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Course Information Pathology Small Group (click here for a PDF version of this information)

Pathology Education Strategy

Body and Disease is an integrated course which teaches basic concepts in Immunology, Microbiology, Pathology and Pharmacology. Body and Disease will guide students as they begin the long training path toward achieving competence in the practice of medicine. A review article (N Eng J Med 2007; 356:387) defines competence in medicine as:

"the habitual and judicious use of communication, knowledge, technical skills, clinical reasoning, emotions, values and reflection in daily practice for the benefit of the individuals and communities served. .....  (There are) six interrelated domains of competence: medical knowledge (this is the only part which is tested on multiple choice exams), patient care, professionalism, communication and interpersonal skills, practice-based learning and improvement and systems based practice."

Bi-weekly multiple choice and short answer exams are only a small part of our educational and assessment strategy. Pathology assessment includes the Oral Gross Exam, the final laboratory exam, autopsy participation and report and laboratory participation evaluation.

If study time is limited, focus on the tables, diagrams, illustrations and the highlighted text in Robbins Pathologic Basis of Disease.


Evaluation Criteria

Attendance at ALL Pathology small group sessions is MANDATORY.

Unexcused absences will be recorded by your Pathology Instructor. Greater than three unexcused absences from Pathology small group sessions will result in failure of the course. Active participation in Pathology small group activities is expected.  Participation will be evaluated qualitatively by your Pathology Faculty Small Group Instructor and a Pathology Small Group Participation grade will be assigned using the form in Appendix C.

Participation is 30% of your Pathology Small Group grade.


Students are required to observe one autopsy and to present their autopsy findings to their Pathology Small Group. Logistics will be discussed during the first Pathology small group session. A written group report consisting of a pdf created from your presentation Your written report will also include Final Anatomic Diagnoses, gross and microscopic organ descriptions must be given to your Lab Instructor one week after your presentation. The autopsy report will be graded by the instructor according to the rubric which is posted on BlueDocs. The grade will be recorded by the Course Director. You will receive a Group grade for this activity. The graded report will be returned at the end of the course.

Autopsy Groups of 4-5 students have been created by the Course Director and are posted on BlueDocs.

The Autopsy presentation and report is 30% of your Pathology Small Group grade.

The Final Pathology lab examination

The Exam will be administered in the Learning Hall by the Office of Curriculum. It will include 50 multiple choice questions about pathology and microbiology. Many questions will be illustrated with gross and microscopic photographs.

The Final Pathology lab examination is 40% of your Pathology Small Group grade.

Pathology Small Group Grade:

Small Group participation        30%
Group Autopsy Report              30%
Final Pathology Lab Exam       40%

"Lab participation" includes attending Roadshows

Students must achieve a numerical average of 70% in order to Pass Pathology Small Group. Grades are submitted to Dr. Nadler and the registrar as Pass/Fail at the conclusion of the course. Grades are not available to students prior to the conclusion of the course. Any student who is in academic jeopardy will be contacted by the Course Director via email.


Kumar et al. Robbins & Cotran Pathologic Basis of Disease, 8th Edition. 2010.

Textbook purchase includes online access.

Recommended Resource:

Pathoma (www.pathoma.com)

Web Resource

Duke University Medical School Pathology (https://pathology.oit.duke.edu)



To synthesize characteristics of disease processes based on etiology (cause) and pathogenesis (mechanism of expression)

To recognize, describe, and differentiate general features of the five major pathologic processes:

To understand how disease processes affect physiological function (pathophysiology)

To trace pathologic processes from a molecular event to cellular alterations and to changes in organ function

To analyze how disease processes can result in specific clinical signs and symptoms


To describe the size, shape, color, consistency, and location of gross anatomic abnormalities

To recognize and describe abnormal features of gross and microscopic specimens that is common to all organ systems, and to categorize them into the 5 major pathologic processes:

To describe microscopic characteristics of individual cells (cytology) including their size, shape, and color (staining characteristics), and microscopic characteristics of groups of cells (architecture) and the relationships between individual cells and surrounding structures

To use the virtual microscope to reinforce knowledge obtained from other sources

To distinguish preparation or fixation artifacts from abnormalities of disease



Pathology is the medical science and specialty practice that deals with all aspects of disease, with special reference to the cause and development of abnormal conditions, and with the structural and functional changes that result from disease processes.

THE PATHOLOGY DEPARTMENT includes both Anatomic Pathology (which focuses on tissue morphology) and Clinical Pathology (which focuses on laboratory testing of fluids and other specimens obtained from patients).

Pathology laboratories performing examinations/tests of materials derived from the human body for the purpose of providing information for the diagnosis, prevention or treatment of any disease or impairment of or the assessment of the health of human beings are subject to the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988 (CLIA 88).


Laboratories which are responsible for the qualitative and/or quantitative analysis of body fluids e.g., blood, urine, spinal fluid, body cavity fluids and enteric fluids.

1. Chemistry, Hematology, Endocrinology
2. Blood Gas Analysis, Coagulation
3. Transfusion Service (Blood bank), Histocompatibility Testing
4. Microbiology


Laboratories which perform qualitative and/or quantitative analysis of cells, tissues and organs.

1. Surgical Pathology
2. Autopsy Pathology
3. Cytopathology
4. Cytogenetics
5. Molecular Pathology


State Medical Examiner Systems perform medico legal investigations into the cause of unusual or unnatural deaths, such as:

1. Accidental Death   6. Death Unattended by a Physician
2. Homicide   7. Death While in Police Custody
3. Suicide  8. Public Health Hazard
4. Abortion  9. Therapeutic Misadventure
5. Sudden, Unexplained Death   10. Death during Anesthesia




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updated 01/29/14 - Velkey