Arben Santo, M.D., Ph.D.
The Pathology Department consists of seven faculty members that teach first and second year students the fundamentals of pathology. The pathology course goes throughout the first two years of the VCOM curriculum. The course of pathology provides an introduction to the mechanisms of disease and to the morphology, clinical and laboratory characterization of a broad spectrum of disease entities.
The aim of the pathology course is to provide a foundation for the understanding of the disease process at the molecular, cellular, tissue and organismal level. The study of structural and functional changes in tissues and organs that result from disease processes forms the core of the course but is offered in conjunction with other relevant topics such as etiology, pathogenesis, clinical and laboratory manifestations of the disease.
The pathology course is designed to expose students to three learning situations: (1) Lectures, (2) Pathology Interactive Case Studies, and (3) Pathology Case Quizzes.
Pathology Interactive Case Studies constitute the main body of the course. The purpose of Pathology Interactive Case Studies is to present a clinical vignette and to use it as a means to introduce the student to the alterations in the structure and function of the organ or tissue behind the clinical picture. Written in HTML language, the Pathology Interactive Case Studies are composed of about 150 pathology learning modules. Each of them utilizes digital images viewed on a computer screen instead of the traditional gross specimens and microscopy slides. They follow a self-instructional format that allows students to “dissect” the disease process layer after layer in order to understand structure-function parallels and clinical-pathological correlations of the clinical case presented.