Diagnostic and Molecular Pathology

Diagnostic and Molecular Pathology Residency Training Committee

  • Dr. J. Walsh (Chair/Program Director)
  • Dr. D. Driman (Department Chair & Chief)
  • Dr. Q. Zhang (Neuropathology Program Director)
  • Dr. A. Haig
  • Dr. C. Howlett
  • Dr. E. Goebel
  • Dr. J. Gomez
  • Dr. Melissa Menard, Resident Representative
  • Dr. Lindsay Ninivirta, Resident Representative

The Diagnostic and Molecular Pathology training program is highly regarded nationally and is fully accredited by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

Statement of Goals

The goal of the training program in Diagnostic and Molecular Pathology is to provide residents with high-quality training in all areas of anatomical pathology. In addition to receiving training in all major areas, residents are allowed significant flexibility to tailor the program to suit their individual career goals and are encouraged to develop areas of scholarly interest. At the conclusion of the training period, residents have the skills necessary to pass the Royal College examination and function as effective and skilled consultants to their clinical colleagues.



The Diagnostic and Molecular Pathology Residency Program at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at Western University transitioned to competency based medical education curriculum (Competency by Design) in July 2019, under the guidance of the Royal College. The program uses time as a framework and is structured to take place over five years. The rotations are designed to ensure that residents are able to fulfill all of the goals and objectives of training and successfully complete the required Entrustable Professional Activates (EPAs) necessary to practice as competent consultant pathologists. There are elective opportunities that permit the resident to tailor the program to their own needs and goals. In addition, there is a comprehensive education program, with numerous rounds and teaching sessions that supplement the practical training component.

The early introductory and foundational training includes both clinical and pathology based rotations in various specialties. This initial training is designed to be relevant, satisfying the Royal College objectives and aid in preparation for Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination Part II.

During core training, the resident rotates through the surgical pathology and autopsy services to ensure adequate exposure to the various subspecialties in pathology.Surgical pathology includes involvement in frozen sections, gross and microscopic examination, ancillary studies and sign-out. Exposure to numerous subspecialty areas occurs during these rotations. With advancement in training the resident will have the opportunity to take on advanced leadership and teaching opportunities, as well as get further training in individual areas of interest.

Educational Program

There is a comprehensive educational program. An academic half day is held weekly, during this time residents are excused from all service responsibilities. This takes the form of didactic and seminar style teaching, along with practical at-the-microscope sessions, covering a broad range of DMP topics as well as supplementary topics that include Laboratory Management, Quality Assurance and Critical Appraisal. In addition to the academic half day, there are formal teaching sessions and rounds for residents. At the beginning of training in DMP, residents take an integrated Introduction to Pathology course which allows hands-on experience and familiarity with basic lab techniques.


There is a significant period of time available for electives, with a wide choice of electives for the trainee to consider. These can include rotations in specific subspecialty areas of DMP e.g. gynecological or gastrointestinal pathology, or in research. Diagnostic and Molecular Pathology residents may do electives in a community hospital in order to broaden their experience of day-to-day pathology practice. Diagnostic and Molecular Pathology residents may also do electives in clinical pathology disciplines such as hematopathology, chemistry or microbiology if they are considering practicing in a community hospital setting. Overall, the elective program allows residents to tailor their training to achieve their own personal goals and also allows residents to explore possible career choices.


Each resident is required to do two research projects during the course of their residency, including a Quality Assurance project. Residents may do more at their discretion.

Many faculty members have active research programs, and there are many opportunities for residents to do research in a wide range of areas, including both clinicopathological and bench type research. Residents are expected to participate in the annual departmental Research Day.

Research can be performed as part of general rotations or as elective blocks. Residents are encouraged to present their work at provincial, national and international meetings, for which there is departmental funding for travel expenses available. Current and past residents have won numerous research prizes and travel awards.

Teaching by Residents

There are many opportunities for resident teaching. Residents are involved in the teaching of undergraduate medical students (small groups), as well as the informal teaching of medical students and residents from other services who rotate through pathology. There is also a component of resident teaching during the Academic Half Day.


Residents participate in in-training written evaluations four times per year, along with at least two oral examinations.  These mimic the Royal College examinations and provide an outstanding method of preparing for the Royal College examinations. One of these exams includes the annual examination of the American Society of Clinical Pathologists (RISE).