Foundation Fosters Next Generation of Pathologists

The CAP Foundation connects some of the best medical students from across the country to career opportunities in pathology. Since 2018, the foundation has awarded 22 travel awards to medical students with an interest in pathology, enabling them to attend the CAP annual meeting and learn more about the specialty.

The CAP Foundation checked in with the inaugural award winners from 2018. Of the 10 initial recipients, eight have expressed a sincere interest in the field, and two are already in pathology residency programs.

Elizabeth Doughty, MD, PhD, is currently in her first year of pathology residency at the University of Colorado. While balancing the move to a new city along with her clinical responsibilities and studies has been trying, she said she’s enjoying the experience and sees multiple avenues for fulfillment in her career.

“I love the opportunity to dive into the disease process and explore the cause and effect on the gross, cellular, and molecular scale,” Dr. Doughty said. “There are countless opportunities for both learning and teaching at all levels.”

Austin McHenry, MD, now in a pathology residency at Yale-New Haven Hospital, shares Dr. Doughty’s enthusiasm for the field.

“It is extremely refreshing to be around people who like pathology as much as I do,” Dr. McHenry said. “I am only halfway through my first year of training, and I am already pretty amazed at how much I have experienced, learned, and changed.”

They both credit their experiences at CAP18 as guiding their choice to pursue a career in pathology, as well as giving them the connections and confidence to succeed on that path.

“Attending CAP18 as a medical student gave me a tremendous advantage in planning my career trajectory,” Dr. McHenry said. “It set the stage for me to acquire skills that I have applied in my residency program to get the most out of my training.”

Dr. Doughty shared similar sentiments about her time at the annual meeting. “Attending poster sessions gave me confidence on my future research and presentation efforts for conferences,” she said. “I was introduced to numerous interesting cases that bolstered my growing excitement for the field of pathology.”

As part of the award, medical students are each assigned a resident mentor who helps guide them through the meeting and provides valuable advice to the up-and-coming pathologists.

“Mine was awesome,” Dr. McHenry said, speaking of his CAP18 mentor. “He imparted a lot of advice unto me that I can in retrospect see was extremely useful.”

The CAP Foundation is proud to give medical students exposure to the field of pathology. If an awardee determines the specialty is a good fit, it’s a win-win: The student is better positioned to enter a pathology residency program that will advance their career, and the next generation of pathologists gains another member.

Drs. Doughty and McHenry are two cases of such a match.

“I get so excited talking about gross and cellular findings of cases that I feel this field must be the right forever home for me,” Dr. Doughty said.

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