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About the Program


FNAAbout Us

An academic institution with a robust cytology service, the University of Rochester Cytopathology Laboratory routinely sees a high volume of complex, unusual, and interesting cases - both in-house and via consultation. Rochester is located in western New York, bordering the beautiful Finger Lakes region. Within a day’s trip, you can visit Niagara Falls or Toronto, Ontario, Canada. In Rochester, you have all the amenities of living in a city, with the luxury of the countryside being just an hour away.

The Cytopathology Unit examines approximately 50,000 pap smears, many of which come from high risk individuals, and more than 13,000 non-GYN specimens, including approximately 3,500 fine needle aspirations (FNAs). Our aspiration specimens range from superficial sites, to deep sites collected through interventional radiology techniques. Our presence in various hospital suites for procedure assistance is beyond rapid on-site evaluation and includes a personalized interactive approach to the physicians performing the procedure to fulfill our need for an accurate and thorough diagnosis. The fellow also performs FNAs (by either palpation or ultrasound guidance) on patients seen within our clinic and within our hospital. The fellow sees a high volume and a wide range and variety of cytopathologic specimens.

The Cytopathology Laboratory also enjoys the skill, knowledge and contributions of an outstanding group of staff members. This special staff prides itself in outstanding patient care and also enjoys teaching and learning from each other. View our team members. 

FNA ultrasoundClinical Responsibilities

The fellow plays an essential role for most daily sign out activities,  pre-screening cases prior to final sign out with the attending cytopathologist, and  attending immediate on-site evaluations of various interventional procedures including EBUS, EUS, CT and US guided FNAs. The fellow will also participate in a state-of-the-art diagnostic service using ultrasound guidance for FNAs performed by cytopathologists.

Sign Out

  • The fellow will pre-screen cytotechnologist-reviewed cases prior to reviewing the cases with the attending cytopathologist. This gives the fellow the opportunity to develop his own diagnosis based on morphology and clinical data provided in the patient’s electronic medical record, and to develop a panel of ancillary studies to present to the attending cytopathologist.
  • There is private office space available for quiet review of slides. Final sign out of cases are typically done at the multiheaded microscope, with the attending, fellow, residents, and medical students.
  • Unrestricted online access to ImmunoQuery, ExpertPath and PATHPrimer are available during the fellowship.

Immediate On-Site Evaluation Service

  • The fellow will learn to provide operators with critical feedback that enhances the efficiency of the procedure and assures the quality of the cytology specimen. This feedback is driven by ultrasound features, physical characteristics of aspirated material and required amount of viable material for diagnosis, molecular tests and prognostic markers.
  • The fellow will also learn proper handling, smearing, and triaging techniques to ensure that aspirated material fulfills all diagnostic needs.
  • The fellow will actively be a part of a specialized cytology team that constantly builds relationships with the physicians performing the procedures.

Cytopathologist Driven Ultrasound-Guided FNA Service

  • This service provides accurate, timely, and thorough interpretations in order to generate customized reports that fulfill referring physician needs.
  • Under ultrasound guidance, the fellow will visualize the characteristics of the lesion, and determine the best sampling approach for the lesion. By the end of the fellowship year, the fellow will be proficient in interpreting and performing ultrasound-guided FNAs.

Resident conferenceTeaching Responsibilities

The cytopathology fellow, medical students and residents work as an academic team through daily cases, study sets, multidisciplinary conferences and the practice of everyday personalized cytopathology using state-of-the-art diagnostic tools.

  • Within the Cytopathology Unit are numerous study sets and reading materials for review. The study sets cover the female genital tract, urinary tract, respiratory tract, GI tract, liver, pancreas, kidney, lung, thyroid, breast, head/neck, lymph nodes, body cavity fluids, cerebrospinal fluids, bone and soft tissue, and anal Paps.
  • The Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine offers a weekly seminar series promoting current research and evolving diagnostic methodologies, interdisciplinary conferences, and didactic lectures to which the fellow may attend and may present.
  • The Department offers multiple consensus conferences and multidisciplinary tumor boards of surgical pathology subspecialties (Breast, GI, Soft Tissue/Bone, Hematology Oncology, Pulmonary, ENT, Endocrine, etc.).
  • The fellow will assist with resident education and presentations. There is a weekly review of various pre-assigned topics that integrate cytology, surgical pathology, clinical/radiologic data and basic management and prognostic information of the various entities. The fellow will participate in this resident conference, in addition to providing our residents guidance in their own weekly presentations of various pre-assigned cytology topics that are presented to cytotechnologists and cytopathologists.
  • There is a main sign out room with an 18 head microscope that is connected to two large wall monitor screens and a sign out station. This room is used for microscope lectures and for sign out. There are two additional sign out stations with independent monitors, and bookshelves with numerous cytology and surgical pathology books. A second, satellite sign out room with a 6 head scope and one sign out station is also available.

Education and Research

The Medical School’s Edward G. Miner Library has available over 1,000 health-related e-books, over 25,000 e-journals and a print collection of more than 240,000 volumes of journals, books, and theses. The library participates in interlibrary loans and works closely with the Rush Rhees Library on campus, as well as the libraries of the other entities of the University of Rochester and our affiliates. In addition, the library offers extensive services and an outstanding group of professionals to assist in finding and utilizing the best resource to meet your needs. The accessibility of all these resources assists the fellow to complete literature searches and find up-to-date diagnostic information.

The fellow has access to numerous interesting cases and a high volume of specimens, so the fellow is encouraged to submit abstracts and manuscripts to peer reviewed journals. There is the opportunity for collaborative research with attendings and fellows from other areas of the institution, including the Wilmot Cancer Center.

The above unique, comprehensive experience will prepare the fellow for a career in diagnostic cytopathology. At the University of Rochester, the fellow is provided the necessary tools for success; developing expertise, confidence, and ambition, and striving for excellence and higher standards in the practice of cytopathology.