Chair's Welcome

Welcome to the Department of Pathology website. We are a full service academic pathology department consisting of Anatomic Pathology and Clinical Pathology divisions as well as our basic science Comparative Medicine section. We are the clinical and academic hub for pathology in the Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist system and provide Pathology service line and academic leadership for the Atrium Health Enterprise. With over 50 faculty members here on the Winston-Salem campus, our expertise spans the spectrum of subspecialties in Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. Last year we performed over 6.4 million billable tests, accessioned over 43,000 surgical pathology cases and 22,000 cytology cases. Our forensic pathologists performed approximately 1900 autopsies. Our Pathology residency and fellowship training programs, along with our training programs in Comparative Medicine, are educating the next generation of pathologists, veterinary pathologists, and researchers. True to our mission, the Department conducts clinical, translational, and basic research. Extramural funding totals approximately $13.2 million in grants and contracts. Department faculty authored or coauthored over 140 peer-reviewed manuscripts, many in high impact journals. We are committed to providing high quality, subspecialty pathology and laboratory medicine services to our patients and clinical colleagues. We innovate through research and development, and train students, technologists, physicians, and scientists. We are a unique Department that, in addition to traditional activities and responsibilities of an academic Pathology Department, is an integral part of a larger health system Pathology and Laboratory Medicine service. This allows us to leverage our scale to improve clinical services and academic activities

Please enjoy exploring our website. The below is an excerpt from a recent newsletter to give you an idea of current events within the Department. Please feel free to contact us should you have questions or wish to learn more about us.

The View from the Chair

As summer begins, the academic year winds down. I have a graduate in the family as my youngest graduates from college in June. Time flies, as they say. Our Wake Forest pathology residents and fellows are graduating and ceremonies and festivities are taking place. I would like to take the opportunity to wish our graduates the best in their new endeavors. They be-come alumni and part of the history of our programs. Our trainees move on to a wide variety of positions as junior faculty, practicing pathologists, or continue as trainees in new environments. In all cases, they bring with them the skills, knowledge, and fond memories of their experiences and their teachers. The Wake Forest Pathology diaspora continues to grow and we should take a moment to recognize what a special thing we share.

Dr. Hsi

This past month saw the announcement of our intention to partner with Advocate Aurora Health to become one of the largest health systems in the country. This new system will have the scale, influence, and expertise to move quickly, do more, and lead in transforming health care as we focus on six key areas: clinical pre-eminence and safety, health equity, affordability, next-generation workforce, learning and discovery, and environmental sustainability. You may be wondering how you will be impacted once the partnership moves forward after regulatory review. I would flip this a bit and suggest we imagine how we can impact the partnership (note the use of the term imagine, for those of you paying attention to the theme of our integration retreat earlier this spring – see the April 2022 newsletter). One thing to re-member – Wake Forest is and will be the academic core of this new expanded health system. We have the ability to impact a larger population with the advances, innovations, and best practices developed here in our academic learning
health system (aLHS). Research innovations and learnings are continually put into practice in the aLHS, which then performs further investigation and iteration to drive further improvements in care. Rinse and repeat!

Closer to home, welcome new faculty Assistant Professor Anne (Annie) Shepler and Associate Professor Zahra Aly! Dr. Shepler is an experienced forensic pathologist with prior ties to Wake Forest as an alumna of our medical school! She joins us from Columbus OH where she worked as a forensic pathologist and Deputy Coroner in the Franklin County Forensic Science Center. Dr. Aly also has ties to North Carolina, having spent time on faculty at ECU. She comes most recently from the University of Florida and is our new Section Head of Cytopathology. Thanks to Dr. Heng Hong for acting as our interim Section Head. Dr. Kleven will, sadly, be leaving us this month to start a new chapter back in his home state of Georgia. We wish him all the best and thank him for everything he has done for the department and faculty. A fare-well reception is planned for June 21st at 2:00 – 3:30pm in the Garvin conference room.

I am pleased to report successful navigation of the IPAT capital program that is enabling acquisition of a new Dako immunostainer, a MiSeq next generation sequencer, and a cobas Roche 6800 automated analyzer. These will support Enterprise laboratory needs such as PDL1 testing, high resolution HLA testing, and molecular pathogen testing (including high volume COVID testing). The automation will also enable existing technologists to focus on new molecular oncology testing that we are currently sending out, resulting in vastly improved service for our patients and clinicians. Thanks to Lauren Elmore, Mike Waid, and our AHWFB executive leadership for developing and supporting our proposal.

On the integration front, Dr. Pomper is organizing the CP workgroup by subspecialty as they prioritize their work. A research mini-retreat is occurring this month for the anatomic pathologists here and in Charlotte and Georgia in order to brainstorm and begin collaborating. Thanks to Dr. Appt in Comparative Medicine and Dr. Livasy in Charlotte for organizing this, as well as to all the pathologists involved for making time to get to know one another and collaborate. Finally, you may be interested to know Pathology was tapped to highlight our integration efforts and progress to the Medical Center Board of Directors and also at the Atrium Enterprise Integration Meeting last month. I think this reflects the great work in extraordinary times by the professional, administrative, and technical staff across the Enterprise. I was proud to represent you.