Leadership Award Helps Residents Find Their Path

Starting a career in pathology can be a daunting challenge as you try to plan the roadmap of your future and the best route to your professional growth, development, and achievement. The CAP Foundation recognizes that early-career pathologists may need to ask for directions from pathologists who have already navigated these difficult roads.

The CAP Foundation’s Leadership Development Award connects pathology residents with leaders in the specialty to provide the education, networking, and advocacy resources that only the College of American Pathologists can provide.

“The Leadership Development Award is a truly impactful program to the residents who are able to learn and network at a CAP event,” said Alvin M. Ring, MD, FCAP, founder of the CAP Foundation’s Future Leaders Fund. “They [the residents] will undoubtedly be found among those pathologists essential for the future of the specialty.”

The Spring 2022 Leadership Development Award application period is open until December 30, 2021. The award provides up to five residents with funding to travel to the 2022 Spring Residents Forum Meeting in Los Angeles or the 2022 Pathologists Leadership Summit in Washington, DC. Applicants must complete an application essay, procure a letter of recommendation, and supply their curriculum vitae, among other requirements. Interested parties are encouraged to learn more and apply.

As the only pathologist society registered as a 501(c)(6) nonprofit organization, the CAP has the unique ability to directly lobby with Congress and other legislative bodies on behalf of pathologists and their patients. The CAP’s Pathologists Leadership Summit provides a one-of-kind opportunity to learn more about the issues impacting the specialty, hear from experts in the field, and take direct action through meetings with Congressional representatives.

For Amanda Hermann, MD, PhD, the Leadership Development Award provided the opportunity to attend the 2021 Pathologists Leadership Summit where the often-opaque legislation surrounding laboratory medicine became clearer, and she learned how she could make a difference.

“As a resident, there are a lot of topics and issues in the field of pathology practice that I have yet to encounter and have a hard time understanding,” Dr. Hermann told the CAP Foundation.

She continued, “This conference gave me a great primer on several pathology issues of concern today and provided a foundation of understanding that then enabled me to speak confidently and accurately to legislators during the Hill Day visit.”

CAP Foundation awards also provide an invaluable mentorship program in which awardees are paired with a more experienced pathologist to provide an honest and open channel of communication for any questions regarding the specialty during those essential early years of a career.

Dr. Hermann met with Caroline Leilani Valdes, MD, FCAP, chair of the CAP Professional and Community Engagement Committee, to discuss opportunities for growth and leadership in the field. Dr. Valdez encouraged Dr. Hermann to continue her work with the Texas Society of Pathologists, of which they are both involved, but also gave advice on where to go from there.

“She also encouraged me to submit my application to serve on a CAP committee, and specifically advised me to request to serve on the committee she chairs as she thought my personality and passion for pathology would align well with the goals of the committee.” Dr. Hermann said.

After discussing more opportunities with the CAP, including details on how to apply for committee appointments, Dr. Hermann and Dr. Valdez regrouped with their fellow pathologists from Texas to meet with their state representatives in DC and discuss upcoming legislation affecting CMS reimbursement.

Dr. Hermann said, “I had heard these cuts were affecting other specialties, but I did not know how severely they would affect pathology.”

“I plan to discuss these issues with my fellow residents and colleagues at the Texas Society of Pathologists and hopefully bolster more support for advocacy on this topic.”