“A pathologist deals with the causes and nature of diseases and contributes to diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment through knowledge gained by the laboratory application of the biologic, chemical, and physical sciences. This specialist uses information gathered from the microscopic examination of tissue specimens, cells, and body fluids, and from clinical laboratory tests on body fluids and secretions for the diagnosis, exclusion, and monitoring of disease.” – AAMC website

The Pathology Interest Group seeks to introduce pre-clinical and clinical students to the wonderfully diverse and rewarding field of pathology and offer guidance to students interested in further exploring the field.  We encourage students with interest in diagnostic medicine, research, and/or medical education to contact the interest group leader (below) with any questions or concerns and to be included in future communication from the group. 

See the Specialties page if you have not yet registered for AAMC CiM

Subspecialties in Pathology:

blood banking/transfusion medicine
chemical pathology
clinical informatics
forensic pathology
medical microbiology
molecular genetic pathology
pediatric pathology


Training/residency information:

Residency training for pathologists is three to four years. Residents can receive their training in either combined anatomic pathology (AP) and clinical pathology (CP), (which requires four years of training), or in AP-only or CP-only programs which each require three years of traininganatomic pathology only (requiring three years of training), or clinical pathology only (three years of training).  Most residents complete combined AP/CP programs, though many programs are amenable to residents starting a combined AP/CP program and switching to AP-only or CP-only as they further define their career goals.  Practice in a pathology subspecialty requires one additional year of fellowship training (with the exception of two additional years for neuropathology).


NRMP Data from 2015:

155 programs with 605 positions
93% match rate for US seniors
Mean USMLE Step 1: 231 (matched), 217 (unmatched)
Mean USMLE Step 2CK: 241 (matched), 230 (unmatched)

Aaron Lim (

Faculty Advisor:

Dr. Joyce Johnson (joyce.johnson@vanderbilt)

Dr. James Atkinson (james.atkinson@vanderbilt)

VUMC Residency Director:
Dr. Robert Hoffman (

VUMC Faculty to Contact:
VMS students have recommended these faculty members as great contacts for career info, shadowing experiences, and research opportunities

Dr. Alice Coogan (

Dr. Emily Reisenbichler (


Outside Web Resources:

American Board of Pathology

American Society for Investigative Pathology

American Society for Clinical Pathology

College of American Pathologists