Decoding Illness: The Important Role of Pathology in Healthcare

Feb 23, 2024

Cleveland Clinic is one of the OMI’s main partner institutions. They have worked together since 2007, making exceptional medical education for individuals from all over the world possible. Ever since the joint corporation of the organizations, their two main seminars in cardiac surgery and pathology, which also started in the year 2007, have been highly successful and have garnered the fellows’ appreciation.

Pathology is a branch of medical science that is focused on the study and diagnosis of disease. Clinical pathology involves the examination of surgically removed organs, tissues (biopsy samples), bodily fluids, and in some cases, the whole body (autopsy).

This week’s seminar focused on a number of subspecialty areas in pathology where we emphasized morphologic diagnosis, highlighted ancillary testing, including molecular diagnostics, and discussed new developments in the field. We shared interesting cases presented by faculty and fellows alike. Throughout the course, an interactive environment was welcomed and encouraged.

The faculty consisted of eight professionals from Cleveland Clinic and the Medical University of Vienna, another of OMI’s long-lasting partner institutions. The power couple, Dr. Jennifer Brainard, course director, and Dr. Renate Kain, co-course director, have led several courses, including this week’s seminar, over the years.

The remaining of this seminar’s cohort were Dr. Ana E. Bennett, Dr. Behrang Mozayani, Dr. Sanjay Mukhopadhyay, Dr. Felicitas Oberndorfer, Dr. Ingrid Simonitsch-Klupp, and Dr. Robert Soslow. Drs. Bennett, Mozayani, Simonitsch-Klupp, and Mukhopadhyay have also all taught at OMI seminars before. This leaves Drs. Oberndorfer and Soslow to join the OMI pathology faculty as its newest members.

The faculty put together a compelling schedule that included cutting-edge information, centered on the core areas of GI pathology, gynecologic pathology/ gynecologic cytology, non-gynecologic cytology, and pulmonary pathology.

33 fellows from 24 countries gathered at Schloss Arenberg from February 18-24, 2024, for the Pathology seminar, which has a three-year curriculum, to learn and exchange information about the newest updates in the medical specialty. The fellows arrived from as far away as Belarus, Portugal, Kenya, Moldova, Russia, and Tanzania. The enthusiastic group not only bonded amongst each other, but also with faculty members over shared meals and a classical music concert.

Dr. Brainard speaks about her reasons for traveling to Salzburg to teach pro bono in a statement. She explains: “I speak on behalf of all the faculty involved in the pathology course this week when I say we love coming to Salzburg! We are all educators, and we enjoy teaching the tremendously engaged fellows. We hope to make a difference with this knowledge exchange.

In particular, the format of this course allows us to develop relationships with the fellows that have the potential to last well beyond the course week. We value these relationships as much as the fellows. We are struck with how similar things are in pathology departments across the globe! We particularly value the collaboration between Cleveland Clinic and the Medical University of Vienna. We work together to provide up to date educational content for the fellows as well as opportunities for observerships after the course – with the bonus of getting to know each other as well!”

Faculty and fellows not only exchanged their knowledge during the 20 didactic lectures presented by faculty members, but also during two case presentation sessions by fellows. After a selection process, the faculty unanimously chose seven cases to be awarded the “Excellent Case Presentation” status. The nominated presentations were the following: “Cutaneous Neurotrophic Tyrosine Receptor Kinase- Rearranged Spindle Cell Neoplasm” by Dr. Andreia Coutada from Portugal, “Mycosis Fungoides” by Dr. Antonina Kalmykova from Ukraine, “Unexpected Pulmonary Biopsy Finding” by Dr. Tomáš Krajčovič from Slovakia, “53-Year-Old Woman with Ovarian Tumor” by Dr. Petr Kujal from Czech Republic, “Primary Intracranial Melanoma” by Dr. Enkhee Ochirjav from Mongolia, “Janus-Faced Limb Swelling” by Dr. Kata Palos from Hungary, and “Lymphoma” by Dr. Václav Stejskal from Czech Republic.

Dr. Enkhee Ochirjav

Dr. Enkhee Ochirjav

OMI Fellow from Mongolia

“Dr. Kain’s lecture on Wednesday was very helpful for my future work because I now know how to deal with difficult small nasal biopsies and some vasculitis.”

Dr. Václav Stejskal

Dr. Václav Stejskal

OMI Fellow from Czech Republic

“The case presentation variety was extremely broad, ranging from an immensely rare case to more common cases, with interesting clinical history or histological findings.”

Dr. Kata Palos

Dr. Kata Palos

OMI Fellow from Hungary

“I have gained a lot of knowledge, many new friendships (we are already planning zoom conferences to present interesting cases to each other), and more motivation to improve professionally!”