Family Crisis Drives Home Importance of Pathology
Monday, June 17, 2013
Cody Carter, MD, experienced a pivotal moment in medical school a few years ago when he witnessed the crucial role that pathologists play in healthcare delivery.
His mother was diagnosed with uterine cancer and underwent treatment at Loma Linda University Medical Center, Loma Linda, Calif., where he was in medical school. The impact of her diagnosis hit especially hard, since his father, brother, and wife have all successfully battled cancer in their own lives.
“The physician who was central to all of my family’s medical care was a pathologist. It was the pathologist who made the diagnosis and recommended the treatment plan and was a very important part of the medical team.”
—Cody Carter, MD
“The physician who was central to all of my family’s medical care was a pathologist,” says Dr. Carter, a recipient of an ASCP Academic Excellence and Achievement Award. “It was the pathologist who made the diagnosis and recommended the treatment plan and was a very important part of the medical team.”
The Award honors 10 medical students who have achieved academic excellence and enhances the practice of pathology. It also seeks to attract outstanding medical students into pathology and laboratory medicine.
In May, Dr. Carter graduated with honors from Loma Linda, where he had an exemplary record of academic scholarship and leadership.
“Cody is just amazing,” says Anwar Sultana Raza, MD, FASCP, an Associate Professor of Pathology and Residency Co-Director at Loma Linda, who nominated Dr. Carter for the award.
She mentored him when Dr. Carter was selected for a post-sophomore fellowship at Loma Linda, which enabled him to participate in giving grand-round presentations. At Loma Linda, he was a leader in the pathology interest group, which invited faculty to give presentations about various specialties within the field of pathology.
An influential pathology professor, Jeffrey Cao, MD, FASCP, sparked his interest in teaching because of the way Dr. Cao provided students with many learning resources to suit their individual learning styles.
“Teaching is part of my DNA,” says, Dr. Carter, who will begin a residency in pathology at the University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor, Mich. “When I see students who are trying so hard to attain their goals and are struggling, I want to help them overcome obstacles.”
A testimony to his character, according to Dr. Raza, is how her protégée has dealt with his own hardships, including his mother’s continuing battle with cancer. On the day that his mother had surgery, Dr. Raza asked Dr. Carter if he wanted to be at his mother’s side. He chose to focus on his work, noting it would help him get through the difficulties of dealing with his mother’s health.
“He is our rock,” Dr. Raza says. “There may be days when you get inundated with a lot of cases, and he remains calm. He’s a real team player. Even if he is not on call, if someone is on call and very busy, Cody would stay behind and help out. That is when you see a person’s real character.”
For a list of the 2013 ASCP Medical Student Award recipients, click here.