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URMC / Pathology & Laboratory Medicine / Read Our Blog / October 2016 / Meet UR Pathology Alumni, Drs. David Wilbur and Margaret Fallon

Meet UR Pathology Alumni, Drs. David Wilbur and Margaret Fallon

Wil-FalDrs. David Wilbur and Margaret Fallon first crossed paths in medical school at the University of Rochester. They later married and joined the Pathology faculty at URMC. 

Today they have children, grandchildren, and successful careers as pathologists in New England. We recently spoke with Wilbur to learn more about how his time at UR made a lasting impact on his personal and professional life. 

Led by Drs. Leon Wheeless and the late Dr. Stanley Patten (former chair and director of cytology), UR was a leader in analytic cytology research in the 1970s and 80s. 

Wilbur later joined a team that developed the first automated cytology instrumentation approved by the FDA. This technology is now used every day in the laboratory of his employer, Massachusetts General Hospital.

One of Wilbur's interests is telepathology, through which a pathologist can send a digital image of a slide that’s normally viewed under a microscope to anywhere online. 

“It allows for consultation, education, quality assurance and proficiency testing," he said. "Almost anything we do with glass slides can be done with digital pathology."

Since most of the pathologists in the world reside in the United States, the need for these kinds of services is growing. Less prosperous countries with few pathology resources, especially subspecialization, can now access expert consultation in a matter of minutes.

Wilbur joined Mass. General Hospital and Harvard Medical School in 2001 as the director of cytopathology and later became the director of clinical imaging in 2011.

When asked what has stuck with him about training and working at UR, he recalls the words of Dr. Patten, who once said, “What do you mean you don’t have time to do this? There are evenings and weekends!”

Dr. Patten passed away in 1997, but his advice still rings in Wilbur’s ear. “I have him talking to me over my shoulder,” he said. “Every time I don’t think I have time to do something, he’s here telling me I do.”

Despite its competitive reputation, Wilbur says Mass General shares some of the same family-oriented qualities that made his experience enjoyable.

“I think when I go looking for jobs (which I hopefully won’t have to do again) the ideal position I would look for would be the collegial place that I found when I was a resident and junior attending at Rochester," he said. 

He and Fallon now live in southern New Hampshire. Dr. Fallon commutes to Manchester, NH, and works as a surgical and hematopathologist in a private pathology group practice.

They have two sons, Scott, a radiologist at Strong/FF Thompson, and Jeff, a businessman in New York City. They enjoy their five grandchildren and a house on Keuka Lake where they plan to one day retire. 

As you might expect of a pathologist couple, Wilbur and Fallon have a microscope on their dining room table. How often does it get used, we asked Wilbur? “All the time,” he said. 

 

Bethany Bushen | 10/25/2016

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