Elaine S Jaffe, MD National Insts of Hlth Bldg 10 Rm 2B 42 MSC 1500 10 Center Dr Bethesda, MD 20892
Tel: (301) 496-0183 Fax: (301) 402-2415
We do not participate in the National Resident Matching Program, but advise that applications be submitted through ERAS.
This is an Anatomic Pathology (AP-only) residency program. Clinical Pathology (CP) residency training is not offered.
Comments on the Program:Edit
"As a faculty member actively involved in resident and fellow education at NIH from 1992 – 2008, the program is well known to me.
"The NIH has a 3 or 4 year AP program that is rich with research opportunities and AP exposure. The faculty is world class and dedicated to resident education. Academic opportunities abound. The residents are smart, motivated and incredibly congenial. The cases are complex and interesting and are worked up to promote both the understanding of disease processes and resident/fellow education. In addition, residents have the unique ability to take a considerable amount of elective time in outside institutions, thereby enhancing their specific or general interests in anatomic pathology or research. The opportunity to study outside the institution is also a chance to be involved first hand in the way pathology is practiced in more than one institution, which is an education in itself.
"Residents from the Pathology program at NIH have always had their choice of some of the most competitive fellowships in the country: University of Pennsylvania (surg path), M.D. Anderson (Dermpath), Cleveland Clinic (Dermpath), just to name a few, in the last couple of years. On most occasions, the fellows from NIH fellowships (Cytopathology, Hematopathology) have their choice of not just one, but multiple job offers.
"Of those that are invited for interviews at NIH, some applicants may give seminars. These seminars offer fledgling pathology applicants the ability to present their research to NIH scientists and represent incredible opportunities to make contacts, find potential research collaborations and foster professional friendships."
"Having trained in this program, my experience as a resident would probably count as "first-hand". When I joined residency I did search on the internet for information regarding this program and found very little. It seemed like people either did not know much about the program or cared too little to post anything about it.
"I think the experience at NIH is an unique one. It is unlike any other program in the country. Not being a regular hospital, one does not see much bread and butter pathology. But what it lacks in volume and monotony it makes up in the uniqueness of the cases you do see. You see tons of rarities, things you do not see much of elsewhere. Which to me are the things one needs to learn to recognize because honestly how many gall bladders does one need to look at before one recognizes chronic cholecystitis? In terms of getting to look at boring everyday pathology, the program has mandatory rotations (Surgical as well as Cytopath) in other DC area hospitals to expose the residents to regular bread and butter pathology. Most residents rotate through George Washington or Georgetown or Hopkins or NNMC (which is right across the street and quite convenient). Being a cancer institute most of what one will encounter on a daily basis are tumors. But you also see a fair amount of "normal" because of the surveillance protocols that the patients are on. Volume-wise there isn't that much, but there is usually a single resident on each service every month. Which means when you are on Surg-path service you get every single case and you gross everyday and you preview everyday and you sign-out everyday. Which gets busy but it gives you the chance to see all the cases for that month. And when you add that up it compares quite well with any of the other outside programs where one is on a 3 or 4-man cycle during Surg-path.
"The attendings are some of the best in their field and there is ample scope for research projects. The program has shifted focus in the last few years from a more research driven emphasis to a more clinical one. Research projects are encouraged but not emphasized. The biggest strength of the program is the amount of elective time given to pursue either research or clinical rotations. Which means the resident can choose to tailor his/ her residency in a direction he/ she was interested in. We have had residents spending all their elective time working on a research project and we've had residents spending elective time doing sub-speciality rotations in a field that fascinated them and in programs where they were planning on applying for fellowship subsequently.
"Most residents go on to do fellowships of their choice in really good programs. The program offers a hematopathology and a cytopathology fellowship. Historically one of three residents will stay on an additional year to do research which is also an option the program offers. The research opportunities are fantastic and you have the scope to work with the really big names in any field and get publications that are high impact and ground breaking. The NIH name goes a long way and although a lot of people are not aware of the residency program, it carries a lot of clout during interviews.
"The downside is there is no CP, so you'd have to know that you want to do AP only if you were to apply. And for most people that is not an issue at all. The program also does not go through the Match. Which again was never an issue for me since I'd rather have the guarantee of a position in a really good program than go through the nightmare of the Match.
"The other great thing is the pay is really good, which is much much higher than any other residency program. NIH has a great loan repayment program which can come in real handy. And one gets to live in the DC area which is kinda cool.
"Yup the 3 residents a year makes it competitive but it is totally worth it." 
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