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Dermatopathology Curriculum Goals and Objectives

(adapted in part from ADASP Working Group. Curriculum content and evaluation of resident competency in anatomic pathology, 2003)

Residents on anatomic pathology have the opportunity to take a two-week elective in Dermatopathology. This rotation is based at the Ackerman Academy of Dermatopathology, located at 145 Est 32nd Street in Manhattan. Residents spent eight hours per day, five days a week at the Ackerman Academy. Much of the time is spent at the multi-headed microscope with the Academy Director, Geoffrey Gottlieb, MD. Twice a week, conceptual issues in dermatopathology and differential diagnoses are discussed with renowned dermatopathogist A. Bernard Ackerman, MD. The residents also have the opportunity to sign out cases and to review study sets. Pathology residents on their regular Surgical Pathology rotations at KCHC and University Hospital also sign out dermatopathology cases with Edward Heilman, MD.

The overriding goal of this elective rotation is to expose residents in anatomic pathology to routine and consultation level diagnostic material to enhance their experience with concepts, diagnoses and differential diagnoses of skin conditions.

At the conclusion of this elective rotation, the resident is expected to


  • Understand how to describe and section skin biopsies and other skin specimens for histological examination
  • Have an understanding of the work up, follow-up and generation of reports for common conditions involving the skin
  • Complete any assignments in a timely manner to promote patient care and reduce turn-around time


  • Develop familiarity with the normal histology of the skin
  • Learn to recognize and diagnose common inflammatory and neoplastic conditions involving the skin
  • Develop an understanding of basic pathologic processes involving skin
  • Become familiar with common microscopic stains, cell markers and other techniques used in dermatopathology as well as indications for their use


  • Understands necessary components of the dermatopathology report
  • Investigates cases using texts, journal articles, and internet sources
  • Understands principles of quality control (detection of errors in slide or specimen labeling, poor staining, inadequate controls, lost specimens, etc.)


  • Communicates effectively with pathologists, dermatologists, consulting physicians and others to obtain information and provide effective consultation
  • Interacts effectively with administrative, secretarial and technical staff members
  • Demonstrates willingness to present cases at appropriate conferences
  • Appropriately uses and responds to e-mail and other electronic communications


  • Prepares and organizes for slide sign-out and, if necessary, reviews previous surgical or cytopathology material
  • Adheres to ethical principles, accepts responsibility for actions, admits mistakes, recognizes and addresses ethical dilemmas; maintains patient confidentiality
  • Works effectively with other members of the healthcare team, demonstrating courtesy & responsiveness to views of others
  • Be sensitive to diversity of coworkers and patients
  • Engages in ongoing learning; shows initiative in seeking new information; asks knowledgeable and well-informed questions
  • Understands and complies with HIPAA and other regulations regarding patient confidentiality and handling of tissues for diagnosis and research
  • Accepts responsibility and follows through on tasks
  • Be punctual, arriving on time for sign-out sessions and conferences


  • Understands the importance of dermatopathology in the general health care system as well as its contribution to public health