Pathology Competencies for Medical Education and Educational Cases


Knollmann-Ritschel, Barbara E. C., MD, Regula, Donald P., MD, Borowitz, Michael J., MD, PhD. “Pathology Competencies for Medical Education and Educational Cases.” Journal of Academic Pathology, 24 July 2017, 1–36.


Health care professional aspiring to be competent in the health care field will need to thoroughly study the normal and the pathological processes of each organ system in the living organism especially in human to enable him or her apply the ability to understand disease mechanisms. This will involve the description of pathobiology and his or her ability to further advance to the area of diagnostic insight and thereby deliver treatment decisions through lifelong academic and medical learning approaches. In this article, three things are outlined, researched, and investigated taking into account that pathology has a central role to assist medical students and physicians in understanding the mechanisms of disease that leads to the signs and symptoms that must be recognized in patients, forming a differential diagnosis, and applying laboratory medicine that allows physicians to rule in or out of individual diagnoses, and make appropriate diagnostic and treatment decisions. According to the article, this is in agreement with the Carnegie Foundation’s report calling for a new reform of learning that is learner centered instead of teacher-centered which results to forming learning outcomes to be tied to competencies that enable medical students or aspiring physicians to do well in the health care field with reference to proper diagnostics, prescriptive measures or treatment decision, and the wise delivery of medical services to patients in the health care environment. According to the article, having understood the necessities of such competencies of medical students or aspiring physicians, the research team has set three goals to give remedy to the situation as to find a lasting educational solution to the problem. The goal of this endeavor includes three-fold: (1) to modify or to amend the formerly website-published pathology competencies in order to have a regular or living document that keeps pace with the current medical practices and understandings and to highlight the significance for all medical students to comprehend the practice of medicine and to remain current with the medical practice; (2) to emphasize laboratory medicines which are not taught in many medical school curricula and (3) to develop and to disseminate a shared resource of pathology competencies and educational cases emphasizing or highlighting the competencies for pathology professors, educators, and students. According to the article, these are developed or will be developed by pathologists and peer-reviewed that represents the fundamental understanding of pathobiology necessary for clinical practice that can easily be adapted into any curriculum in the medical field.

According to the article, Pathology Competencies for Medical Education (PCME) has detailed educational objectives outlined under each goal which directs medical students and course directors to important facets of each learning goal that is individualistic applicable to learners. These facets include disease mechanisms and processes, organ system pathology, and diagnostic medicine and therapeutic pathology. Each learning institution or learner is advised to allow flexibility with reference to the application of the learning goals and objectives in a way that keeps the unique design of each curriculum and learning plan. The competencies are intentionally kept open as they represent the minimum requirements of what pathology course directors across the nation have approved upon to prepare medical students for entry into any placement program and for the subsequent current practice of medicine.

In conclusion according to the article, the educational cases highlight principles of the 3 competencies: (1) disease mechanisms and processes, (2) organ system pathology, and (3) diagnostic medicine and therapeutic pathology. They are presented in a way to help the development of clinical reasoning and the application of basic science into medicine, as well as increase the diagnostic expertise and treatment of disease. Enduring to build and to review the PCME and to create educational cases to highlight what we as a pathology education community feel is essential knowledge for the practice of medicine requires broader contribution.


Medicine being a dedicated unique course of studies with reference to human sciences requires consented effort from various fields of disciplines in the medical field. Such field of discipline as stated in the article is nomenclature as pathobiology dealing with the study of disease life and how disease attacks living cell thereby changing the shape or the morphological dimension of the cell structure. Understanding each organ system and how each organ system functions when influenced by disease is essential for medical students or aspiring physicians to have additional shared resources current on site or online informing them of these issues of concern that affect patients in term of diagnosis and treatment decisions carried out by physicians in the health care environment. In this light, the development of this website as discussed in the article dealing with various issues in medicine with reference to (1) disease mechanisms and processes, (2) organ system pathology, and (3) diagnostic medicine and therapeutic pathology are prescriptive measures taking to help course educators, medical directors, medical students, and physicians diagnose, prescribe, treat or deliver medical services to patients; therefore, this effort is a good resource to the medical community and patient alike.