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Should academic programs focus on interdisciplinary education or be specialized in their concentration?

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Voices from the Hill

Below is the response to the following questions: Should academic programs focus on interdisciplinary education or should they be specialized in their concentration? Please be specific and provide a detailed explanation to support your argument. Also, what are some creative approaches to interdisciplinary academic collaborations?

By nature of the focus, each program is and should be specialized in their concentration. However, to be excellent at what one does, one needs to have a broader experience and appreciation for the other disciplines that influence or impact the practice of one’s specialty. Only then can one comprehend the endless possibilities in the creative process, be that journalism, basic scientific research or the development of a differential diagnosis when presented with a group of symptoms in a patient.

In pathology, I have always been a proponent of having the pathology residents participate in clinical rounds with medical house staff. In this way, they are able to correlate the laboratory tests, evaluations and results they encounter in the clinical labs such as hematology, chemistry, blood bank and even microbiology with the clinical presentations and treatments of actual patients. The two teams can then learn together. One about the clinical presentations that correlate with labs, and the other with the interpretation of the results of the tests that they order in clinical evaluation patients. Both learn to choose the appropriate tests to support clinical diagnostic suspicions.

Theresa M. Boyd, M.D., associate professor of Pathology, Director Transfusion Service


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