Designing and Implementing a Virtual Anatomic Pathology Elective During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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4 Scopus citations


The COVID-19 pandemic transformed conventional undergraduate medical education, converting previously in-person clerkships into virtual experiences. In order to allow students to gain exposure to the field of pathology, make connections with pathologists, and provide opportunities for letters of recommendation, the authors quickly developed a Virtual Anatomic Pathology Elective at the University of Minnesota. We succeeded in developing the foundation of a Virtual Anatomic Pathology Elective that allows for the rotation to be accessible not only to our medical students but also to international medical graduates and medical students from different programs. In 1 month, we were able to create a 4-week elective that was available before the start of the 2021 residency application season. We provided students with the closest possible experience to an in-person Anatomic Pathology Elective by developing an introductory week of lectures and assignments that provided structure for the rotation, introduced the field of anatomic pathology, and demonstrated the role of pathologists in health care. Furthermore, students attended virtual resident lectures and grand rounds, participated in virtual sign-out sessions, and presented an interesting case to the faculty at the end of their rotation. The goal was ultimately to customize the curriculum to students’ interests by making the rotation applicable to those applying to pathology as well as to other specialties (eg, general surgery, internal medicine, dermatology). Overall, we were able to design and implement a novel Virtual Anatomic Pathology Elective which we know can be effectively reproduced by other medical schools.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAcademic Pathology
StatePublished - Apr 28 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank Mary Ramey, Elizabeth Bockman-Eckberg, and the faculty of the Anatomic Pathology Division at the University of Minnesota for their input and assistance with the development of this course. The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: The article processing fee for this article was funded by an Open Access Award given by the Society of ?67, which supports the mission of the Association of Pathology Chairs to produce the next generation of outstanding investigators and educational scholars in the field of pathology. This award helps to promote the publication of high-quality original scholarship in Academic Pathology by authors at an early stage of academic development.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2021.


  • COVID-19
  • anatomic pathology
  • medical education
  • medical student
  • undergraduate medical education
  • virtual elective

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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