Pathology Residency

Janna Neltner, MD

Residency Program Director

Dennis Williams, MD
CP Associate Director, Residency Program

Robert McDonald, DO
AP Associate Director, Residency Program

The University of Kentucky residency training program in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine provides thorough training in the fields of anatomic pathology and clinical pathology. The Department has full professional responsibility for all pathology and clinical laboratory services of the University of Kentucky Hospital which includes the Albert B. Chandler Medical Center, Children's Hospital, the Kentucky Clinic outpatient services, Good Samaritan Hospital, and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, as well as pathology services at the Saint Claire Medical Center in Morehead, Kentucky.

Educational Goals and Philosophy

Our training program aims to develop in each resident personal diagnostic and management skills that afford competence, timeliness, accuracy, and built-in lifelong improvement applicable to all aspects of anatomical pathology and laboratory medicine. By a graduated and progressive exposure within anatomical pathology and laboratory medicine rotations with corresponding evaluation of performance, the resident will develop lifelong habits of self-directed learning and critical self-evaluation that will allow for a happy satisfied lifestyle both inside and outside the laboratory. Throughout residency a teaching role is required. This fosters continuous learning and the important role that the pathologist plays as an educator in the laboratory, hospital, and academic setting. Research is a natural part of pathology as an inquiring open and unbiased mind is essential to the diagnostic role of the pathologist. While a research project is not a curricular requirement, it is encouraged as it stimulates the discipline, inquisitiveness and lifelong commitment to discovery required of this profession. A team approach to work, interaction with and knowledge of others within the department at all levels, and a positive up-beat enthusiasm for all tasks is encouraged throughout the training program. Monthly and annual evaluations are aimed at being positive and reinforcing with a view to solving any problems as they arise and maintaining an open-door policy of communication with all faculty at all times. Residents are intimately involved in the interviewing process of prospective resident candidates, a feature that further fosters people-skills and a positive team approach to always maintaining the highest standards of work while being able to help and encourage peers.

Outline of the Program

The vast majority of our residents train in both anatomic pathology and clinical pathology (AP/CP). For AP/CP residents, each year of training is divided equally between anatomic pathology and laboratory medicine with each year divided evenly into 13 4-week blocks. The first four weeks of each resident’s first year is an orientation period. During this time, first year residents will be introduced to our autopsy and surgical pathology services, while having direct guidance from a paired senior resident. We have similar orientation periods to our other service rotations as well (cytology and hematopathology). These orientation periods help ease the residents unfamiliar with the service into the workflow.

Anatomic Pathology (26-30 months)


Total (Junior + Senior)

Surgical Pathology

   UK = 10
VA = 4
StC = 2
GS = 1



Autopsy / Forensic Autopsy




Anatomic Elective
Dermatopathology (DAK)
Outside Cases
Renal Pathology/Electron Microscopy
Pediatric Path
Approved extramural

2 - 4

StC = Saint Clair Medical Center, GS = Good Samaritan Hospital

Note: The Autopsy, VA surgical pathology, Forensic autopsy, and Neuropathology rotations are sometimes combined depending on case load. During a combined rotation, a resident might be primarily assigned to one service (e.g., Neuropathology), but also perform an autopsy if requested.

Clinical Pathology (18-20 months minimum)



Transfusion Medicine (including Coagulation)


Chemistry (including special chemistry and toxicology)






Lab Management


Molecular Diagnostics (including cytogenetics)


Clinical Elective

1 - 3

In addition to the above electives, residents may spend additional time in any of the basic rotations. The elective in laboratory administration includes time working with the members of the University Hospital administration assigned to the Clinical Laboratories, and will include experience with supply and personnel procedures.

Facilities and materials

The Albert B. Chandler Medical Center is located on the main campus of the University of Kentucky. The Medical Center complex includes the College of Medicine, the College of Nursing, the College of Dentistry, the College of Pharmacy, the College of Health Sciences, and the 569-bed University Hospital, Kentucky Children's Hospital, the Lucille Parker Markey Cancer Center, UK Good Samaritan Hospital, and the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging. University of Kentucky Hospital connects to the 280-bed Veterans Affairs Medical Center via an enclosed walkway.

The Department performs approximately 75 autopsies per year, processes over 25,000 surgical specimens, and 1500 Bone Marrow cases. In addition, approximately 15,000 cases for physician review are received for cytological study. Additional volume is experienced at the Veteran’s hospital and St. Claire Community Hospital. This volume represents a broad range of pathologic material. An additional 730 medical legal autopsies are performed by three medical examiners (faculty members) at the Commonwealth's Central Laboratory Facility in Frankfort and are available for residents' education. A new addition of the Kentucky State Laboratory allows for exposure to public health issues for residents that may be interested in this field. Additionally, the clinical laboratory handles 1400 cytogenetic cases, 7000 professional laboratory cases and 11,000 immunomolecular cases. The Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine is also responsible for the pathology services for the 159-bed St. Claire Medical Center in Morehead, Kentucky, 70 miles east of Lexington.

Extramural Rotation

The University of Kentucky College of Medicine has developed a close affiliation with St. Claire Medical Center, Morehead, Ky. As part of this affiliation, residents in Medicine, Surgery, and Pathology rotate to that hospital. This is considered a valuable educational experience in both anatomic pathology and laboratory medicine and is a popular rotation among pathology residents. The Director of Laboratory Services at St. Claire is a full-time faculty member of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine.


Lexington and the surrounding Bluegrass regions are rich in historical interest and scenic beauty. Extending to the Cumberland Mountains and crossed by the Kentucky River with its towering palisades, this region offers a fresh and enjoyable experience to all. It is a land of rolling plains, lakes, streams, woodlands productive farms, and comfortable homes. In the May 2006 issue of Kiplingers, Lexington Kentucky was ranked 13th "Smartest Places to Live". Fishing, boating, swimming, water-skiing, and camping are within easy reach of Lexington. Kentucky's fine system of state parks provides for enjoyable weekends and vacations. Lexington is home to many cultural and arts groups including a ballet, a symphony orchestra, several theater groups, and visual arts organizations. A variety of museums are found within the city. The city park system has numerous recreational opportunities for individuals and families and includes pools, tennis courts, basketball courts, playgrounds, running/walking tracks, exercise trails and horseback riding. Resident physicians at the University of Kentucky Medical Center are eligible for student tickets for UK athletic events, including basketball and football games.


Graduating medical students are accepted directly into the residency training program at the College of Medicine, but must apply through the NRMP via ERAS (Electronic Residency Application Service). Graduate physicians may also enter the program after completion of an internship or other postgraduate training; such appointments do not always involve the NRMP. Although appointments are for one year at a time, a resident whose work is satisfactory can anticipate completion of the entire four-year program. The Department can accommodate a total of twenty-two house officers including fellows. Residents in their second postgraduate year and beyond must be licensed to practice in Kentucky. The University pays fees for Kentucky State Medical licensure. Applicants must pass USMLE Step I and Step II and have at least three recommendation letters. Applicants must have graduated from medical school within the last 10 years. For IMG applicants, eligibility for J-1 student visa status is strongly preferred because of institutional requirements. Also, the university requires ECFMG certification prior to your application being complete and at least 3-months of US clinical experience. Potential candidates will be invited to come to Lexington, Kentucky for a personal interview, during our interview period (October through December). Application deadline for our program is October 15; however, applicants are invited to interviews on a first come, first serve basis.