Pre-clerkship Education

Pathology is an important and well-integrated component of the School of Medicine’s I-EXPLORE curriculum. Medical students begin with the principles of general pathology in the Pathogens and Host Defense course. Through four subsequent pre-clerkship courses, the curriculum evolves into organ- and systems-based pathology. Students learn pathology concepts through lecture, problem-based learning, team-based learning, journal clubs, and patient panels. Students are also exposed to the clinical role of the pathologist and how pathologists are integral members of a multidisciplinary care team.

Many departmental faculty serve as instructors and leaders in the I-EXPLORE curriculum. Kristin Olson, Associate Dean of Curriculum and Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, is one of the key leaders who created and implemented I-EXPLORE.

Pathology Electives

The department offers many popular electives for medical students, including an acting internship and several electives which can be 2-4 weeks in length to fit the student’s fourth year plan. We are proud that almost half the class chooses an elective in pathology. Regardless of the specialty that a student ultimately pursues as a career, our medical students recognize the importance of being a smart user of clinical laboratory services and appreciate that a strong knowledge of pathology is foundational to their future practice as physicians.

For information or CRN numbers, please contact Tina Scheib at:

PMD 435: Clinical Patient Care in Pathology
Offered Quarters I, II, III, IV
Instructor: Ashna Aggarwal, M.D.; John Paul Graff, B.S., D.O., M.A.S.
Prerequisite: Completion of year one-two courses and passage of Step 1 USMLE
Designed to give the third year medical student an exposure to the diverse roles that pathologists have in clinical patient care. The student will rotate through multiple sections of our department including services such as transfusion medicine, apheresis, microbiology, hematopathology, surgical pathology, and cytology. The student will actively participate in diagnostic procedures and consultations. Over the course of the rotation the student will complete multiple case-based problem sets within each area of the pathology laboratory.

PMD 460: Diagnostic Medicine: Pathology in Practice
Offered Quarters I, II, III, IV
Instructor: Kurt Schaberg, M.D.
Prerequisite: Completion of year one and two courses
This is an entirely online asynchronous 2-week elective for 3rd and 4th year medical students. The overall goal of this course is to bridge the gap between the foundational pathophysiology learned in the pre-clerkship curriculum and the real-world utilization of pathology and laboratory medicine studies in clinical practice through a series of case based studies. We hope to encourage smart, well-reasoned, and judicious use of the clinical laboratory and pathology department to maximize value for patient care. This course offers relevant exposure to all the main fields of pathology including: Surgical pathology, cytopathology, autopsy/forensic pathology, microbiology, hematology, clinical chemistry, molecular pathology, and transfusion medicine.

PMD 464: Anatomic Pathology (3-6 Units)
Offered Quarters I, II, III, IV
Instructor: Dongguang Wei, M.D., Ph.D.
Clinical Activity - full time (2 weeks)
Prerequisite: Third- or fourth-year medical student and consent of instructor
Designed to provide an experience in anatomic pathology and application to clinical practice. Student will participate in autopsy, specimen grossing, frozen sections, microscopic sign-out and conferences. If desired, opportunities to gain exposure to cytopathology, hematopathology, and clinical pathology are available.

PMD 465: Applied Clinical Laboratory Medicine (3-6 Units)
Offered Quarters I, II, III, IV
Instructor: Nam Tran, Ph.D., HCLD (ABB), FAACC; Clayton LaValley, M.D.
Clinical Activity - full time (2 weeks)
Prerequisite: Third or fourth-year medical student and consent of instructor
Emphasis upon laboratory techniques, procedures, and interpretation of laboratory results. Students will be expected to participate fully and in all laboratory operations, including bench techniques, laboratory management, and quality control. The course will be broken down into specific blocks that will include: Microbiology, transfusion medicine/apheresis, hematology/coagulation, molecular diagnostics, and clinical chemistry/point-of-care (POC). The number of blocks will be determined by the students’ length of rotation (2-4 weeks), interest, and faculty availability. A short presentation will be required for each student on a topic of their choice and relevant to Laboratory Medicine/Clinical Pathology.

PMD 475: Anatomic and Clinical Pathology Acting Internship (6 Units)
Offered Quarters I, II, III, IV
Instructor: Alexander Borowsky, M.D.
Clinical Activity - full time (4 weeks)
Prerequisite: Fourth-year medical student; completion of general and systematic pathology courses. Succession completion of third year clinical rotations.
This four-level course is designed to provide a concentrated experience in Surgical Pathology and Cytopathology. The student will rotate on the surgical and cytopathology sub-specialty teams and assume responsibility for patient cases. This student will gross and sign out specific cases as assigned. The student will participate in rapid diagnostic services such as frozen section and fine needle aspiration. A review of normal histology is essential and selected study sets and tutorials will be incorporated. During the last week of rotation, the student will present a 20-minute case presentation or scholarly article pertinent to diagnostic pathology.

PMD 499: Research (1-18 Units) Offered Quarters I, II, III, IV
Instructor: The Staff (Chairperson in charge)
Prerequisite: Medical student with consent of instructor
Research in experimental, molecular, comparative, and applied pathology. Limited enrollment.