From left: Dr. Nawar Hakim, Dr. Attilio Orazi, and Dr. Jude Abadie of TTUHSC El Paso’s Department of Pathology - Photo Courtesy of TTUHSC

TTUHSC El Paso Establishes Transformative Pathology Residency Program

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) El Paso is now home to a pathology residency program, a milestone expected to bring many benefits to our Borderplex community.

The new pathology program will offer clinical laboratory training for medical residents to become proficient in clinical and anatomic pathology. Pathologists serve as expert consultants to other physicians by studying patient tissues, blood, cells and body fluids to diagnose and monitor injuries and diseases, such as cancer. They also conduct autopsy examinations to determine cause of death.

“The establishment of any residency program is not only a Herculean undertaking requiring a concerted team effort by providers and administrators, but it’s also a substantial commitment,” said Jude Abadie, Ph.D., DABCC, FAACC, DABMGG, FACMG, associate professor and director of clinical pathology at TTUHSC El Paso. Dr. Abadie said the program received approval from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education on the first try. “Such a commitment will be ongoing and advance with the progression of our residency program. It will be continuously demanding and rewarding while making positive changes to the landscape of our department and our community.”

In 2021, Dr. Abadie put local pathology on the map when he researched transfusion management of trauma from the 2019 El Paso Walmart mass shooting and compared El Paso’s outcomes with other mass shooting incidents. Residents in the program will have opportunities to use regional pathology for a national impact.

Interviews for the first three pathology residency positions will begin this fall, and the selected physicians will begin training in July 2023. After four years of training, residents will take board exams to be board certified in both anatomic pathology and clinical pathology. Dr. Abadie said that successful candidates in the program will gain expertise and a life-long passion for anatomic and clinical pathology. They will also be well-prepared for outstanding professional and leadership roles.

The pathology residency program is the only of its kind in the El Paso area, with the next-nearest pathology programs located in San Antonio, Texas, and Albuquerque, New Mexico. Nationwide, there are only 145 pathology residency programs.

Attilio Orazi, M.D., chair of the Department of Pathology, said the new residency program also benefits students graduating from TTUHSC El Paso’s Foster School of Medicine.  “Many of our graduates look forward to having access to multiple residency options. To train here for a career in pathology is one of them,” he said.

Because many physicians stay in the community where they complete their residency, the program is expected to help expand pathology services in our Borderplex community and impact the local economy, where TTUHSC El Paso already contributes $634.4 million annually.

Dr. Orazi, along with Department of Pathology Program Director Nawar Hakim, M.D., said that this historic moment for TTUHSC El Paso is a great benefit for the community as it will expand the university’s efforts to fill the shortage of physicians in the region and it will provide a quicker diagnosis for patients. Having more pathologists provide diagnoses will also impact a community where diseases like diabetes and pancreatic cancer affect the unique Hispanic border population at a higher rate.

“This residency program makes TTUHSC El Paso a more competitive medical center and will allow us to recruit and train the next generation of pathologists. When those pathologists stay in the area, access to pathology services will increase, patient wait times will decrease, and our Borderplex will be positively impacted,” Dr. Orazi said.

About Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso

TTUHSC El Paso is the only health sciences center on the U.S.-Mexico border and serves 108 counties in West Texas that have been historically underserved. It is one of only two health sciences centers in the nation designated as a Title V Hispanic-Serving Institution, preparing the next generation of health care leaders, 48% of whom identify as Hispanic.

TTUHSC El Paso was established to focus on the unique health care and educational needs of our Borderplex community. In 2023, TTUHSC El Paso will celebrate its 10th anniversary as an autonomous university within the Texas Tech University System. In those 10 years, the university has graduated nearly 2,000 doctors, nurses and researchers, soon adding dentists to its alumni.


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