Lydia Pleotis Howell, M.D. for UC Davis Health

Lydia Pleotis Howell, M.D.

Distinguished Professor Emerita and Chair Emerita, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

To see if Lydia Pleotis Howell is accepting new patients, or for assistance finding a UC Davis doctor, please call 800-2-UCDAVIS (800-282-3284).



Pathology - Anatomic

Pathology - Clinical


Pathology - Cytopathology

Locations and Contact

Pathology Building

4400 V St.
Sacramento, CA 95817

Get Directions

Additional Numbers

Clinic Phone


Philosophy of Care

Dr. Howell treats every pathology case assigned to her as if it came from one of her own family members. She works to ensure that every patient receives accurate, timely, high-quality pathology and laboratory services, just as she would expect for her own family. Dr. Howell is very proud of the essential role of pathologists and laboratorians in patient care. Since 70% of all medical decisions are based on laboratory tests, her past work as medical director of the UC Davis Health's clinical laboratories ensured that comprehensive leading-edge testing was available to our region, including tests not commonly available elsewhere.

Clinical Interests

Cytopathology and minimally invasive approaches to diagnosis have been the focus of Dr. Howell's clinical practice.  She has also enjoyed serving as medical director of UC Davis Health's  clinical laboratories where she was responsibiile for over 400 clinical lab scientists, faculty and staff in the delivery of laboratory testing.

Research/Academic Interests

Dr. Howell's research interests have focused on factors influencing women's careers in biomedical science, and work-life balance. She also has a strong creative interest in health care delivery science and the role of new technologies, including artificial intelligence, and standardized guidelines and practices in improving efficiencies and accuracy in pathology and lab testing.


Anatomic Pathology

Center/Program Affiliation

UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center

Undergraduate School

B.S.M., Northwestern University School of Medicine, Chicago IL 1979

Medical School

M.D., Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago IL 1981


Anatomic and Clinical Pathology, Temple University, Philadelphia PA 1981-1985


Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine, Drexel University School of Medicine, Philadelphia PA 1998-1999


Cytopathology, Lankenau Hospital, Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia PA 1985-1986

President, Association of Pathology Chairs, 2020, 2021, 2022

Papanicolaou Award, highest honor of the American Society of Cytopathology, 2017

Dean’s Award for Inclusion Excellence (research team award), UC Davis Health, 2017

President, American Society of Cytopathology, 2011,, 2012

AAMC Group on Women in Medicine Award as co-founder of UCD’s Women in Medicine and Health Science Program, 2016

To view a detailed list of  Dr. Howell's publications, please click here.

Howell LP.  Gender disparities in recognition awards from pathology societies: what should we do? (editorial). Amer Jour Clin Pathol, aqac084, 2022

Howell LP, Wahl S, Ryan JF, Gandour-Edwards RF, Green R. Educational and career development outcomes among undergraduate summer research interns: a pipeline for pathology, laboratory medicine, and biomedical science.  Acad Pathol 2019

Rashidi H, Tran N, Vali Betts E, Howell LP, Green R. Artificial intelligence and machine learning in pathology: the present landscape of supervised methods.  Acad Pathol 2019; 

Howell LP, Markwood P, Zander DS. The Association of Pathology Chairs’ Pathology Leadership Academy: experience from the first two years.  Acad Pathol, 2019; 6:1-10

Shauman K, Howell L, Paterniti D, Beckett L, Villablanca A. Barriers to career flexibility in academic medicine: a qualitative analysis of reasons for the under-utilization of family friendly policies and implications for institutional change and department chair leadership. Acad Med 2018; 93:246-255.

Villablanca AC, Li Y, Beckett LA, Howell LP. Evaluating a medical school's climate for women's success: outcomes for faculty recruitment, retention, and promotion. J Women’s Health, 2017; 26:530-539. 

Howell LP, Beckett LA, Villablanca AC. Ideal worker and academic professional identity: perspectives from a career flexibility educational intervention, Am J Med 2017; 130: 1117-1125.

Howell LP, Elsbach KD, Villablanca AC. The role of compensation criteria to minimize face-time bias and support faculty career flexibility: an approach to enhance career satisfaction in academic pathology.  Acad Pathol  doi:10.1177/2374289515628024 

Howell LP, Lyons ML, Thor A, Dandar V. Sex differences in workplace satisfaction and engagement of academic pathologists:  opportunities to enhance faculty diversity.  Arch Pathol Lab Med 2015;139:936-942. 

Beckett LA, Nettiksimmons J, Howell LP, Villablanca A. Do family responsibilities and a clinical versus a research faculty position affect satisfaction with career and work-life balance for medical school faculty?  J Women’s Health  24(6): 471-480. 2015