In This Section


  • Israh Akhtar, MD
  • Maria F. Gonzalez, MD
  • Nirag. Jhala, MD
  • Nikolina Dioufa, MD

The cytopathology rotation is designed for the resident to learn the basic and advanced concepts of cytology, the diagnostic procedures performed in the cytology laboratory, the fine needle aspiration (FNA) techniques and applications, and the quality assurance/quality control aspects in cytology.

Each resident will rotate for 4 blocks. The resident is expected to gain familiarity with the procedures and technical preparation of cytology slides, as well as becoming competent in smearing techniques. By the end of their rotation, they are expected to be competent screeners capable of performing FNAs with adequacy evaluation and able to issue a formal cytology report.

Resident responsibilities gradually increase from studying of normal and abnormal cytology cases using teaching materials (glass slides teaching sets and cytology atlases) to screening of gynecologic (GYN) cases and independent review of all non-GYN and abnormal GYN cases before their daily sign out sessions with the attending.

Residents will perform rapid adequacy evaluation in the Radiology, Surgery, Pulmonary, Endocrinology and Gastrointestinal Departments during CT and ultrasound-guided FNAs. In addition, residents will participate in FNA of superficial, palpable masses at the department’s FNA clinic, in the hospital out-patient or in-patient areas, and present cytologic findings to individual clinicians as well as at inter- and intradepartmental conferences.

Extensive participation in quality assurance/quality control activities and cytohistologic correlation studies is expected. The residents will also study cases from CAP interlaboratory comparison of GYN and non-GYN programs in which the cytology lab participates. Periodically, the surgical specimens and cytologic specimens from the same patient are identified through computer search and the diagnosis of both specimens is reviewed by the cytopathologist and the resident rotating in cytology.

The overall progress of a resident is monitored by the director of cytology according to the rotation schedule. Their daily performance is continually evaluated by the cytology supervisor and the attending cytopathologist on service.

At the end of the rotation, each resident is evaluated by addressing their motivation and commitment, the knowledge gained during the rotation, their problem solving ability and thought processes when dealing with cytologic specimens, their laboratory (especially FNA) skills, and their interpersonal skill (including working with cytotechnologists and communicating with clinicians).