Introduction: The American Board of Pathology (ABPath) has ongoing efforts to better align certification with graduate medical education, training program requirements, and pathology practice. The present study focused on the subspecialty of cytopathology. We evaluated the current content and scope of fellowship programs, practice patterns and needs of diplomates, and program director (PD) and diplomate perceptions of the ABPath certification examination to identify gaps and provide an evidence base to guide harmonization in these areas. Methods: Two surveys were administered: one directed to PDs of all 93 Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) cytopathology fellowship programs and the other to cytopathology diplomates submitting continuing certification reporting to the ABPath. Results: Most (86%) cytopathology diplomates work in smaller groups. Only 11% do >50% cytopathology in practice. Diplomates’ cytopathology-related practice tasks varied, as did their perception of the content of fellowship training aligning with practice needs. In fellowship training programs, the specimen types, volumes, techniques of specimen acquisition, and graduated responsibility varied significantly. We identified areas in which current training and certification requirements are challenging for some programs. Diplomates and PDs had differing perceptions of the cytopathology examination; diplomates regarded image-based and microscopic glass slide questions as the best assessment of their knowledge. Conclusions: First, fellowship training programs could benefit from shared resources and should provide more graduated responsibility for fellows. Second, the ACGME Review Committee could consider this data in future program requirement revisions. Finally, information from these surveys will be useful as the ABPath adjusts certification examination content and delivery.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine