SOM Establishes New Pathology Fellowship

NEWS RELEASE March 6, 2008 Contacts: Luke Frank, Media Relations Manager, 272-3679; 907-9525 (cell) FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEALBUQUERQUE, NM – The Department of Pathology at UNM’s Health Sciences Center recently received approval for a new Molecular Genetic Pathology (MGP) Fellowship by the National Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). The Pathology Department, with assistance from the UNM Cancer Center, UNM Department of Pediatrics and TriCore Reference Laboratories, applied for the Fellowship late last year. In offering the MGP fellowship, UNM joins just 16 other ACGME-accredited programs at major training institutions nationally. According to Interim Pathology Department Chair Brian Hjelle, M.D., the fellowship program will greatly strengthen the department’s program in molecular diagnosis, while providing an opportunity for residents in the Pathology Department to continue their education and subspecialize in Molecular Genetic Pathology. Moreover, the new MGP Fellowship should increase molecular diagnostic testing for devastating diseases like cancer, diabetes and other genetic diseases, while advancing the local standard of care for these afflictions. “It’s intended to help foster the movement of technologies from ‘bench-to-bedside’, or from research to actual clinical use,” Hjelle offers. “We've known for some time that we were positioned to front an MGP fellowship, in part because of the phenomenal amount of case-material available to us locally for clinical and research studies through TriCore, UNM Cancer Center, and UNM Pathology,” Hjelle relates. “Among these three facilities alone, we’ll have access to 16,000 molecular diagnostic procedures, 900 molecular oncology procedures and 1,300 cytogenetics procedures.” Hjelle credits a powerful Pathology Department team – led by new MGP Fellowship Program Director Mohammad Vasef, M.D., and Thomas Williams, M.D. – for successfully establishing the program. “Dr. Vasef has considerable expertise on the genetic bases of cancer,” he asserts, “while Thomas Williams, M.D., is solidly proficient in non-cancer related genetic diseases. “We had tremendous support from Pathology faculty members Kathy Foucar, M.D., and Theresa Bocklage, M.D., as well as other faculty and staff members, including Carol Clericuzio, M.D., Joanne Milisa and Janet Kelly.” For more information on the HSC’s Molecular Genetic Pathology Fellowship program, call 272-4814 or visit

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