Dr. Alvin Ring Advances Pathology’s Future Via Fund

Health care headlines over the past few years have warned of a shortage of pathologists in the US, threatening to leave the nation’s laboratories and medical examiner’s offices frantically scouring for enough experts to conduct essential testing.

Alvin M. Ring, MD, FCAP

Alvin M. Ring, MD, FCAP

While recent research from CAP members in JAMA has shown the workforce situation to be less dire than some thought, the CAP Foundation is nevertheless committed to supporting future pathologists today to help secure the specialty’s future.

Alvin M. Ring, MD, FCAP, has helped lead several initiatives as a board member of the CAP Foundation and most recently gave a significant donation to establish the Future Leaders Fund.

Throughout his 50-year career as a pathologist, professor, and mentor, Dr. Ring understood the importance of cultivating the future leaders of the specialty and said he was pleased to help lead the Foundation’s efforts via the fund.

Dr. Ring also shares concerns regarding a lack of interest in pathology from prospective medical students in the US. “The positive features of pathology need to be impressed on students and negative impressions countered,” he said. “The best ones to do this are the contemporaries of the students.”

However, there is also a role for practicing pathologists and even emeriti, whom Dr. Ring likens to “alumni”—the “college” receiving support in this case being the College of American Pathologists.

The Medical Student Travel Award aims to foster connections by giving medical students the opportunity to attend a CAP event like the annual meeting and Residents Forum. These students are paired with an early-career pathologist who can help guide them through the event, answer questions about the specialty, and help them network and plan for a career in the field.

After hearing back from medical student awardees who attended CAP20 Virtual, Dr. Ring and the Foundation are confident that the program is inspiring medical students to choose the specialty—students who could soon become CAP leaders.

Henrietta Fasanya, PhD, a current student at the University of Florida, appreciated the opportunity to network with pathology leaders, learn about key policy issues affecting the specialty, and get an introduction to pathology subspecialties.

“As a student who recently became interested in pathology about a year ago, I continue to be amazed by the pathology community,” Dr. Fasanya said. “I consistently see tremendous support for students and trainees regarding academic and professional development.”

Cullen Lilley, a current medical student at Loyola University, also shared his thoughts with Dr. Ring after attending CAP20 Virtual, saying that he greatly appreciated the connections he made while engaging with the pathologist community at the virtual meeting and through social media.

Lilley said, “This award connected me with the incomparable Dr. Adam Booth [president of the Residents Forum] who has been an outstanding mentor and career advisor, and that experience alone is invaluable.”

Dr. Ring has received great feedback from award recipients, and the CAP Foundation has seen increased interest in both the Medical Student Travel Award and the Leadership Development Award, which introduces pathology residents to the specialty’s issues and leadership opportunities through CAP meetings and events.

Before his time on the board of directors, Dr. Ring volunteered to help review grant applications for the Foundation. After reviewing applications for the Leadership Development Award, which at the time had three available slots, he donated additional funds to provide a total of eight deserving applicants with the opportunity to learn more about the specialty as a career choice.

Fortunately, Dr. Ring said, this “set a precedent.” The CAP Foundation and its donors continue to annually provide up to eight pathology residents with the Leadership Development Award and will continue to assess funding to make a meaningful impact for early-career pathologists.

Learn more about the CAP Foundation’s grant and award opportunities, and join Dr. Ring and the many others who support the Foundation’s mission to foster the next generation of pathologists by making a donation.