IU School of Medicine

Elective Title: 45CA700 — ANATOMIC PATHOLOGY


This course is designed for 3rd and 4th year medical students interested in a pathology residency program. Students who enroll will receive intensive instruction in gross anatomy, gross dissection and microscopy. The student will learn to gross small biopsies and large resection specimens for cancer. The student will preview surgical pathology cases and sign-out pathology with the pathologist becoming proficient at cancer staging and development of the differential diagnosis with knowledge of ancillary testing. The student will assist with frozen sections and will participate in the intraoperative discussion process with the surgeon. The student will participate in weekly unknown slide conference where the student further enhances their surgical pathology vocabulary and differential diagnosis skills. The student will attend weekly breast cancer conference and bi-monthly specialty tumor boards. Attendance with autopsies is available.

Elective Details:

Primary Contact for Add/Drops: Dr. Brenda Eriksen (beriksen@comhs.org)

Director: Brenda Erikson, M.D.

Campus: Northwest-Gary

Location: Community Hospital (Munster)

Learning Objectives

  • 1) Describe general privacy practices, safety practices and use of PPE in the gross room setting (SBP3)
  • 2) Describe the tissue gross findings and microscopic findings with pathology specific vocabulary and will be able to discuss the differential diagnosis with the pathologists (MK4)
  • 3) Perform gross biopsies and intermediate to complex cases independently (PC5)
  • 4) Diagnose both grossly and microscopically common pathological conditions (MK3)
  • 5) Research relevant clinical information and apply it to clinical-pathologic correlations (PBLI1)
  • 6) Develop a fundamental knowledge pertaining to ancillary testing and the associated fixative used/needed (immunohistochemistry, FISH, cytogenetics, molecular testing, Next Generation Sequencing) for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes (PC5)
  • 7) Demonstrate a good work ethic and professional responsibility in working as a team member with other members of the department, technical and support staff (ISC1)


  • Clinical Performance Evaluation Form; 1) Observations by PPA: knowledge of anatomy, application of pathology to specimen interpretation, following directions, motivation and enthusiasm to participate, grossing vocabulary and psychomotor skills. 2) Observations by Faculty: microscopy skills, cancer staging, ancillary testing, professionalism, teamwork, communication. 3) Oral and written examinations: Unknown case conference (oral, weekly), written examination at the conclusion of the 4 week elective.

Enrollment Information

Prerequisites: 3rd or 4th

Availability with Max Students per Month:


Duty Hours: 40

Time Distribution: 80% Clinical; 10% Laboratory; 5% Library/Research; 5% Lecture/Seminar

Elective Type Category: CP - Clinical Practice

Notes and Enrollment Information:

Add/Drop Contact Person: Dr. Brenda Eriksen (beriksen@comhs.org) THIS ELECTIVE DOES NOT PARTICIPATE IN THE INITIAL SENIOR MATCH All Northwest electives must go thru the Northwest campus coordinators.  Contact Amy Han, PhD  (amyhan@iun.edu or 219-980-6561) or Brittany Miller (millerby@iun.edu or 219-980-6525). 

Third Year Elective? Yes

Interprofessional Skills and Service Learning

Interprofessional Collaborative Skills: None

Service Learning Included: None