COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Daily Updates and ResourcesCOVID Resources

Welcome From the Chief Residents

Welcome From the Chief Residents

About Our Program

Lorraine Colón Cartagena, M.D. [View Image]   Patricija Zot [View Image]We have a tremendous residency program, with awesome training in both anatomic pathology (AP) and clinical pathology (CP). We are a medium-sized program with approximately four residents in each of the four post-graduate years.

All of our residents take an active role as consultants to our clinical colleagues. Our program is unique in that we are able to see patients! In AP, the superficial fine needle aspiration service is run by residents on the Cytology rotation. We personally evaluate, consent patients and perform the aspiration procedures. Our department also runs one of the most comprehensive apheresis clinics in Virginia. Patients from all over the state present to our clinic for their treatment and as pathology residents rotating on the Transfusion Medicine rotation, we actively evaluate and educate patients; and working with our Transfusion Medicine faculty, decide on the best management for patients needing apheresis services.

Another point of distinction for our program is that none of our clinical pathology or lab rotations involve solely passive learning. Our residents work with the medical technologists at the bench side-by-side, learning from them as they learn from us. We are also frequently consulted by our clinical colleagues on deciding which laboratory studies to pursue for patient suspected of having various exotic diseases as well as how to interpret test results. We are active participants in laboratory meetings where we learn about everyday issues that modern clinical laboratories face. CP training at VCUHS prepares residents to be future laboratory directors.

Our anatomical pathology training is also exceptional because of a unique opportunity offered to residents to make the diagnosis on after hours frozen sections. Senior residents on AP call are responsible for rendering diagnoses during after-hours intraoperative consultations (frozens), with fellow and faculty supervision as needed. This opportunity allows residents to build confidence in their diagnostic abilities.

The department also offer a number of fellowship opportunities, including cytopathology, neuropathology, surgical pathology, cytogenetics, hematopathology, molecular diagnostics and forensic pathology. Our residents are close-knit and supportive. We frequently go out as a group Friday evenings and have events when our significant others and kids mingle.


About Our Institution

Virginia Commonwealth University Health was originally established in 1838 by Hampden-Sydney College as a Richmond branch of the Medicine Department. Today, it is an 865-bed hospital that serves as a major referral center for the region and provides emergent care as the area’s only Level I trauma center. Our physicians have been ranked among the top doctors in Richmond in various specialties, including pathology. In July 2014, U.S. News & World Report ranked VCU Medical Center as the best hospital in the Richmond Metro area, the fourth consecutive year the hospital has led in the area.  The medical center offers more than 200 specialty areas, many of national and international note. Clinical highlights include: multidisciplinary centers for cancer, cardiology, neurosurgery and transplantation, international recognition for early diagnosis and treatment of chest pain and strokes, organ transplant, head and spinal cord trauma research, burn and wound healing, neonatal intensive care and genetic research, as well as cancer research, treatment and rehabilitation. VCU Medical Center has the area’s only NCI-designated cancer center, VCU Massey Cancer Center and full-service children’s hospital, Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU.


About Our City

Richmond is the capital of the Commonwealth of Virginia. While the city itself has a population of about 227,000, the metropolitan area, including the surrounding counties and other nearby independent cities, has a population of over 1.2 million. Like many cities on the East Coast that were established long ago, Richmond is situated on a fall line, that of the James River. The city is at an ideal location; it is about a 2-hour drive from the ocean (Atlantic), a 2-hour drive from the mountains (Blue Ridge), and a 2-hour drive from our nation’s capital, Washington, D.C.

Many momentous events occurred in Richmond, which were exemplified during both the American Revolutionary War and Civil War periods, historical site as well as museums are everywhere in this former capital of the Confederacy. Today, Richmond is a vibrant city with many activities for young adults as well as families. There are multiple public parks, theaters, concert venues, bars, restaurants and outdoor activities year around. Highlights include Maymont Park, a 100-acre, Public Park with gardens and a zoo, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts with free admission and world-class special exhibits, the recently opened to the public, Washington Redskins Training Camp and multiple street festivals showcasing anything from local produce to ethnic foods.

The surrounding counties are known for top public schools, namely Henrico County Public School District. Downtown Richmond is home to VCU (Virginia Commonwealth University) known for the VCU Rams basketball team, a vivacious art scene as well as multiple health professional schools.


Who’s Who In Our Department

We are proud of the faculty with whom we are able to have one on one teaching with on a daily basis. Whether you are signing out cases at the microscope or learning through didactic teaching, we have dedicated time in which we are prepared for our futures in Pathology. The VCU faculty are incredible teachers and we are lucky to work with such notable pathologists.  We invite you to learn more about our faculty via the faculty directory.



Lorraine Colón-Cartagena, MD and Patricija Zot, MD



View graphic versionView graphic versionView graphic version