Medical Student Clerkships

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The Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology at the University of Minnesota offers several different elective clerkships for year 3-4 medical students. These clerkships provide experiences in a variety of subspecialties. Laboratory medicine and pathology will be a part of whatever area of medicine you choose and these electives will enhance your medical education.

LAMP 7114: Surgical Pathology

The student participates in all activities of surgical pathology including specimen examination at both gross and microscopic level, reporting the findings of these examinations, conferences, and autopsies. The student will also complete a literature review which will culminate in a brief oral presentation to the department at the end of the rotation. The focus is on learning the workflow of an Anatomic Pathology Department.  The student will be assigned to a resident or Pathologists’ Assistant who will closely supervise and instruct the student in all departmental activities. The attending pathologist will instruct and closely supervise the student in the microscopic examination and reporting of specimens. The student will use computer based self instructional materials to review basic histopathologic processes and to become oriented in the use of the department's computerized reporting system. The student will typically alternate performing gross examination and microscopic sign-out in an ongoing two day rotation. This allows for seeing each specimen both in the gross state and as a microscopic specimen.

LAMP 7119: Forensic Pathology

The student will become acquainted with medicolegal death investigation by participating in daily meetings, attending autopsies, and discussing the certification of death as to the cause and manner with the medical examiners. They may also participate in other opportunities, as available, such as going to the scene of death with the civilian investigators and attending attorney meetings or observing courtroom proceedings. The student will be expected to review available literature, including the book Forensic Pathology: Principals and Practice by Dolinak. This course acquaints students with the field of forensic medicine. The student will become familiar with the function of a medical examiner's office in determining the various causes and manners of death that fall under the jurisdiction of such a public official.

LAMP 7120: Perinatal/Pediatric Pathology

This elective will expose medical students to pediatric pathology, a diagnostic specialty that ranges broadly across anatomic and clinical pathology as these relate to children and adolescents, fetuses and infants, and pregnant women.  It should prove useful to medical students interested in pediatric medicine, pediatric surgery, obsterics and gynecology, or pathology.

LAMP 7145: Neuropathology

The course is a practical introduction to neuropathology. The students will work with the attending neuropathologist and residents (from LMP, Neurology and/or Neurosurgery) performing diagnostic services in neuropathology. Gross autopsy brain dissections are performed at the Fairview University Medical Center and the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office. In addition there are autopsy brains received in outside consultation. Neurosurgical specimens from the Fairview University Medical Center as well as consultation cases from outside hospitals also are a part of the diagnostic service. A number of teaching conferences are held in conjunction with the Departments of Neurology, Neurosurgery, Diagnostic Radiology as well as the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology. A large collection of gross and microscopic specimens is available for educational uses. Ample time is allotted for independent study, and pursuit of students' individual interests in the field of neuropathology is encouraged. An understanding of neuropathology also is fundamental for anyone intending to pursue a career in any of the clinical neurosciences. This elective allows students to experience the daily activities of a neuropathologist. The students will be become acquainted with the nature of neuropathological practice and gain insight into the role that pathologists play in patient care and validation of clinical and radiological observations. Correlation between what is seen with imaging techniques and neuropathological changes is a major emphasis of the rotation.

LAMP 7150: Anatomic Pathology

This elective offers the opportunity to participate in the Anatomic Pathology Department at the University of Minnesota Medical Center, Fairview (University Campus). The student will become acquainted with current basic concepts of anatomic pathology, especially in relation to morphological interpretation.

  • The student will participate in the prosection, gross description, microscopic description, and interpretation of surgical pathology specialty lab, surgical pathology gross lab, cytology, and autopsy cases. There will be further opportunities for participation in frozen section procedures. The student may also take part in performance of autopsies and, if desired, perform autopsies themselves under supervision. Based on interest the student may interact with subspecialties like dermatology and radiology. Clinical correlation with pathological findings is stressed.
  • Readings will be suggested after consulting with the student. Literature and surgical pathology textbooks are available in the Pathology Department for student use.
  • The student will attend all conferences in anatomic pathology and may participate in selected relevant interdisciplinary conferences.
  • Students are expected to give a short case based pathology presentation at the end of the rotation.
LAMP 7152: Anatomic Pathology - VA

The goal of this rotation is to familiarize the medical student with the role of pathology in the diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of patients through the activities of pathologist as members of the clinical team. Beyond clinical diagnoses; the student will become acquainted with the role of pathology in understanding mechanisms of disease.  This is an ideal rotation for those students who are considering pathology as a possible specialty and for students who choose a surgical or clinical specialty, but want to understand how pathology will help them treat their patients.  The student will be expected to become familiar with the service activities in the department of pathology; this includes handling surgical specimens in the Gross Room (sampling), performance of frozen sections during surgical procedures and interpretation of microscopic slides to establish diagnoses. The student will attend all intradepartmental conferences and according to interest, interdisciplinary clinic pathologic conferences. If desired, the student may assist in the performance of autopsies under supervision. There is time available for the student to review areas of interest in pathology. This elective acquaints students with techniques involved in the handling surgical specimens and in the performance of autopsies. Clinical-pathologic correlation is stressed.

LAMP 7158: Cardiac Pathology

Students will observe examinations of existing and newly acquired cardiovascular specimens to identify variations of specific congenital and acquired disease entities and their functional significance.

LAMP 7181: Hematopathology

Over the course of the 4 week rotation, students will be fully integrated into the blood and bone marrow biopsy service, with “ownership” of their cases and graduated responsibility for their level of training. They will learn to preview/interpret blood smears and write up preliminary diagnostic reports. Once they are competent with blood smears, they will progress to bone marrow aspirate and biopsy interpretation, including drafting a diagnostic report. Special studies are often performed simultaneously and may include immunohistochemistry and flow cytometry; the student will learn how these influence overall diagnosis and how they are integrated into the report. There are weekly multidisciplinary and unknown teaching conferences, as well as a daily consensus/teaching conference.  The student will become acquainted with the various complimentary modalities used to distinguish between reactive etiologies and malignant neoplasms and learn how to classify the more common types of hematopoietic neoplasms, including leukemias and lymphomas. The student will typically work individually with each of the 5 faculty over the course of the month. The evaluation is done as a group to gather input from each faculty member. The course grade is based on the appraisal of the student's ability to recognize and describe the more common types of hematolymphoid disorders, both reactive and neoplastic as well as all core competencies including professionalism and medical knowledge. The student is required to select a topic in hematophathology, review the medical literature and present a 20-minute talk to the residents, fellows and faculty. The talk is usually case based, with a brief presentation followed by literature review.

LAMP 7184: Introduction to Transfusion Therapy

The student will address transfusion problems in patients with red cell, white cell, and platelet antibodies and coagulopathy. The student will learn adverse effects associated with transfusion therapy such as disease transmission and transfusion reactions. The student will observe and may do the following: blood typing, identification of unexpected antibodies, evaluation of transfusion reactions, and compatibility testing. The student will follow patients receiving transfusions, evaluate appropriateness of component therapy, and assist in daily consultation about transfusion problems. The student will assist in taking care of patients needing plasma exchanges, red cell exchanges and photopheresis. The student will assist in supervising stem cell collections and infusions.

LAMP 7186: Laboratory Medicine in a Community Hospital

The student will specialize in one or two areas of the clinical lab but will participate in all its general teaching activities. The student will make rounds on patients having abnormal or interesting laboratory results and will be expected to attend and present at clinical conferences and rounds that are laboratory medicine oriented. The student will work directly with several staff members who will provide suggestions for projects, independent readings, and discussion cases. The importance of quality assurance, appropriate laboratory utilization, and the role of the clinical pathologist serving as a consultant will be emphasized. Opportunities to work on special projects are available.  This course builds appreciation of the correlation between clinical presentations and laboratory results from the perspective of a busy general hospital clinical laboratory.

LAMP 7187: Interpretation of Lab Data

Studies show that clinical laboratory testing is the basis for making a diagnosis in the majority of patients. But what is the most effective way to use the laboratory? Which tests offer the most information? What do laboratory test results mean? What are the limitations of laboratory testing?  This course is designed for 3rd and 4th year medical students who are faced with the challenge of bringing the extensive diagnostic capabilities of the clinical laboratory to bear on specific clinical problems. With a strongly case-oriented, clinical approach, we will review the pathophysiology of common diseases as it relates to interpretation of laboratory testing, indicate the correct ordering strategies for laboratory tests, and discuss the interpretation of laboratory results. Areas that we will focus on include cardiac, renal, hepatic and endocrine testing; therapeutic drug monitoring; clinical hematology including coagulation; infectious diseases; transfusion medicine; and molecular and cytogenetics.  This course is highly recommended for students who intend to pursue careers in primary care who will be ordering laboratory tests as a routine part of their practice. Those who plan a career in specialties such as surgery, anesthesiology and psychiatry will also find this course very useful. Previous students have reported that this course is an excellent and broad review in preparation for the USMLE exams.

LAMP 7195: Medical Informatics

Medical Informatics is the use of computer, management and information sciences to solve problems in medicine, health care delivery, and medical research. Selected readings will be available, depending on student's background, interests and training. Students will work on a project under the supervision of faculty and/or fellows in the Institute of Health Informatics. The specific project will depend on mentor availability and the student's background, interests and experience. Sample projects have included: computer-assisted education for medical students or patients, computer-based medical decision support systems, creation of clinical database management systems, statistical analysis of data from clinical records, interface design for electronic health record (EHR) systems.