Anatomic Pathology Program

Dermatopathology Elective


Rotation Director:
Klaus F. 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 dermatologic malignancies and precursor lesions, normal maturation of dermatologic cell lines, dermatologic manifestations of systemic infectious and metabolic disorders, and effects of pharmacologic agents and radiotherapy on the dermatologic system
  • Formulate appropriate differential diagnoses based on the histologic findings
  • Correlate pathologic lesions with clinical, laboratory, and radiographic findings
  • Appropriately use enzyme histochemistry, stains for microorganisms, immunohistochemistry, flow cytometry, cytogenetics and molecular testing for dermatologic diseases
  • Diagnose common skin tumors
  • Recognize the basic patterns of inflammatory 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, radiologic and laboratory findings, pathophysiology, patient signs and symptoms, and effects of therapies
  • Understand the utilization of ancillary diagnostic testing ( immunohistochemical, enzyme histochemistry and special stains, electron microscopy, flow cytometry, molecular testing) in evaluation of dermatologic diseases
  • Recognize the types of nevi
  • Be able to differentiate between nevus and melanoma

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 dermatopathology 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 hematopathology 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 interested in dermatopathology will be expected to write a paper for potential publication


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
  • Must be a senior resident in HMC Pathology program or a Dermatology resident
Duration and Timing of the Rotation:
  • Two to four-week block or longer depending upon the interests of the resident
Teaching Staff:
  • Klaus F. Helm, MD
  • Michael Ioffreda, MD
  • Catherine Chung, MD

1.  Reading

  • Chapter 1 Weedon Skin Pathology, 4th Ed. (Patterson)
  • Chapters of Weedon covered in weekly dermpath lectures

2.  Unknowns

  • Residents are expected to study a box of unknown cases every week, independently or concurrently with the dermatopathology fellow

3.  Conferences

  • The resident is expected to attend the weekly dermpath conference (Wednesday, 8 a.m.)
  • The resident will attend Dermatology consult conference, Dermatology grand rounds, and Patient conferences

4.  Sign Out

  • The resident will be expected to preview all of the dermpath cases received from within the hospital and attend both morning and afternoon sign outs (PC, MK, PBLI)
  • The resident should indicate their differential diagnosis at the bottom right hand corner of the preliminary report

Method(s) of Evaluation:

  • Residents will be evaluated based on direct observation by faculty
  • After each rotation, residents will be evaluated by faculty in New Innovations

Updated 9/2015