Miller School Pathologists Lead Education Initiative in Latin America

The sessions in cytopathology are a collaboration with Fundación Universitaria de Ciencias de la Salud (FUCS) in Bogota and offer a robust curriculum of virtual and in-person training.

Microscope with a slide beneath the lens

Under the leadership of Monica Garcia-Buitrago, M.D., the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine’s Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine is helping to enhance the standards of cytopathology in Latin America.

This comprehensive program, presented in collaboration with Fundación Universitaria de Ciencias de la Salud (FUCS) in Bogota D.C., Colombia, offers 130 hours of virtual and in-person training covering gynecological and non-gynecological cytology for cytotechnologists, pathology residents and pathologists. After-hours lectures accompany additional, self-directed studies, drawing from a wealth of challenging cytopathology cases.

The department has a longstanding interest in advancing international cytopathology practices. Faculty members have given cytopathology lectures in Central and South America and noted the disparities in techniques and training, particularly in non-gynecological cytology.

“Recognizing cytopathology as a frontline diagnostic and prognostic pathology method integral to patient care, our program provides a unique training opportunity for professionals that, ultimately, benefits patients,” Dr. Garcia-Buitrago said.

Drs. Gomez-Fernandez, Garcia-Buitrago and Jorda in their white coats.
From left, Dr. Carmen Gomez-Fernandez, Dr. Monica Garcia-Buitrago and Dr. Merce Jorda.

Joining Dr. Garcia-Buitrago in contributing to the lectures are:

Merce Jorda, M.D., Ph.D., professor and Joseph R. Coulter, Jr. Chair in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

Carmen Gomez-Fernandez, M.D., professor in the Miller School’s Division of Anatomic Pathology and vice chair of education and trainee mentoring for the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

Roberto Ruiz-Cordero, M.D., clinical associate professor and director of cytopathology for the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

Jaylou Velez Torres, M.D., clinical assistant professor in the Division of Anatomic Pathology

Manuel Lora Gonzalez, M.D., from the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

Maritza Polania, the department’s director of quality management, is also an active participant in the initiative.

The program is overseen by Dr. Garcia-Buitrago and Adriana Zanaty, senior manager of education programs at the University of Miami. They’re collaborating with a dedicated team from FUCS including Martin Poveda, the dean of cytohistotechnology at FUCS, and Ivonne Soler, a FUCS cytotechnology instructor.

The program’s first session was February 6. Its 85 enrollees from Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay and Mexico included about one-fifth pathologists and four-fifths cytotechnologists.

“The broader impact of this initiative is highlighting its role in fostering international engagement for our faculty,” Dr. Jorda said.

Last year, Drs. Jorda, Gomez-Fernandez and Garcia-Buitrago were named fellows of the International Academy of Pathology (IAC), an achievement that underscores the department’s commitment to global education.

Dr. Gomez-Fernandez envisions the program serving as a template for further educational initiatives.

“Our hope is that the program will inspire other institutions to develop similar training and further contribute to the advancement of cytopathology worldwide,” she said.

Tags: Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Dr. Carmen Gomez-Fernandez, Dr. Jaylou Velez-Torres, Dr. Manuel Lora Gonzalez, Dr. Merce Jorda, Dr. Monica Garcia-Buitrago, Dr. Roberto Ruiz-Cordero, International Academy of Cytopathology