The thoracic fellow is committed to nine months of clinical service on the thoracic pathology bench during which time the fellow is involved in case analysis, frozen sections and presentations at clinical conferences including thoracic oncology conference, lung transplantation conference, and general surgical pathology conferences. The thoracic fellow is expected to work closely with residents and pathology assistants in the gross processing of surgical specimens (as an instructor, not primary dissector), as well as in the performance and interpretation of intraoperative consultations. Three months of the fellowship is devoted to elective time, during which the fellow is encouraged to gain additional experience in thoracic cytopathology and molecular anatomic pathology.
Unique features of the fellows training at the University of Pittsburgh relate to five aspects of the program. First, both surveillance and clinically necessitated transbronchial biopsies in lung allograft recipients provide an exceptional experience in learning transplantation pathology, including potential rotations in general transplantation pathology where similarities and differences between pulmonary rejection and liver, kidney, cardiac, and small intestinal rejection can be highlighted. Second, the thoracic surgery division of the University of Pittsburgh has an active program in lung reduction surgery, which allows the fellow to participate in the assessment of chronic obstructive lung disease, including potential relationships with James Hogg, MD at the University of British Columbia. Third, the thoracic oncologic surgeons at the University of Pittsburgh have a huge practice allowing an exposure to a tremendous amount of neoplastic thoracic pathology. This clinical effort also translates to potential participation in the lung SPORE at the University of Pittsburgh, coordinated by Jill Seigfried, PhD. This would allow the fellow to participate in basic science research programs if this is their orientation. Fourth, the location of Pittsburgh allows the thoracic fellow to learn the subtleties of occupational lung disease – coal workers pneumoconiosis, silicosis, asbestosis, and malignant mesothelioma. Fifth, the faculty on thoracic disease have an active consultation practice that the fellow is involved in managing.
The Thoracic Pathology Fellowship is, in general, a one year fellowship. If, however, the fellow is interested in pursuing additional years, this can be negotiated. Similarly, at the present time, the section is recruiting an additional thoracic pathologist. Outstanding thoracic fellows will certainly be considered for an academic appointment at the University of Pittsburgh as an Instructor or Assistant Professor in Pathology.