Director’s Welcome

Welcome to our residency program!

Kristen A. Atkins, M.D.Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains is a vibrant academic community whose ambition is to cultivate the brightest up-and-coming pathologists. As the residency program director, I strive to create a program that is challenging but incredibly rewarding. I am a strong advocate for resident wellbeing and continually implement measures to promote work-life balance, as evidenced by my recent updates to the first year curriculum. I am delighted to introduce you to our program, and hope you find our residents and faculty to be an outstanding group.

Our dynamic residency program changes in concert with the field of pathology. The surgical pathology suite is spacious, equipped with customizable grossing benches, two multi-headed scopes, modern photography equipment, several computer workstations, and a small kitchenette that often is filled with home-baked goods.  This inviting environment will assuage the occasional late nights and after hours frozen sections.

Incoming residents are provided with a personal desk in an office with two or three other residents. The resident offices are located in the same hallway as the faculty, which results in a very collegial atmosphere. It is routine to hear laughter and witty banter arising from down the hall. Since the entire anatomic pathology department is on the same floor, residents are able to gain an appreciation for “behind the scenes” pathology (i.e. you will know who embedded your tissue and prepared your special stains).

Second year residents focus on Lab Medicine and rotate through Hematopathology, Clinic Chemistry, Microbiology, Blood Banking and Transfusion Medicine, Molecular/Genomic Pathology, Cytogentics, Coagulation and Informatics.  Although the topics are wide spread, the division is cohesive and culminates in the weekly Lab Medicine Call conference.  This educational and lively Friday morning session  consistently has high faculty participation, allowing residents to learn from the experts as call situations are discussed.

As the residents progress through their 3rd and 4th years they are given increased responsibility and independence. Throughout residency trainees teach medical students in the preclerkship courses and during their rotations in pathology.  Research is encouraged regardless of what eventual career a trainee desires; this allows a trainee to become proficient in a particular topic and to learn to critically read the literature.  By graduation the faculty proudly matriculate competent and confident Pathologists.

This past year, our residents traveled from all over the country to join our program.  From around the country to native Virginians,  they are all making Charlottesville,Virginia their new home. Relative to its population, Charlottesville offers a wide range of restaurants, live performances, outdoor activities, and nearby attractions (i.e. wineries, The Atlantic Ocean, Appalachian Mountains, Washington DC). It is a great place to branch out and explore as well as raise children. Seasonally speaking, the autumn foliage is stunning, winters are quite mild, springs are abundant with flowers, and the summers provide ample rain and sunshine for outdoor gardens.

Our residency program is truly a gem. Despite its medium-size our department is a motivating force lead by internationally recognized faculty. At the most recent United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology (USCAP) annual meeting 13 of our trainee submissions were accepted. This over-representation is just one example of our drive to excel. We are proud of our accomplishments and strive to be a leader in the ever-changing field of pathology. I hope that you consider joining our team!


Best regards,

Kristen Atkins, MD