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ASCP Subspecialty Grant Recipient Performs Many Diagnoses with Few Resources in Kenya

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

During her first week at a hospital in Kenya, Nadia V. Giannakopoulos, MD, PhD, saw more cases of certain types of advanced cancer than she has viewed during her two and one-half year residency in pathology. She also learned more about working face-to-face with clinicians and diagnosing patients using scarce resources.

“Also, while residents in my program have always been encouraged to think while grossing to ensure we submit the necessary sections without wasting resources, this experience really emphasized how much a pathologist can do with very little. It may not change my career path, but it will likely reflect in my practice habits.”
—Nadia V. Giannakopoulos, MD, PhD
“I really enjoyed diagnosing a wide range of cases in Kenya,” said Dr. Giannakopoulos, a third-year resident at the University of Washington, Seattle. “This month-long program reinforced my desire to enter general pathology and incorporate working in resource-poor settings into my career.”

She participated in the tropical pathology elective through the World Medical Mission, working with three pathologists at the African Inland Church (AIC) Kijabe Hospital, Kijabe, Kenya. Her flight and housing costs were funded through a $2,000 ASCP subspecialty grant.

Among the diseases Dr. Giannakopoulos diagnosed for patients in Kenya were squamous cell carcinomas of the esophagus, which are related to smoking, alcohol, diet, and Helicobacter pylori infection; breast and prostate cancers, often at more advanced stages than in the United States; malignancies and infections that were HIV-related such as Kaposi’s sarcoma and tuberculosis; Burkitt’s lymphoma; parasitic infections; and cervical cancer. The laboratory team at AIC Kijabe Hospital serves 46 other hospitals in addition to its own patients, examining about 6,000 specimens annually.

“I really felt like part of the clinical team as our opinion [the pathologists] was often sought out,” she said. “Also, while residents in my program have always been encouraged to think while grossing to ensure we submit the necessary sections without wasting resources, this experience really emphasized how much a pathologist can do with very little. It may not change my career path, but it will likely reflect in my practice habits.”

ASCP Resident Council Announces Six Subspecialty Grant Recipients

Six residents studying at institutions in the United States and Canada received ASCP subspecialty grants in February 2012, which help facilitate their study of specialized areas of pathology with distinguished pathologists at various institutions in the United States and internationally. These experiences give them a new perspective on medicine and sometimes significantly alter the course of their careers.

  • Nadia V. Giannakopoulos, MD, PhD, University of Washington, Seattle, was awarded a $2,000 grant to work in the field of tropical pathology with Rochelle Garcia, MD, at the Africa Inland Church (AIC) Kijabe Hospital in Kijabe, Kenya.
  • Heidi L. Paulin, MD, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Novia Scotia, Canada, was awarded a $2,000 grant to work in the field of informatics with Christopher Naugler, MD, at the Calgary Laboratory Services, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
  • Huy Pham, MD, New York Presbyterian Hospital Columbia University Medical Center, New York, N.Y., was awarded a $1,000 grant to work in the field of transfusion medicine with Trevor Macpherson, MD at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh.
  • Neil K. Shah, MD, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, was awarded a $2,000 grant to work in the field of informatics with Anand Dighe, MD, PhD at the Massachusetts General Hospital Harvard Medical School, Boston.
  • David L. Stockman, MD, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, was awarded a $2,000 grant to work in the field of bone and soft tissue pathology with Andrew L. Folpe, MD, at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.
  • Luis F. Torres-Romero, MD, University of Missouri, Kansas City, Mo., was awarded a $2,000 grant to work in the field of dermatopathology with Claudia I. Vidal, MD, FASCP, at Saint Louis University School of Medicine, St. Louis.
For more information about the ASCP subspecialty grant program, go to www.ascp.org/Residents/Resident-Grants.


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