Jeffrey A. Vos, M.D.
Name: Jeffrey A. Vos, M.D.
Board Certification: Anatomic and Clinical Pathology, Hematopathology
Medical School: University of Minnesota Medical School
Residency: Madigan Army Medical Center, U.S. Army
Faculty Rank: Professor
Special Clinical/Research Interests: Hematopathology (leukemia and lymphoma); Surgical Pathology; Medical Student and Resident Education
Is there a particular population of students (e.g., ethnicity, spiritual, sexual orientation) that you would particularly like to advise?
I would be happy to advise any student, although I may offer particular assistance to military students and those considering a career in pathology.
What does a typical day in the life of a Pathologist include?
Surgical Pathologists spend much of their time diagnosing diseases through the gross and microscopic examination of tissue. This includes utilizing specialized tests and stains to resolve diagnostic dilemmas as well as contributing to patient management by participating in tumor boards to explain the nuances of a patient’s diagnosis. Clinical Pathologists similarly play an important role in patient care by applying expertise in the laboratory, maintaining quality control and implementing state-of-the-art testing. A typical day also usually includes an element of teaching, either in the form of formal didactics or one-on-one instruction at the microscope or in the lab. Finally, most academic pathologists are involved in research to some extent, ranging from fundamental to clinical research; however, the majority of pathologists tend to participate in translational projects.
What is the biggest challenge of being a Pathologist?
Pathology is becoming more challenging every day. Staying up to date on the ever-expanding field is demanding but the part of the job I enjoy most. Tumor pathology, in particular, has advanced considerably requiring an understanding of molecular mechanisms, specialized testing, and treatment implications related to the diagnoses we make under the microscope.
How do you foresee Pathology changing over the next 20 years?
As our understanding of neoplasia grows, it will be the job of the Pathologist to understand, manage and interpret a variety of molecular/genetic tests in the context of the histologic diagnosis to optimize therapy for the patient. Hematopathology is a good example of a field at the cutting edge of these advances due to the availability of technology for these kinds of specimens. In the next 20 years, we will definitely be called upon to make sense of this rapid growing body of knowledge. I doubt the microscope with be replaced, but we may see a significant shift in the kinds of tests and data we will need to interpret to make a diagnosis.
What advice would you give a student who is considering a Pathology residency?
Pathology is a specialty that has extraordinary breadth, from forensic science to surgical pathology to transfusion medicine. While the majority of residents decide to specialize in surgical pathology, some go on to become medical examiners, hematopathologists, neuropathologists, full-time researchers or any combination of the above. It is a career choice that won’t disappoint! It’s an extremely rewarding experience to be a key player in a patient’s care by providing vital answers and advice to the physicians.