Pathology

Welcome from the Chief Resident

Dr. JerewDear Residency Candidate,

Welcome! I’m the current Chief Resident for The University of Toledo Pathology Residency Program and I invite you to peruse our website to learn more about our program.

I believe our program to be a hidden gem. It is a small program in the Midwest and could easily go overlooked, but I think it is a mistake to automatically disregard it. Please allow me to persuade you.

One of our many strengths is, in fact, the size. We may not be mighty in terms of number, but this has some perks. Our faculty to resident ratio is very high and this means that there is always someone available to guide and assist you. You will definitely have one-on-one time with the attendings. This allows for incredibly personalized learning. They are able to assess your current understanding and help you progress to the next steps. Nobody will slip through the cracks in our program.

A lot has changed in recent years. The University of Toledo signed a 50-year affiliation with the ProMedica Toledo Hospital, the largest hospital system in the city. We’re a few years into this transition and we seem to have found a nice balance. What this affiliation provides to residents is an incredible learning opportunity. Because of the affiliation, our program offers the unique opportunity of exposure to two very different types of practice. We spend a significant amount of time in each location, which means we learn the ins and outs of practicing in a small academic setting, as well as a large community practice. I have found this exposure to be invaluable, as I now know more about what I want to seek out in a future employer. We receive academic board-focused education as well as practical knowledge for real-world practice. I can’t emphasize enough how beneficial this is for those of us that will be entering the workforce soon.

More specifically, the affiliation provides us with benefits such as an increased surgical volume. Between the two locations, our residents are exposed to greater than 60,000 widely varied surgical specimens per year as well as over 30,000 cytology specimens, which competes with some of the largest, most reputable programs in the area. We are also given access to state-of-the art clinical pathology labs, including an extensive hematopathology practice, on-site flow cytometry, busy blood bank, and impeccably run microbiology lab.

Beyond that, our program offers incredibly thorough training in clinical pathology, which I consider a significant strength. I have heard of programs that simply encourage you to read your text during CP months. That sounds lovely and flexible, but there is something invaluable about being in the lab and watching exactly how things are done. It makes more sense and sticks with you more effectively.

Most of our time at Toledo Hospital is spent on the third floor of the Neuroscience building. This building was constructed within the past 5 years and, that’s right, we’re on the third floor (not the basement). It has walls of windows and we spend lots of time seeing outside.

Most importantly, we have attendings at all locations that are excellent educators. Lots of them love to teach and they are good at it. I am continually amazed at the amount of time they’re willing to devote to individualized attention to my learning. I will be forever grateful. Not only is this beneficial as I prepare for board exams, but this is great experience that will serve me well throughout my career, I have no doubt.

We also have a focus on research and an attending that will help guide you through any project you wish to pursue. We meet twice monthly to review the literature. The first meeting of the month is a rapid review of the literature, during which each resident is responsible for reviewing three journal articles. The second meeting is an in-depth critical review of one of the articles from the first meeting. The residents rotate through the responsibility of preparing for and presenting this article. He is also an electron microscopist, which provides us with unique access that can’t be found everywhere anymore.

Additionally, we are very involved with the medical school and have the opportunity to participate in teaching for the first and second-year students. We guide small group discussions several times each fall. We also have third and fourth year medical students rotating through our department regularly – as many as four at any one time. The residents are responsible for guiding them through this experience and helping them understand the ins and outs of pathology, and the ways it may apply to their future careers.

Our didactic series is extensive and we are offered “protected” time each morning during which we are not asked to cover any service requirements. The recent pandemic seems to have facilitated this experience, in that we were forced into virtual learning. We have returned to in-person conferences, but we continue to stream everything virtually so that residents in off-site locations are able to attend.

Also noteworthy, is our relationship with the Lucas County Coroner’s Office. Our autopsy rotations are all completed at this location, which is only a few buildings away from UTMC. The LCCO contracts with many local counties and receives many cases daily, both hospital and forensic cases. The coroner and deputy coroners are incredibly knowledgeable and readily share their knowledge with you. Our experience working alongside them, combined with their monthly didactics have us well-prepared for that portion of our board exams. They also work in a large, beautiful, clean space with lots of windows, which makes for a comfortable work environment.

Our relationship with Pinkus laboratories is also important, as it is one of the most renowned dermatopathology laboratories in the region. Our pediatric pathology rotation is completed in an arrangement with Akron Children’s Hospital. We also contract with many local experts for didactic conferences, particularly in neuropathology, blood banking, and toxicology.

As someone that has gone through the Match, I realize that the program is the most important consideration, but it’s nice to know about the area in which you’ll be living for four years as well, as that’s not an insignificant amount of time. Toledo is an affordable place to live and I think it has a lot to offer. I found it amusing when I was interviewing that everyone promoted their zoo. It seemed like multiple cities were claiming to have the best zoo in the country. We do have a zoo, and it’s lovely, but we also offer other amenities. There is a local theater which offers several stage productions each season. The local museum is quite nice and the symphony and ballet both have extensive seasons. The metropark system in Toledo is expansive. There are several nice parks with trails and playgrounds and they’re well-maintained and clean. There is a bike trail on an old railway bed which is 66 miles long. There is lots of shopping nearby, both malls with large chains as well as small boutiques. The Imagination Station is the local science center, which is loved by many kids.

Like many cities, Toledo has several small suburbs, each with their own personalities and shops. This allows for you to find an area that fits your needs and desires. There are some great local school systems, if that’s a consideration for you. (Many of our residents are married and have children, which seems to be very manageable in our program. We also have several that are foot-loose and fancy free and there are fun things for them in the area as well.) In searching, I’m always surprised by the uniqueness of the restaurant scene. There are many local restaurants that you won’t find elsewhere, which I find to be really enjoyable. There are also some nice markets (non-chain grocery stores) and some great farmer’s markets. There are many seasonal festivals for those interested and the Mud Hens and Walleye games are fun to attend. Believe it or not, Toledo even has a small beach along Lake Erie. Toledo is a nice city in terms of transportation. There is a public transit system but most people do have cars. What I really appreciate is that Toledo is a place where there are things to do, but you’re never going to wait in horrible traffic to get to them. Everything is within about 20 minutes.

Toledo is also nicely located geographically, as it’s within reasonable driving distance of desirable destinations. I love to travel and explore new places but, as a resident, I haven’t found time or money for grand adventures abroad. I have found it to be more feasible to take long weekends and explore this region. I find this to be important in terms of finding balance and stress relief, as residency can be demanding at times. It’s easy to schedule a 3- or 4-day weekend away when you’re living in Toledo. Chicago is only a few hours away. Columbus is a great city and it’s just over 2 hours away. Hocking Hills is a nice place in the foothills of Appalachia, if you’re looking for the relaxation of nature. Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Pittsburgh are all relatively close and provide their own appeal. Detroit and Ann Arbor are each about an hour away. Lots of people hop up to Detroit to the airport, which is super easy to navigate and usually an affordable option. Ann Arbor is really cute and has some excellent food options; it is a frequent destination for our residents. In the greater Toledo area, we can’t go without mentioning Cedar Point. If you haven’t been, you should. Marblehead, Put-In-Bay, and Kelley’s Island are also popular summer destinations. There really is a lot to explore and, yes, we have time to go see these things.

So I agree that on the surface we may look like a small program with limited resources to offer a potential candidate. However, we have found a way to compile a program with breadth and depth by cultivating strong relationships with nearby peers. It is this entire network of learning that you will be offered when completing residency with us and I personally believe it to be very desirable and appealing.

We are not afraid of change. Our program is an ever-evolving entity. This malleability allows for the maintenance of a complete program that prepares pathologists for successful careers and it really is a place that prospective pathology residents should consider.

Please feel free to reach out with any questions.

 

Warm regards,

Katherine Schroeder Jerew, M.D.
Pathology Chief Resident
katherine.schroeder@utoledo.edu

Last Updated: 9/2/21