A team-based approach to autopsy education: Integrating anatomic and clinical pathology at the rotation level

Tiffany Michele Hébert, Sara Maleki, Ljiljana V. Vasovic, Jeffrey L. Arnold, Jacob J. Steinberg, Michael B. Prystowsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Context. - Pathology residency training programs should aim to teach residents to think beyond the compartmentalized data of specific rotations and synthesize data in order to understand the whole clinical picture when interacting with clinicians. Objective. - To test a collaborative autopsy procedure at Montefiore Medical Center (Bronx, New York), linking residents and attending physicians from anatomic and clinical pathology in the autopsy process from the initial chart review to the final report. Residents consult with clinical pathology colleagues regarding key clinical laboratory findings during the autopsy. This new procedure serves multiple functions: creating a team-based, mutually beneficial educational experience; actively teaching consultative skills; and facilitating more in-depth analysis of the clinical laboratory findings in autopsies. Design. - An initial trial of the team-based autopsy system was done from November 2010 to December 2012. Residents were then surveyed via questionnaire to evaluate the frequency and perceived usefulness of clinical pathology autopsy consultations. Results. - Senior residents were the most frequent users of clinical pathology autopsy consultation. The most frequently consulted services were microbiology and chemistry. Eighty-nine percent of the residents found the clinical pathology consultation to be useful in arriving at a final diagnosis and clinicopathologic correlation. Conclusion. - The team-based autopsy is a novel approach to integration of anatomic and clinical pathology curricula at the rotation level. Residents using this approach develop a more holistic approach to pathology, better preparing them for meaningful consultative interaction with clinicians. This paradigm shift in training positions us to better serve in our increasing role as arbiters of outcomes measures in accountable care organizations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)322-327
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Medical Laboratory Technology


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