program and I wanted to know if I needed a day off last minute, if they would be ok with that.
12) Do they provide funding for conference travel? What are the opportunities available for submitting a poster/abstract for conferences?
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

WildlifeLova

2+ Year Member
Jul 24, 2016
11
14
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Veterinary
I will be starting at Michigan State in July if you have any questions about that program specifically!

Thank you so much - these are awesome ideas!! I'm actually from MSU so welcome to East Lansing!
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
Jan 18, 2006
16,914
15,248
Status (Visible)
  1. Veterinarian
Hi everyone!

I'm looking into anatomic pathology residencies for this year's application cycle and right now I'm drafting emails to the programs I'm interested in. I'd love to get some insight on any questions you think are "important" to ask programs and/or current residents. Right now I only have experience with my school's diagnostic facility but would appreciate any tips you guys have on other programs! (especially if you know of any really awesome programs or any not-so-great programs)

Thanks in advance!

The most important question in my opinion is their board pass rate. AP (and CP) boards are no joke. If you don't pass boards (eventually, and it gets harder each time) you're swimming up **** creek without a paddle. You can be in the nicest residency in the world with the nicest people, but if you don't get the caseload, support, and education you need to pass boards, its worthless. Included in this question is 1) how residents are alotted board study time, 2) resources available for study such as slide sets and mock board exams, 3) educational opportunities such as resident/graduate level classes (we had an entire set of semesterly pathology classes for just the residents) and rounds (slide and gross, at least 1-2x a week).

Secondly, the environment. This is what you specifically need to ask the residents about. What is the workload like, how available are the pathologists for questions and help (BIG one right here). How many residents are typically on duty at a time and how many do they have total? Having only one resident mate is a lot harder than having, say, three or four - you all end up working and studying together. At my institution they always had a junior and senior resident on at the same time and it was immensely helpful. In terms of caseload, what do they typically see? How independently are they allowed to work? Do you get to interface with clin path a lot?

Thirdly, make sure to inquire about the PhD side of things, as combined residencies are pretty common in AP. How many additional years does this tack on? How many publications to residents typically come out with and in what level of journal?

I did my residency at Texas A&M, and I have nothing but the HIGHEST praise for the program. There is a reason their board pass rate is as amazing as it is. I hated College Station and Texas in general, but I would do my residency there again in a second - no question.

If you have any specific questions about programs or application advice, feel free to send me a PM :)
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users

KCgophervet

Lab Animal Vet
7+ Year Member
Jan 8, 2013
5,350
7,787
33
Minneapolis, MN
Status (Visible)
  1. Veterinarian
So, not a path person but as someone about to finish her residency (in lab animal) I want to second and third what WTF said. My most important consideration for my residency program was the boards pass rate because why spend 3 years making less money and working arguably more hours (including all the after-hours time spent studying) if you're not going to pass and be board-certified at the end of it. You can live anywhere for 3 years, but make sure its worth it in the end.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

mmmdreamerz

c/o 2021
5+ Year Member
Dec 7, 2014
4,678
6,012
villager chat
Status (Visible)
  1. Veterinarian
I did my residency at Texas A&M, and I have nothing but the HIGHEST praise for the program. There is a reason their board pass rate is as amazing as it is. I hated College Station and Texas in general, but I would do my residency there again in a second - no question.
recently had help with a cool/weird case I was writing up from an A&M pathologist (believe emeritus now). Maybe the nicest, most helpful person I’ve ever ”met.”
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
May 19, 2020
5
6
Status (Visible)
  1. Veterinarian
I’m starting an AP residency at Tufts this July so if you have any questions regarding that program (it’s gone through a recent overhaul) don’t hesitate to PM me. With regards to questions to ask during an interview all of the above questions mentioned are great. Also, you may want to ask about availability of pathologists for questions, clinician to resident ratio, didactic vs self directed learning, and volume of caseload. Also, if you have a specific area of interest like me (exotics and wildlife) there are certain programs that have more of this built in to the curriculum like Tufts and the zoo path residency at Brookfield zoo in Chicago. Also, when visiting residencies try and see if you can sit in on a rounds discussion. That will help give an idea of the dynamics between clinicians and residents and can really make or break the way you look at a particular program.
 

jaime244

5+ Year Member
Nov 30, 2015
93
42
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
I’m starting an AP residency at Tufts this July so if you have any questions regarding that program (it’s gone through a recent overhaul) don’t hesitate to PM me. With regards to questions to ask during an interview all of the above questions mentioned are great. Also, you may want to ask about availability of pathologists for questions, clinician to resident ratio, didactic vs self directed learning, and volume of caseload. Also, if you have a specific area of interest like me (exotics and wildlife) there are certain programs that have more of this built in to the curriculum like Tufts and the zoo path residency at Brookfield zoo in Chicago. Also, when visiting residencies try and see if you can sit in on a rounds discussion. That will help give an idea of the dynamics between clinicians and residents and can really make or break the way you look at a particular program.


I have a somewhat random question-someone told me when deciding where to apply for residencies, to compare the board passing rate at each school, are these numbers online or do you have to ask each school? I see the over all pass rate by specialty but not by school. Thanks!
 

JaynaAli

Need it STAT or want it STAT? They're different.
7+ Year Member
Apr 22, 2013
2,371
5,292
Status (Visible)
  1. Veterinarian
I have a somewhat random question-someone told me when deciding where to apply for residencies, to compare the board passing rate at each school, are these numbers online or do you have to ask each school? I see the over all pass rate by specialty but not by school. Thanks!
You have to ask, these aren’t published as far as I am aware. Most specialties are small and you get an idea about which ones have good reputations and which may be not as good, so talking to your mentors in the specialty or the current residents at your school can be a good place to start. I know in clin path, these questions usually get asked either during an interview after you’ve already applied or maybe in an email to residents at that program before you interview, but pathology is a little different from most specialties since it is outside of the match...applicants can pick and choose offers from pathology programs more than a surgery or internal medicine resident can.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
May 19, 2020
5
6
Status (Visible)
  1. Veterinarian
I have a somewhat random question-someone told me when deciding where to apply for residencies, to compare the board passing rate at each school, are these numbers online or do you have to ask each school? I see the over all pass rate by specialty but not by school. Thanks!

I wasn't able to find anything online myself, I asked residents at the programs because I felt like it would be a less biased answer from them. Most of my interviews were by video chat and most of the programs gave me an opportunity to talk with just residents to see what they felt about going through the residency themselves. That's really where you get the best answers.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
Feb 9, 2020
1
0
Status (Visible)
  1. Veterinary Student
Can any current anatomic pathology residents or those who have recently completed a residency give any information on how competitive it is to get into a residency? Is there any information out there on average GPAs, class rankings, or other qualities of successful applicants? Additionally, I'm primarily interested in wildlife pathology and would be interested to know if those programs that see a higher caseload of zoo/wildlife/exotics tend to be more competitive.
 

KCgophervet

Lab Animal Vet
7+ Year Member
Jan 8, 2013
5,350
7,787
33
Minneapolis, MN
Status (Visible)
  1. Veterinarian
Can any current anatomic pathology residents or those who have recently completed a residency give any information on how competitive it is to get into a residency? Is there any information out there on average GPAs, class rankings, or other qualities of successful applicants? Additionally, I'm primarily interested in wildlife pathology and would be interested to know if those programs that see a higher caseload of zoo/wildlife/exotics tend to be more competitive.
@awesomenessity may be able to help with this
 

awesomenessity

only cut don't close
2+ Year Member
Jun 5, 2016
675
1,675
Status (Visible)
  1. Veterinarian
Can any current anatomic pathology residents or those who have recently completed a residency give any information on how competitive it is to get into a residency? Is there any information out there on average GPAs, class rankings, or other qualities of successful applicants? Additionally, I'm primarily interested in wildlife pathology and would be interested to know if those programs that see a higher caseload of zoo/wildlife/exotics tend to be more competitive.

I was tagged but I probably won’t be that helpful :laugh: due to some family circumstances I only ended up applying to two Canadian schools, and only briefly looked at the American schools.

I’ve heard that it is fairly competitive to get into a residency, particularly in the states, just due to the smaller number of open positions. I don’t think it’s quite as competitive as some of the other residencies like ophtho which are known for being difficult to get into. I think the most important quality they’re looking for in residents is that you’re a good person tbh, pathology is way more focused on your references and who you know rather than strictly GPA or class rank. So I would encourage you to visit programs that you’re thinking about, so they can put a face to a name, as well as finding some solid references in the pathology field.

The heavy zoo/wildlife/exotics programs, like all things relating to those fields, are much more competitive. Even at our small program of roughly 15 residents/grad students it’s apparently a battle to get into the wildlife course because EVERYONE wants it. If you are interested in that area, UCDavis comes to mind for some reason so maybe look into that? There is also a residency out there that is directly attached to the Bronx(?) Zoo so maybe look into that as well.

Also important to know that pathology doesn’t go through the VIRMP match, so you have to send out a lot of applications! The deadlines are also around October/November for most places, much earlier than VIRMP.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users

battie

U of I c/o 2021
7+ Year Member
Nov 22, 2013
5,462
8,951
Perpetual state of disarray
Status (Visible)
  1. Veterinary Student
My only contribution is I believe that Illinois has a zoo path program through our relationships with Brookfield Zoo and Shedd Aquarium. What it entails or if it's a full blown path residency and separate from our zoo med residency is info I dont have.
 

lilylilac

Ohio State C/O 2020
5+ Year Member
Aug 9, 2015
355
487
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Veterinary
Georgia and UC Davis come to mind as well for wildlife/zoo pathology. They tend to get many applicants as two of the more popular programs.

As far as getting a residency, I think externships play a huge role. The program can get a good feel for you and vice versa. Unfortunately, externships are cancelled for the most part this year. Second is who you know and your letters of recommendation. I am unaware of consolidated information regarding GPA, class rank, etc.
 

Golden Eagle 12

2+ Year Member
Jul 30, 2017
12
15
Status (Visible)
  1. Veterinarian
Hey, sorry to bump this thread, but I’m curious as to if anyone has experience with lab animal focused pathology residencies?I’m most familiar with UC Davis, but know there’s others out there. I’m a current lab animal resident, who keeps going back and forth with contemplating getting duel board certification in lab animal medicine and anatomic path. I’m reaching out to my personal mentors to help figure out what my options are, but would love to hear back from you guys as well.
 
About the Ads

Your message may be considered spam for the following reasons:

  1. Your new thread title is very short, and likely is unhelpful.
  2. Your reply is very short and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  3. Your reply is very long and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  4. It is very likely that it does not need any further discussion and thus bumping it serves no purpose.
  5. Your message is mostly quotes or spoilers.
  6. Your reply has occurred very quickly after a previous reply and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  7. This thread is locked.