Training & Curriculum

The one-year Molecular Genetic Pathology Fellowship program encompasses education in all techniques and skills needed for excellence in practice of molecular genetic pathology (MGP), which is accomplished in a coordinated fashion. Fellows gain experience in the practice and administration of MGP, including how to select, apply and interpret molecular studies. Fellows also learn how to create cogent and integrative reports in a variety of areas, including hematopathology, infectious diseases, solid tumors, inherited diseases, genetics, cytogenomics and biomedical genetics. Fellows also spend one month in a medical genetics clinical rotation at UCLA and may take up to two months of elective time to focus on a research project incorporating the techniques of molecular diagnostics or to develop deep skills in a particular area of MGP. In addition to these rotations, fellows participate in the UCLA intercampus genetics program lecture series every Monday morning.


Curriculum

The Cedars-Sinai molecular pathology and cytogenomics services provide the fellow an opportunity to evaluate a wide range of clinical testing modalities. Fellows work with and mentor residents while on these services and prepare cases prior to daily sign-out.


Rotations

  • Cedars-Sinai Molecular Pathology (six months)
    • Molecular hematopathology
    • Molecular solid tumor
    • Molecular microbiology
    • Molecular bench
  • Cedars-Sinai Cytogenomics (two months)
    • Karyotype and FISH
    • Microarray
    • Cytogenomics bench
  • Molecular genetics (one month)
  • Medical genetics (one month)
  • Elective (two months)


Conferences

The fellow participates in departmental and interdisciplinary conference with the Cedars-Sinai Medical Genetics Institute and the Division of Hematology and Oncology, including clinical case conferences and case reviews.


Mandatory MGP Conferences

  • Molecular Pathology Journal Club, monthly
  • UCLA human genetics research seminars, monthly
  • UCLA seminar series, medical genetics seminar, weekly
  • Cedars-Sinai prenatal conferences, weekly
  • Cedars-Sinai cytogenomics laboratory meetings, monthly
  • Hemepath/Oncology genetics conference, monthly
  • Molecular and cytogenomics development meeting, bimonthly
  • Molecular pathology interesting case conference, monthly
  • Quality assurance and assay development conference, weekly
  • Clinical Pathology Performance Improvement Committee meeting, quarterly

Fellows are expected to prepare and present at many of the above conferences. Fellows are encouraged to attend other departmental and interdepartmental conferences and educational endeavors to maintain competence in general pathology.


Administrative Responsibilities

The fellow has administrative responsibilities as part of the program structure, affording an opportunity to learn skills required for academic and private practice. Administrative quality assurance activities in which the fellow participates include

  • Validation of novel tests in collaboration with the scientific directors, supervisors and managers of the laboratory
  • Laboratory management and administrative group meetings
  • Clinical pathology performance improvement committee meetings
  • At least one quality improvement project
  • Review of MGP reports of College of American Pathologists required elements


Teaching Responsibilities

Cedars-Sinai has an anatomic and clinical pathology residency program with 20 residents. The fellow is expected to take an active role in resident education, honing teaching skills during the year. The fellow teaching activities include

  • Supervising residents during their molecular pathology and cytogenomics rotations
  • Assisting residents in molecular techniques, applications and interpretations during hematopathology and anatomic pathology rotations
  • Clinical pathology didactics, one annually
  • Instructing medical genetics fellows in the different techniques used in molecular pathology for genetic diagnosis


Research Responsibilities

Research is considered an important aspect of education and has strong departmental and institutional support. State-of-the-art research techniques are available.

  • At least one clinical or translational research project resulting in an abstract presentation at national meetings and publication is expected.
  • Research must be in the Division of Molecular Genetic Pathology.

The department provides funds for the purchase of books and/or attendance at national meetings. If an abstract is presented at a meeting, additional funds and time off are provided.

Additionally, Cedars-Sinai fosters and trains fellows, residents and junior faculty who wish to conduct clinical and translational research upon graduating from the program. The Clinical Scholars Program provides funding, career guidance, education and skill acquisition for aspiring clinical scientists.


Evaluations and Mentorship

The program director meets with the fellow at the beginning of the academic year to identify the fellow's goals and career aspirations, create an individualized development and learning plan, and tailor training as needed. The program director also meets with the fellow at least biannually to review the fellow's evaluations, ensuring that the fellow is on track to meet all appropriate milestones, make considered career choices and engage with local and national pathology organizations. In addition, the fellow has open access to the program director to discuss any issues that may arise throughout training.

Evaluations are based on Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education Milestones incorporating the six competencies into the curriculum (medical knowledge, patient care, interpersonal and communication skills, professionalism, practice-based learning and improvement, and systems-based practice). Assessment tools include direct observation, faculty evaluations, 360 evaluations, fellow in-service examinations, educational and research activities, quality assurance and patient-safety activities, and conference presentations. The fellow will also become a member of the fellowship Program Evaluation Committee, reviewing the fellowship program and offering insight regarding areas in need of improvement.