Here are some answers to frequently asked questions.The first few questions focus on the application and interview process, and later questions focus on the residency program details. Please feel free to contact us directly with any additional questions not listed on this page at NRVicario@llu.edu.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many positions are there in the program?

There are 16 total residents, with the number of positions varying between 3 and 5 each year. Most residents are in the AP/CP track, but AP only and CP only have been offered in the past.

When do applicants start getting reviewed? Can I contact the program education office to inquire on the status of my application?

Completed ERAS applications are reviewed shortly after they become available from ERAS from applicants registered for the NRMP match. Invitations for candidate interviews are sent starting in mid-to-late September, and continued on a rolling basis as ERAS applications are completed.  

Applicants are encouraged to contact the program coordinator, Nina Vicario, regarding the scheduling of interviews, application questions, and any other inquiries.

Who should write my reference letters?

We recommend getting letters from faculty or mentors who are familiar with you and can write strong letters of support.  These can be attending physicians who you have worked with for a substantial amount of time or research mentors who you have worked with on long-term projects.  We recommend having at least one letter from a pathologist who can comment on your interest and commitment to the field.

Do you require research experience in the field of pathology?

Although research experience related to pathology certainly shows strong commitment to pathology, we do not currently require such an experience.  However, we do strongly encourage applicants to be involved in at least one research project during medical school.

Why does Loma Linda University Pathology not have fellowships?

Loma Linda University Pathology has actively chosen to not offer fellowships. We feel that the moment fellowships are added to our program, valuable learning opportunities will be taken away from our residents whose education remains one of our primary missions. We also maintain the importance of varying your training so that one can take in as many learning opportunities as possible, including doing residency and fellowships at different locations. However, it is important to note that our residents are able to obtain fellowships in competitive subspecialties at prestigious institutions. Here’s an abbreviated list of where are most recent residents have secured fellowships:

Year Fellowship Institution State
2022 - 2023 GI Pathology UC Davis CA
2021 - 2022 Dermatopathology Fellowship University of Rochester NY
  Molecular Pathology Baylor University TX
  Hematopathology University of Utah UT
2020 - 2021 Hematopathology USC CA
  Hematopathology UCLA CA
  Cytopathology USC CA
  Hematopathology MD Anderson TX
  Pulmonary Pathology Mayo Clinic - Rochester MN
  Surgical Pathology USC CA
2019 - 2020 Hematopathology UCLA CA
  Breast/GYN University of Pittsburg (UPMC) PA
  Hematopathology City of Hope CA
2018 - 2019 Pathology Informatics University of Pittsburg (UPMC) PA
  Cytopathology USC CA
  Molecular Pathology Mayo Clinic - Rochester MN
  GU Pathology UT Southwestern TX
2017 - 2018 Dermatopathology University of Pittsburg (UPMC) PA
  Molecular Pathology Stanford University CA
  Breast/GYN University of Pittsburg (UPMC) PA
  Neuropathology USC CA
2016 - 2017 Surgical/Genitourinary Pathology USC CA
  Hematopathology Cedars Sinai Medical Center CA
  Hematopathology University of Iowa IA
  Hematopathology USC CA
2015 - 2016 GI Pathology Ameripath OH
  Surgical Pathology USC CA
  Hematopathology City of Hope CA
2014 - 2015 GI Pathology Ameripath OH
  Surgical Pathology Mayo Clinic - Rochester MN
  Transfusion Medicine University of Washington WA
2013 - 2014 Hematopathology UC Davis CA
  Cytopathology UCLA CA
  Surgical Pathology USC CA
  Surgical Pathology UCSF CA
2012 - 2013 Hematopathology City of Hope CA
  Breast/GYN University of Pittsburg (UPMC) PA
  Forensic Pathology L.A. County Coroner's Office CA
  Dermatopathology UCLA CA

What is the typical interview day like?

We take great effort to make the interview day a relaxed and fun experience to facilitate candidates, residents, and faculty to get to know each other. The interview day typically lasts from 8:00 am to 1:00 pm and begins with a continental breakfast round table meet & greet with residents and faculty. 4-5 residents are interviewed per day, each with one-on-one interviews with the program director and associate program director, as well as a variety of faculty from both AP and CP divisions. Upon completion of interviews, the applicants are taken to lunch by a group of LLU residents.

Given the current COVID-19 pandemic, what is the interview day like?

In preparation for interview season during the COVID pandemic, we will provide virtual interviews via Zoom. The institution will provide video tours of the facility and we have updated our website with a comprehensive review of our program in order to provide you, the applicant, greater insight into Pathology training at Loma Linda University.

What is the conference schedule?

Each morning from 8-9 am is protected time for resident education, primarily with didactic talks given by faculty and residents. The didactic lecture content will include fundamental and advanced topics generally repeated every 2 years, such that over 4 years a resident will have experienced these sessions twice at different stages of training.

Do residents receive money for books or travel?

The Department provides $1,500 annually to each resident to support travel to professional meetings and the purchase of books or other learning materials (e.g. audio, video reviews) relevant to their education with the approval of the program director. In addition, the Loma Linda University Health Education Consortium (LLUHEC) provides $1000 per year for educational materials, license fees, and expenses for scientific/medical meetings incurred while completing residency. This combines for a total of $2500 per year. Additionally, all residents receive a subscription to PathPrimer, and all PGY-1 residents receive the following free books at the start of their residency: Quick Compendium of Clinical Pathology and Companion Question book, The Practice of Surgical Pathology and WHO Classification of Hematopoietic and Lymphoid Tumors.

How much elective time do residents get?

Residents in the AP/CP program will have 12-16 weeks of elective rotations available during their 48 month training program. Many electives are available, with opportunity for away rotations as well. Elective time can also be used as protected research time.

Does anyone have trouble reaching the required number of autopsies (30) to take Boards?

No. Residents have no struggle reaching the appropriate number of autopsies during their 14 weeks of autopsy/forensic rotations.  The average total is between 55-60 autopsies.

How are on-call responsibilities handled?

Resident call is split into AP and CP call coverage. Weekday calls last from 5 pm to 8 am the following day, and Weekends are covered from 5 pm Friday to 8 am Monday morning. AP Call coverage averages approximately 6-7 weekdays per 4 week rotation, and 4 weekends per year. CP call is covered in weekly rotations with approximately 4 call weeks per year. Call is structured so

that 4th year residents take significantly less call in order to provide ample time for board preparation.

AP call coverage generally includes covering frozen section evaluations in the evening; after frozen sections are complete, overnight call is at-home call. CP call includes CP-related consultations (predominantly blood bank/transfusion medicine) in the evening and overnight (at-home call).

How is vacation handled?

PGY-1 residents receive 3 weeks of scheduled vacation annually, while PGY-2 to PGY-4 each receive 4 weeks of vacation annually. Vacation requests are flexible and can be taken on both AP and CP rotations. In addition, every effort will be made to allow residents to present at meetings and conferences with advanced notice.

Do you provide maternity leave?

Yes. Per the American Board of Pathology (ABP), residents can be off training only 4 weeks out of 52 at most, when averaged over 4 years. However, the residency program works with the residents to rearrange the schedule so that vacation time can be borrowed from other academic years in order to provide additional maternity time.