Although modern anatomic and clinical pathology emerged in the late 1800’s, the field is once again dramatically expanding, with the development of new reagents, the advent of molecular profiling techniques, and a better comprehension of the pathophysiology of disease. These advances in understanding and treatment of diseases are rapidly ushering in an era of “personalized medicine.”
Personalized medicine has advanced tremendously in the field of oncology, where the ability to discriminate molecular pathological differences between normal and cancerous tissues, and, thus, to guide treatment approach, is rapidly becoming the norm. In psychiatry, molecular profiling patients leads to more appropriate selection of medications based on a patient’s individual pharmacokinetics. Undoubtedly, as we further our analytic capabilities, we will be able to apply personalized medicine concepts to other disease entities and health care needs.
As part of this new paradigm in medical care, pathology is being integrated at multiple levels into evidence-based medicine. The best way to keep abreast of developments in pathology is to maintain certification in pathology, for instance through the American Board of Pathology (ABP).
ABP now calls this “continuing certification.” “Continuing certification is critical to practicing at high standards,” says Jason L. Hornick, MD, PhD, Professor of Pathology, Harvard Medical School.