Critical Values July 2015
ePolicy 300x175
<br>Dr. Johnson

Dr. Johnson

Residents Expand their Skills and Change Lives through ASCP Subspecialty Grants

Monday, March 18, 2013

Karen Johnson, MD, worked in a rural clinic in southern Belize in February that had three examining rooms, a sparsely equipped lab, a pharmacy, and a couple of microscopes that local clinicians thought were broken.

“The microscopes actually worked, but there was a lack of knowledge about how to use them,” says Dr. Johnson, a pathology resident at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wis., who received a $2,000 ASCP Resident Subspecialty Grant to work in the field of global health in Belize. 

“I really hope to not only expound upon my clinical knowledge but also to learn about how its blood transfusion service runs.”
—H. Cliff Sullivan, MD
2012–2013 ASCP Resident Subspecialty Grant Recipient

“Teaching the clinicians how to use microscopes provided helpful knowledge and information for them,” she explains. “I also taught them how to do basic blood smears. I got a basic Wright Stain and showed them how to read one, which helps identify and distinguish differences in white blood cell morphology.”

The four-week clinical rotation at the clinic in Punta Gorda, Belize, opened her eyes for how clinical laboratory medicine is practiced in developing countries.

“Working in a setting that has limited resources required me to be more creative and resourceful,” Dr. Johnson says.  

For pathology residents like Dr. Johnson, the ASCP Resident Subspecialty Grants provide valuable opportunities to obtain subspecialty experience in pathology by performing rotations with well-known experts at large centers of study or in other countries where pathology is practiced differently. She is among six residents who received a grant during Round 2 of the 2012–2013 ASCP Resident Subspecialty Grants.  

Altogether, ASCP awards $22,000 annually for the subspecialty grants, assisting residents to pay for housing and transportation costs during these special rotations.  

Dr. Eslami

Grant recipient Zohreh Eslami, MD, PhD, will perform an eight-week rotation at Yale University under the supervision of Fattenah Tavassoli, MD, FASCP, a leader in the field of breast and gynecologic pathology. During the rotation, she will observe diverse lesions and learn how to approach Dr. Tavassoli’s challenging cases.

A native of Iran, Dr. Eslami had practiced general medicine there before going on to pursue a Ph.D. in immunology at McGill University, Montreal. She is now in residency at McGill, where she has participated in several research projects in genitourinary, thyroid, and breast pathology, as well as in clinical trials evaluating the effects of breast cancer therapy.

“Diagnosis of disease has always been my passion,” says Dr Eslami, who received a $2,000 ASCP Resident Subspecialty Grant. “It is what attracted me to a career in medicine.”

Dr. Sullivan

Meanwhile, H. Cliff Sullivan, MD, a resident at Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, plans to use his $1,000 ASCP grant to work in the area of blood transfusion with Christopher P. Stowell, MD, PhD, at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston.

“I really hope to not only expound upon my clinical knowledge but also to learn about how its blood transfusion service runs,” Dr. Sullivan says. “Pathologists here are very involved in the apheresis unit and conduct daily rounds on patients in the unit. I want to include this in my future practice within transfusion medicine.”   

For information about the ASCP Resident Subspecialty Grant, visit