ASCP Releases Innovative Curriculum Designed to Move Pathologists to the Forefront of Genomic Medicine

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The Genomic Pathology Workshop Instructor’s Handbook and Toolkit offers instructors a "how to” guide for implementation of a genomics curriculum

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“This innovative new program allows us to bridge the gap between genomic research and its application to patient care,” ASCP President William G. Finn, MD, FASCP, says.

A new educational resource—The Genomic Pathology Workshop Instructor’s Handbook and Toolkit—developed through a five-year, $1.3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is now available for pathology trainees worldwide.

Developed by the Training Residents in Genomics (TRIG) Working Group with educational design support from the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP), the handbook and accompanying online toolkit can be downloaded for free at http://www.pathologylearning.org/trig. The program builds on a curriculum first developed at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, in Boston, and provides the materials and guidance needed to implement structured and field tested introductory training in genomic medicine. While geared towards pathology residents, the material and teaching methods are applicable to other healthcare specialties and providers.

The curriculum provides seven hours of instruction and uses a flipped classroom and team-based learning approach. The workshop follows the case of a patient with breast cancer and also includes a discussion of other uses of genomic testing.

“This initiative has included major pathology and genetics professional organizations in the United States, collaborating to produce the highest quality educational resource,” says Richard L. Haspel, MD, PhD, FASCP, Chair of the TRIG Working Group and Assistant Professor of Pathology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) and Harvard Medical School, in Boston.

“We have provided everything needed for a program to implement training including handouts, PowerPoint presentations, references and detailed instructions,” Dr. Haspel adds. “The curriculum is based on successful workshops conducted and rigorously evaluated at national pathology meetings.”

“This innovative new program allows us to bridge the gap between genomic research and its application to patient care,” ASCP President William G. Finn, MD, FASCP, says. “Genomic testing will have a major impact on the diagnosis and treatment of patients. As a leader in education, ASCP will help translate this research into practical, applied learning for resident pathologists.”

“Pathologists and medical laboratory professionals—as directors of diagnostic laboratories—are in an ideal position to help to guide both clinicians and patients alike in understanding genomics information to interpret and act on this wealth of data,” notes Dr. Finn. “This knowledge will help elevate the role pathologists play in genomic medicine and patient care.”

In 2010, with the backing of the Pathology Residency Program Directors Section of the Association of Pathology Chairs, the Training Residents in Genomics (TRIG) Working Group was formed. With key administrative support from ASCP, this group, chaired by Dr. Haspel, consists of experts in molecular pathology, genetic counseling, and medical genetics. The TRIG Working Group is a cooperative effort with members from many major pathology organizations including American Society for Investigative Pathology (ASIP), ASCP, Association for Molecular Pathology (AMP), College of American Pathologists (CAP), Intersociety Council for Pathology Information (ICPI), United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology (USCAP) as well as representatives from the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics (ACMG) and National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC).

“While the material is clearly useful for pathologists, other specialties can benefit from this comprehensive handbook and toolkit,” says Elizabeth Varga, MS, LGC, who is the NSGC representative to the TRIG Working Group. “In addition to the collaborative approach, what is particularly unique and impressive is the focus on best teaching practices, with participants interactively utilizing online genomics tools to answer clinical questions.”

“Pathologists direct clinical laboratories and have the expertise to ensure accurate testing and result reporting,” concludes Dr. Haspel. “It is our responsibility to help educate our trainees as well as other clinicians in the application of genomic testing to patient care.”

About Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is a patient care, teaching and research affiliate of Harvard Medical School, and currently ranks third in National Institutes of Health funding among independent hospitals nationwide. BIDMC is in the community with Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Milton, Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Needham, Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Plymouth, Anna Jaques Hospital, Cambridge Health Alliance, Lawrence General Hospital, Signature Healthcare, Beth Israel Deaconess HealthCare, Community Care Alliance, and Atrius Health. BIDMC is also clinically affiliated with the Joslin Diabetes Center and Hebrew Senior Life and is a research partner of Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center. BIDMC is the official hospital of the Boston Red Sox. For more information, visit http://www.bidmc.org.

About ASCP
Founded in 1922 in Chicago, ASCP is a medical professional society with more than 100,000 member board-certified anatomic and clinical pathologists, pathology residents and fellows, laboratory professionals, and students. ASCP provides excellence in education, certification, and advocacy on behalf of patients, pathologists, and laboratory professionals. To learn more, visit http://www.ascp.org. Follow us on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ascp_chicago and connect with us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ASCP.Chicago.

About the TRIG Working Group
In 2010, the Training Residents in Genomics (TRIG) Working Group was formed through the Pathology Residency Program Directors Section (PRODS) of the Association of Pathology Chairs (APC). The goals of this group, made up of experts in medical education, molecular pathology, and clinical genetics, are to develop teaching tools, and promote genomic pathology education. The TRIG working group includes members from major pathology and genetics professional organizations. For more information, visit http://www.pathologylearning.org/trig

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Pam Flores
American Society for Clinical Pathology
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