Program Leadership

Robert McDonald, DO
Residency Program Director

Nathan Shelman, MD
AP Associate Director, Residency Program

Aaron Shmookler, MD
CP Associate Director, Residency Program

Janna Neltner, MD
Vice Chair for Education

Sahar Nozad, MD
Department Quality and Safety Program Officer, SWARM

Leanna Brignola, MAed
Medical Education Specialist


Dr. Sahar Nozad, Dr. Janna Neltner, Dr. Robert McDonald, and Leanna Brignola, MAed
Dr. Sahar Nozad, Dr. Janna Neltner, Dr. Robert McDonald, and Leanna Brignola, MAed

All pathology residents in their white coats.
First row: Drs. Jeongeun Do, Mohammed Athar, Leonard Yenwongfai, Asma Arshia
Second row: Drs. Talal Arshad, Juanita Ferreira, Hafsa Nebbache
Third row: Drs. Akif Guney, Donna Hill, Jason Gilbert, Ali Alhaidary
Fourth row: Drs. Emmy Mbagwu, Nashwan Jabbour, Andre Ene
Not pictured: Drs. Nuha Shaker, Jing Di, Mohamed Hussein

Educational Goals And Philosophy


Our training program aims to develop in each resident personal diagnostic and management skills that afford competence, timeliness, accuracy, and built-in lifelong improvement applicable to all aspects of anatomical pathology and laboratory medicine.

By a graduated and progressive exposure within anatomical pathology and laboratory medicine rotations, with a corresponding evaluation of performance, the resident will develop lifelong habits of self-directed learning and critical self-evaluation that will allow for a happy, satisfied lifestyle both inside and outside the laboratory. Throughout residency a teaching role is required. This fosters both content mastery and the important role of educator that the pathologist plays in the private practice, academic, and industry settings.

Research is a natural part of pathology, as an inquiring, open, and unbiased mind is essential to the diagnostic role of the pathologist. While a research project is not a curricular requirement, it is encouraged as it stimulates the discipline, inquisitiveness, and lifelong commitment to discovery required of this profession.


A team approach to work, interaction with and knowledge of others within the department at all levels, and enthusiasm for all tasks is encouraged throughout the training program. Monthly and annual evaluations are aimed at being positive and reinforcing with a view to solving any problems as they arise and maintaining an open-door policy of communication with all faculty at all times.

Eligibility and Applications

Graduating medical students are accepted directly into the residency training program at the College of Medicine but must apply through the NRMP via ERAS (Electronic Residency Application Service). Graduate physicians may also enter the program after completion of an internship or other postgraduate training; such appointments do not always involve the NRMP. Although appointments are for one year at a time, a resident whose work is satisfactory can anticipate completion of the entire four-year program. The department can accommodate a total of twenty-two house officers. Residents in their second postgraduate year and beyond must be licensed to practice in Kentucky. The University pays fees for Kentucky State Medical licensure. Applicants must pass USMLE Step I and Step II (or COMPLEX) and have at least three recommendation letters. Applicants must have graduated from medical school within the last 10 years. For international medical graduate applicants, eligibility for J-1 student visa status is strongly preferred because of institutional requirements. In addition, the university requires ECFMG certification prior to your application being complete; at least three months of US clinical experience are also required for consideration. Potential candidates will be invited to interview via Zoom/in-person as dictated by LCME and ACGME recommendations for the current applications cycle. The application deadline for our program is Oct. 15; however, applicants are invited to interviews on a first-come, first-serve basis.


For more information about our Graduate Medical Education office click here. This includes GME stipends, benefits, policy/procedures manual, and more.

Outline of the Program

All our residents train in both anatomic pathology and clinical pathology (AP/CP). Each year of training is divided equally between anatomic pathology and laboratory medicine with every year divided evenly into 13 four-week blocks. Orientation occurs in the first four weeks of resident training. During this time, first year residents are introduced to our autopsy and surgical pathology services, with direct guidance from a paired senior resident. Other services provide similar orientation periods including cytology and hematopathology.  Such orientation periods facilitate rapid integration of the residents into the services workflow.

PGY–Year PGY–1 PGY–2 PGY–3 PGY–4
Block 1 AP Orientation Blood Bank Heme VA Surg Path
Block 2 Autopsy Chemistry Surg Path Cytology
Block 3 Intro to Heme Chemistry VA Surg Path Surg Path
Block 4 Surg Path Heme Blood Bank Surg Path Elective
Block 5 Forensics Cytology Lab Management Good Sam
Block 6 Autopsy Cytology Surg Path QA and Patient Safety
Block 7 Surg Path Elective Neuropath Informative
Block 8 Heme Microbiology Molecular Diagnostics Heme
Block 9 Blood Bank Microbiology Molecular Diagnostics Blood Bank
Block 10 Surg Path Surg Path Surg Path Microbiology
Block 11 Autopsy Surg Path Cytology Elective
Block 12 Surg Path VA Surg Path Chemistry BPTP Management
Block 13 VA Surg Path Surg Path Dermpath Elective


  • Good Samaritan surgical pathology
  • Neuropathology
  • St. Clair (AP/CP)
  • Hematopathology
  • Breast pathology
  • Bone and soft tissue
  • HLA
  • Renal/EM
  • Oral pathology
  • Transplant pathology
Resident looking through a microscope while signing out with their mentor
Dr. Hafsa Nebbache signing out gynecological cases with Dr. Janna Neltner.


- Surgical Pathology: 16
- Cytopathology: 4
- Autopsy: 4
- Neuropathology: 1
- Anatomic Electives (Dermatopathology, Outside Cases, St. Claire, Transplant Pathology, Renal Pathology, Research): 2 - 4


- Transfusion Medicine: 4
- Clinical Chemistry: 3
- Hematopathology: 3
- Microbiology: 3
- Lab Management: 1
- Molecular Diagnostics: 2
- Clinical Electives: 1 - 3


The 945-bed Albert B. Chandler University Hospital is located on the main campus of the University of Kentucky and boasts some of the following:

  • 100 autopsies annually
  • over 30,000 surgical specimens annually
  • 1500 bone marrows annually
  • 16,000 cytological studies annually
  • 730 medical legal autopsies annually
  • 1400 cytogenetic cases annually
  • 7000 professional laboraotory cases annually
  • 11,000 immunomolecular cases annually
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House Staff

Meet our residents and fellows

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Learn about our two year pathology core curriculum

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Managing Your Residency

Enrich your residency experience

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Explore where our past residents are now