Program Overview

Dermatopathology

The aim of Penn State Hershey Dermatopathology fellowship is to train physicians to excel in clinical dermatopathology.  This is accomplished by providing an environment that encourages personal growth and inquiry, and scientific discovery.   Critical and analytical skills necessary for the acquisition of new medical information are developed.  Fellows will acquire a comprehensive fund of knowledge essential for the diagnosis and management of the wide variety of entities encountered in clinical dermatopathology.  The fellow will be exposed to the subject matter necessary for passing the certifying examination.

To accomplish this, a faculty dedicated to patient care, teaching, research, and intellectual curiosity will provide the infrastructure for the fellowship learning experience. The fellow will be expected to be self-motivated, collegial, and exhibit the highest levels of personal integrity.  Fellows must be responsive to guidance, invest the time and effort necessary for independent learning, and be dedicated to providing the highest quality patient care.

Fellows will be spending ½ of their time in dermatopathology sign out.  The fellow will be expected to formulate a diagnosis and a differential diagnosis in all cases before the supervising attending signs out.  With approximately 20,000 accessions per year, the fellow will be exposed to a variety of common and uncommon diseases.  The fellow will also be responsible for dictation of over 400 consult cases received from other pathologists and dermatopathologists.  The three staff dermatopathologists have an extensive teaching collection of interesting cases that the fellow will be expected to review.  All fellows will be expected to perform research and publish a research project based upon their interests.  The department of Pathology has internal grants available for funding projects requiring monetary support, along with a full time research technician.

Additional Training of Dermatology Trained Fellows

The fellow will spend one morning a week in the surgical pathology gross room where the fellow will participate in gross dissection, especially specimens of interest to dermatopathology such as skin, soft tissue, and lymph nodes.  Two mornings a week will be spent participating in surgical pathology sign out.  One morning a week the fellow will have elective time to participate in subspecialty sign out of interest such as hematopathology, cytology and neuropathology.  Throughout the year the fellow will participate in any autopsies with dermatologic findings or diseases of interest. 

Additional Training of Pathology Trained Fellows

Pathology trained fellows will spend 3 (½) days a week in Dermatology clinic.  In these clinics the fellow will see patients, write the notes, dictate referral letters, write the prescriptions, and be responsible for follow up just like a first year Dermatology resident  This active learning rather than passive observation will help provide a good clinical foundation for a career in dermatopathology.  One half day a week will be open for elective time in Moh’s surgery, or other specialty clinics of interest.

In Summary, the fellow regardless of his or her background should receive an excellent training in Dermatopathology which should serve as a solid foundation for a future career in either private practice or academics.