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December 2023

Christa Whitney-Miller Named Chair of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

12/21/2023

Christa L. Whitney-Miller, MDChrista L. Whitney-Miller, MD, professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and vice chair of Anatomic Pathology at the University of Rochester Medical Center, has been selected as chair of the department and named the Frieda Robscheit-Robbins Professor after a nationwide search. Whitney-Miller has served as interim chair since September 2022. She begins her new role effective immediately. Formal approval by the Office of the Provost and the University of Rochester Board of Trustees is expected in 2024.

A surgical pathologist with a focus on gastrointestinal pathology, Whitney-Miller joined URMC in 2009 and has held numerous leadership positions, including serving as director of the Gastrointestinal (GI) Pathology Service and director of Surgical Pathology, where she is especially proud of the patient safety initiatives she led. She also is founder and former director of the GI/Hepatobiliary Pathology Fellowship.

In her clinical role, she provides consults to the Gastrointestinal Oncology; Transplant & Hepatobiliary Surgery; and Heart Failure & Heart Transplant programs. She collaborates with physician-scientist colleagues at the UR Medicine’s Wilmot Cancer Institute and has established a clinical research program on HER2 overexpression in GI malignancies. Mentoring and providing advice to colleagues is another priority for Whitney-Miller, who devotes time to the career development of faculty, trainees, and staff.

“Her experience as interim chair over the past 15 months, and nearly 15 years as a leader contributing to Pathology’s evolving clinical, research, and education missions, makes Christa the perfect choice to lead this department into the future,” said Mark B. Taubman, MD, CEO of URMC and dean of the School of Medicine and Dentistry. “A passionate dedication to her specialty, particularly expansion of translational and basic science research programs, and a strong vision about what is possible in our ever-changing health care environment will serve the department well.”

An Eye to the Future

Whitney-Miller says the coming years will usher in exciting growth opportunities for the department, as well as challenges.

She and the Pathology leadership team will continue to implement the department’s multi-phase expansion and consolidation project involving the Bailey Road Central Laboratory. Consolidating operations in a centralized facility allows for sustained growth as volumes continue to increase. Phase 3 construction is scheduled to be completed in 2024 and will make room for the Surgical Pathology team to join their clinical pathology colleagues at the Central Laboratory. Future phases will complete the vision of a fully consolidated Pathology campus at 211 Bailey Road.

Whitney-Miller will continue to support efforts to enhance the department’s successful homegrown training programs, developed to address the ongoing shortage of medical laboratory staff, such as clinical medical technicians and technologists, phlebotomists, and histotechnicians.

“It’s a privilege to have the opportunity to lead the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of Rochester, including its 1,000+ staff members, 70 faculty, and almost 100 trainees,” Whitney-Miller said. “Being from Rochester, I know the impact Strong Memorial and its affiliates have on our region.”

The department’s large clinical operation – more than 11.4 million tests are performed annually – supports all its missions: It keeps faculty engaged, provides great educational material for trainees, and is a rich resource for clinical and translational research studies.

Whitney-Miller earned her medical degree from SUNY Upstate Medical University. She completed a residency in Anatomic and Clinical Pathology and a fellowship in Surgical Pathology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Prior to joining the faculty at URMC, she served as a clinical assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, and then The Ohio State University College of Medicine.

On the national front, Whitney-Miller is active in multiple organizations, particularly the Association of Directors of Anatomic and Surgical Pathology, where she serves on their executive committee. She has presented nationally at the United States and Canadian Academy of Pathologists, as well as the College of American Pathologists.

She has received multiple honors for her accomplishments, including the 2022 Margaret Billingham Award for Best Original Paper, published in Cardiovascular Pathology; the resident award for best didactics in 2023; and the 2015 URMC Pathology Chair’s Recognition Award.

“I look forward to working with our very talented team and am confident we will continue to provide outstanding service to the people in the Greater Rochester area and beyond.”

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