We recently caught up with Dr. Brooke Koltz, a former Pathology resident at the University of Rochester (2008-2012) and Cytopathology fellow (2012-2013).
After training and working in Rochester, she and her family moved to the Philadelphia, PA area for a year and recently moved to Perrysburg, OH, near Toledo. This is a homecoming of sorts for Koltz, who grew up in nearby Whitehouse, OH.
She will start a new role this month at the University of Toledo Medical Center (where she also attended medical school). Her clinical responsibilities will include surgical pathology, cytopathology, and resident education. Here, she shares more about the experiences that led her to this moment in her career.
Tell us about your family.
I am married to Peter Koltz, who was also a resident at University of Rochester in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. We have four children, Eleanora (9), Henry (7), Cecilia (4), and Simon (2).
What first sparked your interest in pathology?
I went into medical school thinking I would become an emergency medicine physician, but I am so glad that I didn’t. I was one of those rare students that was fascinated by histology and pathology labs in the first and second year of medical school.
Even so, I was still set in pursuing clinical medicine until I took an elective pathology rotation on a whim late in my third year. In about a week, my whole outlook changed. As I sat across the multi-headed scope from the attendings and residents, I realized that what they did was ‘medicine’ to me. From then on I pursued a career in pathology. So far, I have no regrets.
When you look back on your time here, is there a particular person or experience that made a great impact on you professionally or personally?
The entire Cytopathology department had an impact on me both professionally and personally. Not only did the department educate me and prepare me for my future career, but I truly enjoyed being a small part of the talented team for a few years.
I often find myself repeating things that Dr. Giampoli, Dr. Zhou, and Dr. Yao taught me when I sit down with residents. The entire team of cytotechnologists, including Donna Russell, Mary Ann Rutkowski, and Michael Facik, accepted me into their offices, the occasional inside joke, and gave me the benefit of their years of experience and knowledge. I couldn’t have asked for a better fellowship.
Aside from the Cytopathology department, many of the surgical pathology attendings, especially Dr. Hicks and Dr. Whitney-Miller, encouraged me and gave me a solid experience to pursue my career goals. My co-residents were fun and supportive as well. There are too many people to name, but I appreciated my time in Rochester and felt that I received a positive educational and personal experience.
How do you like to spend your free time? Do you have any hobbies/interests?
Like most mothers, my free time is often spent chasing my kids around and getting them to their various activities. But I do love to read books, and I read often. I am happy to read almost anything: fiction, non-fiction, poetry. I also enjoy playing and watching sports, including soccer.
What’s next for you career wise?
I am looking forward to spending more time teaching residents, medical students, and student fellows in my new position. I have always enjoyed teaching, and am happy that I have found a position that puts a large emphasis on education.
What advice would you give up-and-coming pathology trainees looking to start their careers?
Because I am one half of a two physician household, I have had to change jobs frequently in the last four years as my husband’s training has taken him to various hospitals. While I haven’t always wanted to leave positions, the benefit has been that I have gained experience in a lot of different practice settings.
My advice would be to learn as much as you can from each place you end up, even if it isn’t necessarily your dream job. Seek to find what you can take away from each place or experience that will grow your knowledge. Each place (and person!) has something unique to teach you that will contribute to your success as a physician, a pathologist, and a person.