The primary training facility for the fellowship program is the LAC+USC Medical Center, a state-of-the-art facility with a 600-bed inpatient capacity and outpatient clinics in all specialty and numerous sub-specialty areas. The facility generates over 21,500 cytology accessions, including 2,300 fine needle aspirations, 2,900 non-gynecologic exfoliative and 16,000 gynecologic Pap tests per year. The Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine operates a fine needle aspiration clinic, where 5 to 10 patients are seen each business day.
Fellows are given graded responsibilities over microscopic review and sign out of all cytologic specimens and performance of fine needle aspiration procedures on superficial sites. Training in basic ultrasonography to assist in localization of palpable masses is provided to complement basic aspirations. Fellows are responsible for preparing and conducting clinicopathologic correlation conferences, cyto-histologic correlation conferences and tumor boards. Thin-layer preparation cytology methods are utilized on most gynecologic Pap tests and some non-gynecologic exfoliative samples. The Medical Center has a high risk population and the cervical cancer rate is more than triple that of the state or of the nation. Fellows are expected to perform research that will lead to publications or presentations at national meetings.
Teaching responsibilities that include individual resident teaching, lectures and journal club presentations are incorporated into the program. An emphasis is placed on refinement of communication and teaching skills, whether dealing with pathology colleagues, clinicians, patients or families. Fellows must select one quality improvement project for analysis. They are encouraged to design and complete a research project, either a clinicopathologic study or a project utilizing the extensive research resources of the department. Most often the work is presented at national pathology meetings.
Each fellow will select a research topic with the help of a faculty member. The fellow-faculty team will design and carry out the study. Departmental funds may be available for select studies.
Finally, fellows are encouraged to join and to actively participate in national cytopathology and pathology organizations so as to develop confidence in their ability to influence the current and future practice of their profession.