Learn more about our Member Spotlight of the month, Dr. Roseann Wu from her conversation with Dr. Darcy Kerr.
2014 Member Spotlight Interview
1. How did you first find out about cytology?
I first heard about cytology during a 2-week pathology elective, but didn’t really understand what it entailed, except that it involved cells. It wasn’t until I went to fine needle aspiration procedures and rapid on-site evaluations during my residency training that I began to grasp the importance and benefit of cytology as a field. I was impressed at what could be accomplished with just a few cells.
2. What drew you to this profession?
During my histology course in medical school, I enjoyed sketching cells that I saw under the microscope. Later on, I was excited to look at my own red blood cells on a slide. After trying out all the different subspecialty rotations in pathology residency, I was drawn to cytopathology because of the public health impact of screening, the opportunity for direct patient contact, and the fact that cytopathology often establishes new diagnoses for patients.
3. Tell us about an interesting case or situation that you’ve encountered in your practice.
One of my first cases in practice was a 2 cm solid and cystic pancreatic tail mass that I struggled to classify during a rapid on-site interpretation. The cells appeared enlarged with clumped chromatin and occurred in small clusters and as single cells. I favored a neuroendocrine tumor or possibly a low-grade lymphoma, so I said that tumor was present. The permanent slides showed clusters of lymphocytes and sclerosis, likely representing chronic pancreatitis or an accessory spleen. I’m learning to accept that mistakes are opportunities to learn and re-adjust one’s diagnostic eyes.
4. What do you like best about being a cytopathologist?
The best thing about my job is the people with whom I work. Maybe I’m biased, but I’ve found that cytotechnologists and cytopathologists are a fun-loving, supportive bunch. I enjoy working as a team and learning from my colleagues on a daily basis, whether it’s about cytology or a myriad of outside interests.
5. What is the most rewarding thing that has happened to you in cytology?
I’ve been fortunate to have wonderful mentors in cytology, and as a new-in-practice cytopathologist, I’m now entrusted with teaching medical students, residents and fellows. It’s been personally and professionally rewarding to have not only received such excellent mentorship, but also to have the opportunity to mentor others.
6. What do you value most about your membership in the ASC?
The feeling of community and camaraderie at the meetings is palpable, and I value the chance to connect with friends and colleagues. The meetings are large enough that there are plenty of new connections to make, but small enough that you see the same faces again and again.
7. Do you have a memory from the ASC that you would like to share?
The ASC “Make a Star of Your Mentor” program sounded like a great way to thank my research mentor Dr. Martha Pitman for taking me under her wing. Soon after I sent my contribution to the ASC Foundation, I received a pleasant surprise in the mail. A card from the ASC informed me that Dr. Pitman had submitted my name for the ASC “Diamonds in the Rough” program, where a mentor honors a mentee for making them proud. I assumed that she had seen my card and wanted to return the favor. I went to her office to say thanks, and as we chatted, we realized that we had independently submitted one another’s names without knowing that we’d be honored in return. It was wonderful to see our names featured on the “star” board at the ASC meeting that year, along with all the other mentors and mentees that were showing their support and appreciation for one another.