The first four Mondays of each month at 8 AM are dedicated to rotating unknown conferences: 1 surgical pathology, 1 hematopathology, and 1 cytopathology, and 1 gross pathology unknown conference per month. A pediatric pathology unknown conference occupies 5th Mondays (when they occur) on an ad hoc basis.
Unknown slides are available several days in advance in most circumstances, allowing ample time for intensive study. Residents are expected to come to the conference prepared to discuss the following for each case:
- Pathologic features
- Differential diagnosis
- Appropriate ancillary studies for further evaluation
- Clinical features of the various entities
- Optimal format for communicating the salient information to the ordering physician
The process of preparing for these conferences, whereby residents identify gaps in knowledge and skills, and locates resources to remediate these gaps, builds habits for lifelong learning and improvement.