Lydia Howell, M.D.

Lydia Pleotis Howell, M.D.


Pathology - Anatomic

Pathology - Clinical



  • Chair, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
  • Medical Director, Clinical Laboratories
  • Professor, 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 Building

4400 V St.
Sacramento, CA 95817
Driving Directions

Primary Phone:

Additional Phone Numbers

Clinic Phone: 916-734-3330

Philosophy of Care

As medical director of the clinical laboratories, I consider every patient to be my patient. Laboratory   testing is a common and necessary part of health care since tests are pivotal to determining health status and next steps. I want every patient to receive the same level of accurate, timely, high quality laboratory test results that I expect for my own family who also receive care here. I also believe that it is our role as an academic health center laboratory to support complex care that might not otherwise be available in our region, as well as provide the everyday services that keep our community healthy.

Clinical Interests

Dr. Howell's clinical interests as medical director focus on improving laboratory quality and efficiencies, including the adoption of new leading-edge technologies. As a cytopathologist, Dr. Howell enjoys providing diagnostic service through the evaluation of samples from minimially invasive sampling methods, including fine needle aspiration biopsies, brushings, washings, and fluids.

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


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

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


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

Board Certifications

American Board of Pathology, Anatomic and Clinical Pathology,

American Board of Pathology, Cytopathology,

Professional Memberships

American Medical Association

American Society of Clinical Pathology

American Society of Cytopathology

Association of Pathology Chairs

College of American Pathologists

United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology

Honors and Awards

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

Dean�s Award for Excellence in Departmental Mentoring, UC Davis Health, 2016, 2017

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

Select Recent Publications

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

Lipscomb MF, Bailey DN, Howell LP, Johnson R, Joste N, Leonard DGB, Markwood P, Pinn VW, Powell D, Thornburg M, Zander DS. Women in Academic Pathology: Pathways to Department Chair. Acad Pathol. 2021 Apr 28;8:23742895211010322. doi:10.1177/23742895211010322. PMID:35155746. 

Howell LP, Wahl S, Ryan J, Gandour-Edwards R, Green R. Educational and Career Development Outcomes Among Undergraduate Summer Research Interns: A Pipeline for Pathology, Laboratory Medicine, and Biomedical Science. Acad Pathol. 2019 Dec 13;6:2374289519893105. doi:10.1177/2374289519893105. PMID:31858021.

Rashidi HH, Tran NK, Betts EV, Howell LP, Green R. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in Pathology: The Present Landscape of Supervised Methods. Acad Pathol. 2019 Sep 3;6:2374289519873088. doi:10.1177/2374289519873088. PMID:31523704.

Howell LP, Markwood PS, Zander DS. The Association of Pathology Chairs' Pathology Leadership Academy: Experience From the First 2 Years. Acad Pathol. 2019 Feb 11;6:2374289519826309. doi:10.1177/2374289519826309. PMID:30793023.

Howell LP. Papanicolaou Address: Why the next generation should take this journey and overcome constraint. J Am Soc Cytopathol. 2018 Jul-Aug;7(4):205-211. doi:10.1016/j.jasc.2018.03.003. Epub 2018 Apr 5. PMID:31043278.

Shauman K, Howell LP, Paterniti DA, Beckett LA, Villablanca AC. Barriers to Career Flexibility in Academic Medicine: A Qualitative Analysis of Reasons for the Underutilization of Family-Friendly Policies, and Implications for Institutional Change and Department Chair Leadership. Acad Med. 2018 Feb;93(2):246-255. doi:10.1097/ACM.0000000000001877. PMID:28834844.

Howell LP, Beckett LA, Villablanca AC. Ideal Worker and Academic Professional Identity: Perspectives from a Career Flexibility Educational Intervention. Am J Med. 2017 Sep;130(9):1117-1125. doi:10.1016/j.amjmed.2017.06.002. Epub 2017 Jun 15. PMID:28625409.

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 Womens Health (Larchmt). 2017 May;26(5):530-539. doi:10.1089/jwh.2016.6018. Epub 2017 Feb 7. PMID:28170291.

Miller KM, Ha DF, Chan RK, Andersen SW, Howell LP. Impact of a student-led community education program to promote Pap test screening among Asian-American women. J Am Soc Cytopathol. 2017 Jul-Aug;6(4):145-154. doi:10.1016/j.jasc.2017.03.004. Epub 2017 Apr 5. PMID:31043267