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Outside the Lab Training and education

Doing Our Part

Who better to inform a platform advising medical students on finding pathology residencies than a bunch of pathology residents? This intrepid team of volunteers have all battled through the barriers, obstacles, and downright frustrations of finding postgraduate placements in pathology departments. Reflecting on what would have helped them, they are now making sure that help is available to the next generation of future pathologists. Each of them volunteers their knowledge, skills, and time to the platform. We asked them what they do, why they do it, and why they believe it’s an invaluable resource.

Meredith Herman is an anatomical pathology (AP)/clinical pathology (CP) resident at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Yasamin Mirzabeigi is an AP/CP resident at the University of Miami, Florida.

Tiarra Price is an AP/CP resident at The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pennsylvania. 

Chuan Chen is an AP/CP resident at the Mayo Clinic, Minnesota.

Jenna Aungst is a second-year medical student at Lincoln Memorial University-DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine in Knoxville and a Master of Public Health candidate at Georgia State University.

Headshots credit:

What was your route into pathology – and what support was available to you?

Meredith Herman: I was first introduced to microscope work as a laboratory science undergraduate. Fortunately, I met my mentor, who was a pathologist, and he taught me about the field and gave me a unique perspective. I knew I loved diagnostic work, so I went into medical school with pathology in mind. Sadly, my school was poorly equipped to help students like me navigate to pathology experiences and residency applications. I sought opportunities (and made my own) throughout school and ultimately established a pathology interest group. We went from nothing to something large that was entirely student led. That is what has helped motivate me to continue to contribute to causes, like MatchToPath. You may be the only pathologist that someone knows – make a difference where you can!

Yasamin Mirzabeigi: Fortunately, I had ample exposure to pathology during my time in medical school, which swiftly revealed to me that pathology is my genuine passion and future career. Engaging in multiple observerships here opened my eyes to the unique landscape of pathology in the US. I must emphasize that the pathology community stands out as one of the most encouraging and supportive. Throughout my elective rotations, attendance at various conferences, and even through social media platforms like X, I’ve received immense support from many individuals in the field.

Tiarra Price: To be honest, I didn’t know much about pathology before medical school, but I enjoyed the pathology didactics during the first two years and decided to do a pathology rotation (which was hard to find). I ended up loving the rotation and felt that it was the specialty for me. Without a lot of exposure to pathology and not many other students going in the same direction, guidance was difficult to obtain at times. However, I’m grateful to have connected with a lot of amazing pathologists who have helped me along the way, and online resources like Path-SIG and MatchToPath really helped to fill in any gaps.

Chuan Chen: I am an international medical graduate with post-graduate experience conducting research. My journey into pathology was greatly facilitated by the unwavering support of my research mentor, Stephen Nimer, along with my pathology advisors, Andrew Rosenberg, Jennifer Chapman, and Minghao Zhong. Additionally, my friends within the CMG23Path group and my family played crucial roles in my endeavors. I have a message for people like me: be proactive, optimistic, grateful, altruistic, and persistent. Be your own strongest support, and you’ll find that people and resources will also rally behind you.

Jenna Aungst: As an undergraduate student interested in forensic medicine, I met a forensic pathologist, Rachel Geller, while completing a skeletal pathology and remains recovery course at the University of Tennessee’s Anthropology Research Facility (aka “The Body Farm”). She provided me with guidance over the years, leading to a position working with her at the DeKalb County Medical Examiner’s Office in Atlanta, Georgia. At DeKalb, I had the pleasure of collaborating with a team of forensic pathologists, including Chief Medical Examiner, Gerald Gowitt, and then Deputy Chief, Geoffrey Smith, to establish an interdisciplinary education program. Their passion for patient advocacy and community outreach inspired me to pursue a career in forensic pathology. After matriculating, my medical school has encouraged me to establish our school’s first pathology interest group and multiple elective rotation sites, maintain involvement with national organizations, attend conferences, and engage in research related to workforce development in pathology. However, identifying opportunities for rotations and active learning – like access to a microscope – continues to be a challenge as the students in my program approach the match. MatchToPath has helped fill this gap by providing specialized guidance to supplement institutional efforts.

Credit: Yasamin-Mirzabeigi

How did you become involved in

MH: I serve as a contributor to MatchToPath, creator of the #PathMatch23 mentorship program, and content creator for our Instagram and X pages. I became involved with MatchToPath when I was on an away rotation at the University of Pittsburgh, where I met co-founder Terri. We worked together on cytology and began discussing interests in medical education. We discussed my involvement as Vice President of the Virtual Pathology Student interest group (@Path_SIG) and my ideas to further help students along their journey to pathology. From there, I was connected to founder Swikrity. They both welcomed me into the group and were very receptive to my ideas.

YM: I became involved with MatchToPath after attending the CAP2022 meeting, where I had the opportunity to meet Swikrity and Meredith in person. It was during this meeting that I was invited to join MatchToPath and began my contributions by serving as a panelist in a webinar focused on guiding individuals on finding elective rotations in pathology.

TP: During my fourth year of medical school, I was fortunate enough to serve as a social media co-chair for Path-SIG, where I worked alongside fellow MatchToPath member, Meredith! I really enjoyed my time with the group, who do similar work to help students interested in pathology. I was disappointed when the year ended, but thankfully I got an email from Meredith inviting me to join MatchToPath as well. It’s been a great opportunity thus far!

CC: During my residency application year, I found two invaluable online platforms that greatly assisted me: MatchToPath and Path_SIG. Recognizing the absence of a pathology interest group specifically tailored for international medical graduates at the time, I took the initiative to establish the CMG23Path group. This endeavor allowed me to work with Kamran Mirza, Casey Schukow, and Meredith Herman. Following my match this year, I felt a stronger desire to contribute and support aspiring pathologists. Seeking opportunities to give back, I reached out to Path_SIG and was subsequently introduced to MatchToPath, where I now serve as a contributor.

JA: After transitioning into a leadership role in Path–SIG, I connected with Meredith. We shared a passion for educational outreach in pathology – she was incredibly encouraging, supportive of my ideas, and invaluable in helping me learn how to grow the group’s initiatives. Meredith introduced me to Swikrity and MatchToPath, and now I help advocate for pathology from a medical student perspective.

What is your involvement in

MH: I have dedicated time towards brainstorming initiatives like #PathMatch23 as an opportunity for students to be paired with pathologists to prepare for residency applications. From my work with @Path_SIG, we were able to collaborate on webinars to broaden our audience towards senior medical students/pathology applicants. I also take pride in growing the Instagram page through education posts and reels. I’ve enjoyed coming up with ideas for blogs and recruiting pathologists to write pieces about a multitude of topics. It has brought me joy to help develop this resource.

YM: My involvement in MatchToPath revolves around our team’s core goal of aiding applicants in achieving their aspirations of becoming pathologists in the US. Besides gaining valuable insights from my outstanding colleagues, my primary role includes broadening applicants’ comprehension of the pathology residency match journey. This involves writing blogs, engaging in webinars, and providing mentorship to prospective applicants.

TP: Thus far, I’ve had the opportunity to help out with our bootcamp webinar and our mentorship program. I’m looking forward to further contributing to MatchToPath’s mission and broadening our outreach.

JA: As a new contributor to MatchToPath, I’m excited for the opportunity to increase awareness and accessibility in pathology. At the moment this includes expanding our database of elective rotation opportunities and mentors, as well as developing blog and social media posts addressing considerations in the forensic subspecialty.

Credit: Meredith Herman

Why is it important to you to be involved?

MH: Oftentimes, medical students are misinformed about the specialty, and so they go to the internet for answers. We want this resource to be widely accessible and free to both US and international medical students. Our goal is to create holistic, transparent information for students – all shared by pathologists who have been in their shoes. If we can help someone better understand the visa process or better prepare for residency interviews, we’ve helped someone get a step closer to their goals.

YM: As an international medical graduate, I navigated a distinct pathway compared with my US colleagues. As a newly arrived immigrant, I faced the challenge of understanding what criteria were crucial for pathology programs and how to make my residency application stand out. To add to this, some limitations affected the available opportunities for foreign graduates during the pandemic. MatchToPath emerged as a vital resource, providing me with precise, current information from experts – for free. It played a pivotal role in my journey, aiding me in successfully overcoming hurdles and securing my place. Having benefited so much, I am now driven by a strong desire to give back. Having been an applicant not long ago, I am acutely aware of the specific challenges faced by international medical graduates. This experience inspires me to assist future applicants, particularly international medical graduates, and continue the cycle of support. 

TP: It’s really important to me to be involved as a way to give back, since MatchToPath helped me so much during my pathology journey. It can be difficult to find mentorship and the residency application process can be confusing and overwhelming. MatchToPath provided a sense of community and support, in addition to sharing sound and useful advice.

CC: I aim to contribute to the team’s shared objective of providing reliable and easily accessible resources and mentorship to pathology residency applicants.

JA: Pathology is the best-kept secret in medicine. A significant number of medical schools use an integrated, systems-based core curriculum to introduce pathology to students and do not require rotations during the clinical years. Consequently, there is a growing need for increasing awareness of pathology as a specialty option and supporting interested students and trainees to build an effective, diverse workforce. Getting involved with MatchToPath provides motivated individuals with an opportunity to collaborate with like-minded professionals to engage and inspire the next generation of pathologists.

How would you describe the impact of this initiative?

MH: Recent data show that our website is used across the globe. Being visible and accessible makes a difference for those who do not know where to look. Pathology exposure is limited in medical schools across the globe. We aim to change that.

YM: The impact of this initiative is substantial and far-reaching. MatchToPath is a reliable resource, and it provides an invaluable platform for future applicants. This initiative serves as a beacon of support, bridging the gap for aspiring pathologists, especially those – like international medical graduates – navigating unique challenges. Our impact is profound as it empowers and supports aspiring pathologists on their journey and makes the process more transparent.

CC: The initiative led by Swikrity Baskota and the team is truly admirable. Many members of the CMG23Path group, myself included, have greatly benefited from the guidance provided by MatchToPath.

JA: MatchToPath is unique because it serves as a one-stop shop for all things related to pathology residency. This initiative supports medical students and residents at every stage of the match process by streamlining resources in one, easy-to-find location.

But don’t take it from us. Here’s a testimonial!

Maral Mohammadi

“I went to the University of Debrecen in Hungary and found MatchToPath through #PathTwitter on X (previously known as Twitter).

“MatchToPath was instrumental towards my journey into pathology as an international medical graduate. What distinguishes it is its mentorship program, connecting applicants with pathologists who offered guidance from the ERAS application to interview preparation. The Residency Bootcamp Series webinars were extremely helpful, and the platform’s integration with X fostered a sense of community. It was more than just a platform, it became a supportive community. 

“Thanks to MachtoPath’s webinars, I had the incredible opportunity to connect with an amazing mentor. Her kindness and willingness to go through each draft with me, brainstorm ideas, and provide guidance were truly invaluable. Even during her first year of residency training, she dedicated time to mentor me, and I’m forever grateful for her support. Meeting her in person at CAP this year was an amazing opportunity that further solidified the sense of community within the pathology field.”

Read more testimonials on the website!

Follow the team on social media (X: @MatchToPath; Instagram: @matchtopath)

The MatchtoPath team would love to hear from you! If you have questions or comments, they can be reached at [email protected]

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About the Author
Helen Bristow

Combining my dual backgrounds in science and communications to bring you compelling content in your speciality.

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