Anatomic Pathology Program

Dermatopathology Subspecialty

Unit Director:
Klaus Helm, MD

Goals and Objectives:

Patient Care:

Residents must demonstrate a satisfactory level of diagnostic accuracy and the ability to provide appropriate and effective consultation about the pathology of dermatologic diseases. Residents are expected to:

  • Recognize and correctly interpret the pathology of common dermatologic diseases, including benign and malignant neoplasms, hyperplasia and preneoplastic changes, infectious and inflammatory disease, drug and other hypersensitivity reactions, vascular pathology, transplant related pathology, and cutaneous manifestations of systemic disease.
  • Formulate appropriate differential diagnoses based on the histologic findings.
  • Correlate pathologic lesions with clinical findings.
  • Appropriately use stains for microorganisms, histochemical staining, immunohistochemistry, electron microscopy, and immunofluorescence for evaluation of dermatologic diseases.

Medical Knowledge:

Residents must demonstrate knowledge about established and evolving biomedical and clinical sciences and the application of this knowledge to dermatopathology. Residents are expected to:

  • Develop knowledge of the spectrum of neoplastic and non-neoplastic dermatologic diseases through reading of textbooks and primary literature
  • Identify specific morphologic changes in tissues, and their significance
  • Understand the relationships between anatomic pathology findings, pathophysiology, patient signs and symptoms, and effects of therapies
  • Understand the utilization of clinical history, physical examination, ancillary diagnostic testing (immunohistochemical and special stains, electron microscopy, flow cytometry, molecular testing) in evaluation of dermatologic diseases

Practice-based Learning and Improvement:

Residents must be able to demonstrate the ability to evaluate and improve their clinical practices based on new and evolving scientific evidence. Residents are expected to:

  • Apply current medical knowledge and recent literature to current cases
  • Utilize library, web-based, and other educational sources to evaluate cases
  • Prepare clinical cases in an optimal timeframe
  • Utilize performance evaluations to improve practice
  • Acquire skills to engage in "lifelong" learning through appraisal and assimilation of scientific studies related to specific dermatopathology problems
  • Facilitate learning of medical students, residents and fellows, and other health care professionals

Systems-based Practice:

Residents must demonstrate an awareness and responsiveness to the larger context and system of health care and the ability to call on system resources to provide optimal pathology services. Residents are expected to:

  • Become involved with management issues related to Dermatologic pathology and their effects on other health care professionals, organizations, and society
  • Consider cost-effectiveness in their practice of dermatopathology without compromising patient care
  • Understand the pathologist's role and professional practices in relation to other health care professionals
  • Demonstrate ability to access and utilize the resources, providers, and systems necessary to provide optimal care
  • Advocate for quality patient care

Interpersonal and Communication Skills:

Residents must be able to demonstrate interpersonal and communication skills that result in effective information exchange and learning with other health care providers, patients, and patients' families. Residents are expected to:

  • Exhibit effective listening skills and the ability to follow standard operating procedures and verbal instructions
  • Interact with departmental and extradepartmental personnel, including healthcare professionals, administrators, and other staff in an appropriate manner
  • Provide effective and professional consultation to other health care professionals demonstrating care and respect for them, and sustain ethically sound professional relationships with colleagues, staff, patients, and patients' families
  • Present dermatopathology material at a conference in an organized, coherent fashion, with well-constructed audiovisual materials
  • Provide accurate communication of pathology information using non-verbal and verbal skills
  • Work effectively as a team with other health care professionals and other staff


Residents must demonstrate a commitment to fulfilling professional responsibilities and ethical principles and sensitivity to a diverse patient population. Residents are expected to:

  • Demonstrate commitment to ethical principles pertaining to confidentiality of patient information, informed consent, and business practices
  • Demonstrate respect, compassion and integrity in all interactions with patients, their families, faculty, other trainees, technologists, and other staff
  • Demonstrate sensitivity and responsiveness to the ethnicity, diversity, age, gender, sexual orientation, and disabilities of patients, colleagues, and staff
  • Attend all required conferences and actively participate in them to enhance individual and group learning
  • Demonstrate a commitment to excellence and on-going professional development
  • Demonstrate adherence to guidelines and regulations set forth by regulatory and accrediting agencies
  • Demonstrate ability to identify deficiencies in peer performance
  • Discuss expectations for Surgical Pathology rotations with attending pathologists at beginning of each rotation
  • Review and sign "Expectations for Surgical Pathology Rotations" form

Resident Graduated Responsibility in Dermatopathology Subspecialty Core Rotations:

Increasing levels of responsibilities are expected of each resident as their training time progresses in each subspecialty area. See explanation of Expectations by Resident Experience Level. Simple, moderately complex and complex cases are defined on the Checklist for Surgical Pathology Competencies. All residents have a personal copy of this spreadsheet, which they use to record their competency with gross dissections of increasingly complex cases. This checklist is reviewed by the Program Director during semi-annual evaluations.

Teaching Staff:

Catherine G. Chung, MD
Klaus Helm, MD
Michael Ioffreda, MD
Dermatopathology Fellow


1.  Background reading (covered independently by resident)

  • Weedon's Skin Pathology, 4th ed. (Pattersen), Chapter 1.
  • Weekly chapter from Weedon's Skin Pathology that corresponds to the weekly Dermatopathology conference held on Wednesdays at 8AM in C7602.
  • See recommended reading list in Pathology Resident Hand Book

2.  Signout of In-house cases

  • Review active cases independently and then with the faculty member on service.
  • Before removing slides from Dermatopathology (DP) signout area (C7714A), discuss and coordinate with DP fellow.
  • When previewing slides, the resident should indicate their differential diagnosis of the case at the lower right hand corner of the preliminary report.
  • Attend signout of in-house cases starting at 9AM unless otherwise stipulated

3.  Multidisciplinary Conference

  • Slides that the resident will present at the Dermatopathology Conference or Grand Rounds will be reviewed prior to the conference with a faculty member.

4.  Research or educational project (optional)

  • If desired, the resident can work on a small research or educational project.

5. Educational Sessions

  • Attend weekly DP conference at 8 a.m. in C7602 each week of MSK/DP or DP subspecialty rotation.
  • Attend Dermatology Grand Rounds when they occur during the MSK/DP or DP subspecialty rotation.

Method(s) of Evaluation:

The resident will be evaluated at the end of the rotation using New Innovations. The evaluations will be based on the resident's daily performance including diagnostic accuracy, and oral "quizzes" throughout the rotation. Performance on the rotation components will be assessed. The resident should choose at least 1 area of concentration within /liver pathology to focus on (review of teaching set cases and reading about the entities) each week, and should be able to formulate appropriate differential diagnoses in >90% of cases in this area.

Residents will be expected to evaluate faculty and the rotation using New Innovations. These evaluations will be collated and reviewed by the program director and chair and the results will be reported yearly to each faculty member and submitted for review to the Residency Program Committee for feedback.

Updated: 9/2015 CC