Silvia Uccella is the new Director of the Medical Specialty School in Pathological Anatomy at Humanitas University
Research, strengthening the network with other centres of excellence in Italy and abroad, and a customised pathway for trainee doctors: these are the ‘missions’ of the School of Specialisation in Pathological Anatomy.
Prof. Silvia Uccella is taking over from Prof. Luigi Terracciano, becoming the new Director of the Medical Specialty School in Pathological Anatomy. The new Director comes from the University of Insubria, where she was in charge of the local School of Specialisation, and joined Humanitas University in 2022 as an Associate Professor in Pathological Anatomy.
“In recent years, pathological anatomy has taken on an increasingly central role in a wide range of clinical decisions, particularly in the field of oncology, but also for many inflammatory diseases. This requires anatomopathologists to gain increasingly in-depth expertise in specific topics, or to have ‘ultra-specialisations’ so to speak,” she explains. “In fact, the field of pathological anatomy is comparable in breadth to Internal Medicine or General Surgery. On the other hand, when working in a structure of excellence such as Humanitas, with a very large, heterogeneous and qualitatively demanding caseload, it is essential to have a team of anatomic pathologists who are experts in the individual pathology sectors; this is the only way to meet the needs of patients and clinical specialists who increasingly need specific information for personalised treatment. The aim of the School of Specialisation in Pathological Anatomy is therefore to provide solid theoretical knowledge and substantial practical experience, to give trainee doctors the tools to handle generalist diagnostics and choose the field in which to ‘ultra-specialise”. During the training period, in addition to the course within the school’s facilities, students will have the possibility to participate in exchange periods with other reference centres in Italy or abroad. We believe that confrontation with different realities and further training on specific topics is fundamental.
On 24th July, the Open Day of the Medical Specialty School in Pathological Anatomy was held. During the day, it was possible to visit the facilities and meet not only the university lecturers, but also the staff of specialists and trainees, biologists and laboratory technicians. The participants were allowed to access the rooms dedicated to intraoperative examinations and witness the reduction of surgical pieces, the reading of histological preparations and the performance of molecular analyses. In addition, at the end of the day a discussion of diagnostic cases took place, as well as a visit to the rooms dedicated to research and the Humanitas University campus.
“The School of Pathological Anatomy at Humanitas University is relatively young,” explains the professor, “in fact, the first three specialists graduated in 2022 and immediately found a position in the academic field (one of them at Hunimed) or in a hospital. Last year there were four places available in the first year and we expect a similar number for 2023. Ours is a very solid reality, reflecting the clinical reality of Humanitas, which stands alongside the various clinical specialisations in the diagnostic definition of diseases, in the therapeutic choices, and in the monitoring of patients. Our Pathological Anatomy department is one of the largest and most active in Italy, with a caseload of over 60,000 histological examinations and almost 100,000 total cases per year. Ours is a large, young, highly professional group, diversified both in terms of skills, with diagnostic micro-teams covering all areas of pathology, and in terms of professional experience, gained not only in our campus in Milan, but also in other Italian centres of excellence such as Bologna, Florence, Genoa, Pavia, Varese and others”.
The training network of the School of Specialisation in Pathological Anatomy of Humanitas University includes: IRCCS Istituto Clinico Humanitas in Rozzano (MI); Humanitas Gradenigo Hospital in Turin; ASST Rhodense, Garbagnate Hospital (MI) and ASST Bergamo Ovest, Treviglio and Caravaggio Hospital (BG). The rotation between the different structures meets, among other things, customised training criteria. “In Humanitas, the trainee’s learning pathway is not only compliant with ministerial directives, but is also managed together with the trainee on the basis of his or her inclinations and expectations,” Uccella continues. “We actively encourage students to attend projects focused on improvement in a given field in centres of excellence abroad and in Italy. In recent years we have been supporting trainee doctors with an increasingly customised training approach and with plenty of room for research. We seek to train next-generation anatomic pathologists, who are able to meet the challenges of precision medicine whilst taking a central role in the diagnostic and therapeutic management of the patient. The anatomopathologist is a doctor in his own right and is an irreplaceable figure in all areas of clinical research, thanks to the privileged position held in each patient’s pathway’.