The journey to pathology often leads to leadership. That’s particularly true for Jasmine Saleh, MD, MPH, and Ashley Volaric, MD.

Dr. Saleh is one of this year’s Leadership Development Awards honorees. Dr. Volaric was a recipient in 2018.

Born bilaterally deaf into a world of silence, Dr. Saleh was 5 years old when she received a cochlear implant. “My journey has been an obstacle course of overcoming physical hardship, championing emotional turmoil, and battling social stigma,” Dr. Saleh said. As is the case with many pathologists, Dr. Saleh feels her personal experiences provided the characteristics that are essential for leadership.

“Travelling this road has instilled in me a strong sense of empathy, compassion, and the ability to be an astute listener who can sensitively respond to others,” Dr. Saleh said. She plans to share the stories of her journey “from research at the bench side to that of the bedside, and from the experience of walking through refugee camps overseas to health policy, quality improvement, and advocacy right here at home.”

Pathologists as Public Health Leaders

Dr. Ashley Volaric presents at the CAP18 Annual Meeting.

Like Dr. Saleh, Dr. Volaric has found that pathology provides opportunities to take on leadership roles. “Especially in the realm of global medicine and public health, pathologists are keenly trained to understand population-level disease processes, which suits them aptly for leading these kinds of initiatives.”

As a resident, Dr. Volaric was among the volunteers at the See, Test & Treat program in Norton, Virginia, in 2017. According to her, See, Test & Treat is just one example of pathologists taking the lead to directly help patients. “We are at the start of becoming public health leaders both in the United States and abroad,” Dr. Volaric said. “It is exciting to be at the start of my own career and see this unfold.”

In describing their experiences as they transition into the practice of pathology, Dr. Saleh and Dr. Volaric use words and phrases such as “broad knowledge,” “global medicine,” “exciting,” “passion,” “benefits others,” “initiative,” “innovation,” and “quality.” The overlap seems more than pure coincidence.

As recipients of the CAP Foundation’s Leadership Development Award, Dr. Saleh and Dr. Volaric stand with other honorees, setting the standard for physicians who are preparing to enter the practice of pathology.

Dr. Saleh is a resident in Anatomic and Clinical Pathology at the Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, Illinois. Dr. Volaric is a resident in the University of Virginia Health System’s Department of Pathology in Charlottesville, Virginia.

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