Pathology Residency Program

The residency training program in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine is in the University of Kentucky Hospital and the adjacent, contiguous Veterans Affairs Medical Center. The program provides thorough training in the fields of anatomic pathology and laboratory medicine. The American Board of Pathology sanctions a complete program leading to certification in both anatomic pathology and laboratory medicine. The Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine is housed in the Medical Science portion of the Albert B. Chandler Medical Center. The Department has full professional responsibility for all pathology and clinical laboratory services of the University of Kentucky Hospital which includes the Children's Hospital, the Kentucky Clinic outpatient services, and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, as well as pathology services at the Saint Claire Medical Center in Morehead, Kentucky, 70 miles east of Lexington.


The University of Kentucky was founded in 1865. In the 148 years since its founding, the University has expanded the main campus to include seventeen academic colleges and the graduate school. About 35,000 students are on the 673 acre Lexington campus, and more than 46,000 attend the community colleges. The University's main campus in Lexington has its own radio station, closed-circuit television network, newspaper, printing plant, theaters, concert halls, coliseum, and athletic stadium and field. Its libraries include nearly 2.5 million printed volumes, 5 million microfilm units, 1,000 computer files, 1.1 million government publications, 200,000 maps, 600,000 audio-visuals, and more than 26,000 periodical subscriptions.

The Albert B. Chandler Medical Center is located on the main campus of the University of Kentucky. Construction began in 1956. 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 473-bed University Hospital, 132-bed Children's Hospital as well as the Lucille Parker Markey Cancer Center and the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging. University of Kentucky Hospital connects to the 280-bed Veterans Affairs Medical Center via an enclosed walkway. In-patient, out-patient, intensive care, trauma, ambulant, and rehabilitative services are all housed in the Medical Centers. The Medical Center library is outstanding, and contains over 186,000 books and journals and more than 1,622 current periodicals.


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.


Educational Goals and Philosophy

The decision to become a pathologist involves a deep commitment to rigorous training that leads to a very satisfying career whether in community practice or in the academic setting. The pathologist is a physician highly respected by patients, peers, and within the community. Currently, about three-fourths of physicians entering a pathology residency training program will ultimately be involved in the care of patients as a community practice pathologist. Resident training at the University of Kentucky and its affiliates aims at providing the skills and self motivation required to develop and maintain the highest qualities for this profession.

The training program aims to develop in each resident personal diagnostic skills that afford competence, timeliness, accuracy and built-in lifelong improvement applicable to all aspects of anatomical pathology and laboratory medicine. By applying the necessarily learned skills, the resident will be competent to assure the quality of all laboratory output. The resident learns to become a supervisor who is competent, even, fair and decisive in all interactions with laboratory staff. The resident also learns the basic skills necessary for management of budget and financing that are necessary for high quality but economical performance of necessary requested laboratory procedures. 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.

It should be evident from these goals and philosophy that the resident who has developed the personal and professional attributes of the pathologist is suited not only for a community based practice of pathology but also for the varied roles of the pathologist in academic medicine or other types of practice. 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

Each year of training is divided equally between anatomic pathology and laboratory medicine for those desiring preparations in both disciplines.

Anatomic Pathology (26-30 months)


Total (Junior + Senior)

  • Surgical Pathology

   18 total

UK = 11
VA = 4
StC* = 3

  • Cytopathology

4 (2 + 2)

  • Autopsy / Forensic Autopsy


  • Renal/Electron Microscopy


  • Anatomic Elective
    • Dermatopathology (DAK)
    • Forensic Autopsy
    • Neuropathology
    • Outside Cases
    • Transplant
    • Research
    • Pediatric Path

2 - 4

 Electives: Advanced Cytopathology, Approved extramural, Cardiac pathology, Gastrointestinal pathology, and Gynecologic pathology.

Residents experience gradually increasing responsibility on all rotations during their training in anatomic pathology. A progressively increasing role in teaching is also expected, both in the annual eight month pathology course for sophomore medical students and in presentations to house staff and faculty at departmental and interdepartmental conferences. At the discretion of the chair and director of surgical pathology the most senior residents may be given full responsibility for surgical pathology sign-out and frozen section diagnosis.

Clinical Pathology (18-20 months minimum)


Total (Junior + Senior)

Transfusion Medicine (including Coagulation)

3 (2 + 1)

Chemistry (including special chemistry and toxicology)

3 (2 + 1)


3 (2 + 1)


3 (2 + 1)

Lab Management




Molecular Diagnostics




Clinical Elective

Forensic Tox/DNA etc.

Research project

Flow / Heme

1 - 3

Electives: Advanced Blood Banking, Advanced Clinical Chemistry, Nuclear Medicine, Radioimmunoassay and Immunochemistry, Toxicology/ Virology

*St. Claire (StC) = AP unless otherwise designated.

In addition to the above electives, residents may spend additional time in any of the basic rotations. Virtually all rotations, except St. Claire and Forensic Autopsy use the facilities and laboratories of University Hospital and the VA Medical Center. 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.

Residents, in turn, take night and weekend call in laboratory medicine and gain experience in evaluating and handling the special problems that arise.

Senior residents in laboratory medicine have an important teaching role in the laboratory medicine component of the pathology course for sophomore medical students, and are given major responsibility for leading case-oriented discussions.


The Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine supplies full pathology service to University Hospital. The modern 473-bed tertiary care hospital and the 280-bed Veterans Affairs Medical Center opened in 1973, and serves as the principal clinical facilities for both undergraduate and graduate teaching of the College of Medicine. In fulfilling its service responsibilities, 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. Residents rotate at this hospital during their third, fourth and fifth years of training.


Members of the resident staff participate as group instructors in the Pathology course for sophomore Medical and Pharmacy students as well as other years of the medical student activities. This teaching experience is regarded as a most valuable part of postgraduate training. Selected residents also participate as instructors in the Pathology course for Physical Therapy students. The faculty and house staff participate in many interdepartmental conferences at both undergraduate and graduate levels.

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.


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 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.


Passed Step I and Step II of the USMLEs with a minimum score of 210 with no more than 1 failed attempt. Must 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. 


First year postgraduate applications are handled through the NRMP Matching Plan. Deadline for receiving completed applications is October 15th.  We are participating in ERAS-the Electronic Residency Application Service from the Association of the American Medical Colleges ( Telephone inquiries to (859) 323-6183.