Informatics Award Winners: Past and Present

Catching Up with a Former Recipient

“The Informatics Award really opened my eyes to opportunities to become involved in organized medicine; for me, it represented a unique opportunity to meet individuals who are advancing how technology is used in our specialty.”

So says Rajesh C. Dash, MD, FCAP, an active member of the CAP, a member of the CAP’s Board of Governors, and a 1997 recipient of the CAP Foundation’s Informatics Award. Serving also as the liaison to the CAP Foundation’s board of directors, Dr. Dash recognizes the value that the CAP and the CAP Foundation provide to the specialty and to CAP members.

“The award provides the funds necessary to get an introduction for how the field is changing, and who is changing it,” Dr. Dash said.

Growing up, Dr. Dash had always had an interest in technology and working with his hands. He was fascinated with video games and computers and used those skills to start developing software to help cover the costs of college. Through those early experiences, Dr. Dash learned that he did not want to sit at a cubicle being directed on what type of software to develop. By choosing pathology he was able to take his passion for programming and computer science and apply it to his interests in diagnostic medicine.

The Informatics Award offered Dr. Dash the opportunity to broaden his perspective on how to leverage his interest in computer science within the field of pathology. Dr. Dash is not only a supporter of the CAP Foundation’s grants and awards, but also the See, Test & Treat® program. This year, the CAP Foundation hosted 15 programs and offered free cervical and breast cancer screenings to underserved women throughout the country, with the hope to provide education and support to even more women in 2020.

“The CAP Foundation has a recipe for success, and we need to leverage the technology available to us to scale up on these early successes. We have the capacity and capability to do more. And that requires greater funds,” Dr. Dash said. “It is up to us to use our technology to create resources to allow pathologists to be the champions in their own health care systems to run these programs. It can be very challenging and intimidating, but we have the pathologist leaders that can do it.”

Getting to Know This Year’s Awardees

Guillermo G. Martinez-Torres, MD, FCAP

Clayton LaValley, MD

Guillermo G. Martinez-Torres, MD, FCAP

Alex Clavijo, MD

Alex Clavijo, MD, Augusta (Georgia) University Department of Pathology; Huiya Huang, MD, PhD, Medical College of Wisconsin Department of Pathology; Clayton LaValley, MD, University of Vermont Medical Center (UVM); and Mona Wood, MD, PhD, Stanford (California) Hospital & Clinics received the 2019 CAP Foundation Informatics Award at CAP19, the College of American Pathologists Annual Meeting.

Their interests are similar to those of Dr. Dash.

For example, Dr. Clavijo, the AP/CP chief resident at Augusta University, is working on an app-based communication system to report critical values instead of a phone call and page.

“This award has allowed me to attend cutting-edge lectures from some of the biggest names in informatics. The opportunities for networking were great as it gave me more insight on potential future projects and possible fellowship opportunities,” Dr. Clavijo said.

Clayton LaValley, MD, (left) shows a junior resident how to use UVM Medical Centers lab information system (Epic Beaker) with its new voice recognition software, M*Modal.

Technology is also an interest for Dr. LaValley.

A fourth-year anatomic and clinical pathology resident at the University of Vermont Medical Center, he is currently working on his department’s implementation of Epic Beaker as well as a new voice recognition/dictation platform, M* Modal. The goal is to optimize pathologist and resident workflow during sign-out and in the gross room.

“The Informatics Award provides residents with the opportunity to learn more about the field of informatics that might otherwise be lacking in their residency training,” Dr. LaValley said.

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