member spotlight

Learn more about Dr. Sharon Song, our Member Spotlight of the month, from her conversation with Membership Committee Chair Dr. Roseann I. Wu

Sharon Song, MD

Sharon Song, MD

Sharon Song, MD

Anatomic and Clinical Pathology Resident
Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania

Interviewed by: Roseann I. Wu, MD, MPH
Assistant Professor of Clinical Pathology & Laboratory Medicine
Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania

 

 

  1. What drew you to this profession?

What I love about pathology is understanding the correlation between a patient’s clinical presentation and the gross and histologic findings, getting to the root cause of a patient’s disease on a cellular level. Cytology engages the fact that we’re all essentially an amalgam of cells, cycling through various stages of growth and death. To be able to discern the type of disease a patient has, based on the morphology of individual cells, is powerful and very cool.

  1. What do you like best about being a cytopathologist?

You’re on the frontline, making diagnoses using a minimally invasive technique—diagnoses that have an immediate impact on management decisions. It helps that cytology is visually arresting. It’s one of my favorite things about it.

  1. What is the most rewarding thing that has happened to you in cytology?

I think one of the hardest things about being a patient is waiting for results and coping with the anxiety that comes with not knowing. In that sense, being involved with rapid on-site evaluations is very gratifying. We’re able to provide an immediate, preliminary diagnosis to clinicians and their patients, shortening wait times and allowing them to decide on the next step.

  1. What do you value most about your membership in the ASC?

I appreciate the strong sense of community, plus the educational resources and opportunities that have been made available to me as a trainee. I look forward to seeing what the future brings.

  1. What advice would you give to students coming into the profession?

There’s so much to know in pathology, and to grow as pathologists, it’s really important to stay up to date with the literature. Find a subspecialty that speaks to you. It’s easier to read and keep up when you enjoy what you do.

I also think performing cytohistologic correlations whenever possible is excellent training for your eye, whether you want to be a cytologist, a surgical pathologist or both. It fine-tunes your diagnostic ability.

  1. What are challenges that your generation of pathology trainees will face in the field?

In the future I think we’ll see miniaturization of tissue samples. We’ll be extracting more data from smaller amounts of tissue, relying more on ancillary tests such as molecular studies to refine our morphologic impressions. This is going to become a bigger part of our practice and one that we’ll have to fully embrace.

  1. How can we encourage more students and trainees to consider cytopathology?

Exposure is key. Encourage residents to do their cytopathology rotation early on in their training. Even if they don’t end up pursuing this specialty, the skills taken away from cytology are invaluable to any morphologist.

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