Learn more about our Member Spotlight of the month, Dr. Shelley Odronic from her conversation with Membership Committee Member Dr. Amber Smith.
2014 Member Spotlight Interview
1. How did you first find out about cytology?
In medical school, unfortunately I had very little exposure to cytology. Our cellular biology course only included surgical pathology specimens, and the only cytology that I saw was the Pap test on OB/GYN. As a first year pathology resident at the Cleveland Clinic, I thought that I would specialize in dermatopathology until I had my first cytology rotation. Luckily, this occurred relatively early in my training and I have been fascinated by cytology ever since.
2. Why did you choose to be a cytopathologist?
I discovered that cytology required an unparalleled attention to detail and thoroughness, and I enjoyed the critical thinking and judgment skills necessary to form an interpretation with limited cellularity and architectural clues. I liked these challenges inherent to the practice of cytology, as well as the emphasis on the integration of clinical findings, accompanying surgical pathology specimens and molecular studies. I also enjoyed the variety of cases and became interested in new techniques in minimally invasive lung sampling.
3. What is your favorite thing about being a cytopathologist?
When I perform peripheral fine needle aspirations, I view it as an opportunity to educate patients and their families about the field of cytology and the role of cytopathologists and cytotechnologists. This includes, not just our role in the patient’s healthcare, but also what they can do for their own health. We have a unique perspective as the diagnostician and doctor’s doctor, and I have found that patients are often interested in meeting us and learning our part and perspective in their care. This same discussion can take place with everyone that we encounter in our daily lives both inside and outside of work. We need to have a voice. We are necessary advocates for patient care and our profession.
4. What do you think is the biggest challenge facing cytopathology in the years ahead?
With change comes opportunity. There is a lot of discussion regarding recent developments in the field, but the cytopathology community will adapt and must remain flexible. As the prevalence and use of the Pap test and the role of the cytotechnologist is evolving, the ASC is helping us to navigate the road ahead. This is an exciting time for creative innovation as we explore new avenues to help direct our future.
5. What do you value most about your membership in the ASC?
It is crucial to be an ASC member in order to have access to the latest information, learn about advancements in the field, and connect with colleagues. We are fortunate to have such a strong and enthusiastic community. The ASC helps to ensure a high quality standard for cytopathology across the country by providing numerous tools to its members on its website, in the ASC Bulletin, and through the active listserv where members can inquire about issues affecting their laboratory. I have learned so much through this distribution of materials; it makes my membership incredibly valuable.
6. Do you have a favorite memory from an ASC Meeting?
My first ASC meeting was four years ago and it was amazing. I loved the exciting interchange of ideas, the innovative poster and platform presentations, and the endless opportunities for courses. I found it very intellectually stimulating and a lot of fun. I made lifelong friends who I look forward to seeing every year. We are all busy, but this is the one time that we can come together in the same place and celebrate our love of cytology. I have not missed an ASC Annual Scientific Meeting since and continue to look for more ways to be involved in our Society.
7. What are you most looking forward to at next year’s Meeting?
The ASC 63rd Annual Scientific Meeting in Chicago is exciting because the Paris System for urine cytology and the Bethesda 3 for gynecologic cytology will be released and these new and revised classification systems will generate discussion. Because of the continual research in cytology and current changes in clinical practice, there will be a lot of new developments over the next year and the ASC is always at the forefront. This year I attended an interactive panel luncheon on next generation sequencing, telepathology, and smart phone uses that demonstrated the current technology. I cannot wait to see what is in store for next year!