Learn more about our Member Spotlight of the month, Dr. Marina Vivero from her conversation with Dr. Vickie Jo.
2014 Member Spotlight Interview
Dr. Marina Vivero is a cytopathology fellow at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where she also trained in Anatomic Pathology and Pulmonary Pathology. While she is extremely busy honing her eagle eye at the microscope and working on numerous research projects, Dr. Vivero also manages to find time to be an avid gardener (even with the Boston climate!), chef, reader, and world traveler (she speaks four languages). Marina is well on her way to a successful academic career, and the ASC is lucky to welcome her as a new member this summer!
1. How did you first find out about cytology?
I had a little exposure to cytopathology during my medical school rotations, but actually (shockingly!) did not fully appreciate all the aspects of the field until my rotations during residency.
2. What drew you to this subspecialty?
My first exposure to cytology during residency was not until several months into my first year. Before then, I diligently annoyed everyone else by finding isolated tumor cells in lymph nodes. I loved getting to know each cell type and having a conversation in my head about the cytomorphology in each case I came across. Once I started my cytopathology rotation, I knew I had been unintentionally “doing cytology” the whole time and that I had found the right thing for me.
3. Tell us about an interesting case or situation that you’ve encountered in your experience during your fellowship..
I always find unexpected surprises interesting…I recently came across a hepatocellular lesion in a bile duct brushing that I had initially misinterpreted as adenocarcinoma. The experience definitely taught me to avoid being swayed by my preconceptions and to always keep a good differential diagnosis in mind.
4. What do you like best about being a cytopathology fellow?
My favorite things about being a cytopathology fellow are seeing patients and talking to them about how we go about making diagnoses, and the decision-making processes we have to make in order to make sure our patients get the best treatment. We really get to think about the impact that our work makes on the next steps taken in immediate patient management, and that can be very exciting.
5. What is the most rewarding thing that has happened to you in cytology?
Rapid on-site evaluations during FNA procedures have provided me with some of the most upsetting and but also the most rewarding moments during training. On the occasions that we can give a patient a benign diagnosis on the spot, it is very rewarding.
6. How does the practice of cytopathology supplement your skill set as a surgical pathologist with pulmonary training?
In general, I think cytopathology training is going to improve my overall diagnostic skills and provide me with more opportunities to make a diagnosis (e.g. in the frozen section room). Additionally, I think cytopathology will continue to play a very important role with respect to specimen triage for molecular testing and therefore, to targeted therapy of patients with advanced non-small cell lung carcinoma.
7. What are you looking forward to as a member of the ASC?
I am looking forward to continue expanding my educational opportunities and hopefully to meet other like-minded folks!