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College of Health Professionals

Pathologists’ Assistant Studies

About

Program Director’s Welcome

 

Welcome to Anderson University’s Pathologists’ Assistants webpage!  I am Professor Derek Nelson, and it is my great privilege to extend a warm welcome to you.

Our program is more than just an educational journey; it’s a place where aspiring Pathologists’ Assistants embark on a transformative experience. At Anderson University, we’re committed to providing a top-tier education that prepares our students to excel in the dynamic field of pathology. As a faith-based organization, we believe in nurturing not only their professional growth but also their personal development, emphasizing values such as compassion, integrity, and service.

As the Program Director, I am here to guide and support our students every step of the way. Our dedicated faculty, outstanding facilities, and robust curriculum ensure that our graduates are well-equipped to meet the evolving demands of healthcare and pathology. I invite you to explore our webpage, learn more about our program, and discover the exciting opportunities that await you at Anderson University. We look forward to accompanying you on your educational journey and helping you achieve your goals in the field of Pathologists’ Assistance, grounded in our faith-based values.

Sincerely,

Derek Nelson, MSBS, MLS PA (ASCP)
Assistant Professor
Program Director, Anderson University Pathologists’ Assistant Program

Mission & Program Summary

The School of Clinical Laboratory Science prepares certified Pathologists’ Assistants who are prepared for career paths in the delivery of healthcare services in both surgical pathology and autopsy pathology.  As an Anderson University graduate you will be academically and clinically trained in the healthcare field to process a variety of laboratory specimens, perform comprehensive macroscopic examination, evaluation of all surgical pathological specimens and the performance of postmortem examinations.

This program will begin in August of each year and will last for a total of 24 months, be full-time, and consist of 80 credit hours.

A Master of Medical Science in Pathologist Assistant Studies will be granted. The class schedule will be divided into fall, spring, and summer semesters.

The first fall semester will consist of human anatomy, medical terminology, and human physiology. The first spring semester entails Human histology and histotechnology, embryology and genetics, and general pathology. Surgical and autopsy techniques and systematic pathology will be taught in the first summer semester. The second year will be primarily practical rotations at our affiliated clinical sites, review, and coursework that includes microbiology and immunology, lab management and curriculum development and leadership.

Goals

The program requires the students to complete and pass the required coursework, pass the clinical rotations, graduate from the program, and become a pathologists’ assistant by passing the ASCP-BOC exam and entering the workforce.

Four Dots Students will have entry level competencies in surgical pathology, autopsy pathology, and administrative duties

Four Dots Students will have basic knowledge of anatomy, microanatomy, general and systematic pathology, anatomic pathology to include surgical techniques, autopsy techniques, histological techniques, and molecular diagnostics, microbiology, immunology, embryology, clinical pathology, lab safety, laboratory information systems, lab management, medical ethics, medical terminology, education methodologies, and gross photography

Four Dots Students will be able to communicate effectively as a mid-level clinician with fellow coworkers, doctors, nurses, and technicians verbally and in writing

Four Dots Students will be able to think critically and problem solve while utilizing their education in professional settings

Four Dots Students will display moral and ethical consideration and kindness to others

Four Dots Students will be capable of educating others in a clinical setting and able to differentiate different learning styles and teaching methods

Four Dots Students will understand the components of a lab, principles of supervision and administration, and importance of quality assurance and quality improvement

Our Facilities

As a student in the Anderson University School of Clinical Laboratory Science, you will be learning in cutting-edge facilities across two campuses.

Some of your first semester courses will take place on the Anderson campus, which is home to the Center for Medical Simulations and a state-of-the-art cadaver lab. There, you will take courses that provide an overview of the human organ systems through anatomy, physiology and pathology. 
Afterwards, your studies will take place on Anderson University’s Bearwood campus.  This unique facility has dedicated classrooms, labs and office space for the School of Clinical Laboratory Sciences program.

The main teaching lab is equipped with 6 grossing stations used to teach dissection techniques in an OSHA compliant lab. Our lab is also equipped with a cryostat and staining line to practice frozen section techniques.

Adjacent to the gross lab is our state-of-the-art Anatomoge table and touch screen vibe boards for learning the human body from every angle.
Additional features of the Bearwood campus include shared locker space, resource area and independent small lounge for SCLS students. 

Accreditation and Approval

The Pathologists’ Assistant program at Anderson University is currently in the process of finishing the National Accrediting Agency of Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS) initial application, which will allow us to complete the self-study report. After the review and acceptance of the self-study report NAACLS will grant the University “serious applicant status”. Serious applicant status will grant the inaugural class to sit for their national board exam through the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP). The students will be kept up to date as we go through the final accreditation process.

Contact information:
National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS)
5600 N. River Rd, Suite 720
Rosemont, IL 60018-5119
Phone: 773.714.8880
Fax: 773.714.8886
Email: info@naacls.org
www.naacls.org

Anderson University’s PATH A program has been awarded serious applicant status as of January 29th, 2024. 

For further accreditation information, contact:
National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS)
5600 N. River Rd, Suite 720
Rosemont, IL 60018-5119
Phone: 773.714.8880
Fax: 773.714.8886
Email: info@naacls.org
www.naacls.org

Admission

Requirements:

Four Dots Three letters of recommendation from individuals familiar with your academic background and performance

Four Dots Official copies of all college/university transcripts (undergraduate and, if applicable, graduate transcripts)

Four Dots The applicant must be physically, mentally, and socially capable of taking on the required coursework and clinical rotations as well as qualify for the ASCP-BOC exam

Courses

Here you’re able to see your course load throughout your time in the program, including pre-requisite courses. As well as our academic calendar for the year.

Pre-requisite Courses
Four Dots General Chemistry I & II (with labs)
Four Dots Organic Chemistry I and/or Biochemistry I (with labs)
Four Dots Intro Biology I
Four Dots Upper-Level Biology 300-400 Level (Anatomy)
Four Dots College Level Mathematics
Four Dots English Composition
Four Dots Recommended Courses: Genetics, Microbiology, Histology, Physiology

MMS in Pathologists’ Assistant Studies Course Load

In this comprehensive course of human structure and function, students will learn gross anatomy through performance of cadaveric dissection and use of the virtual anatomy platform, Anatomage, as well as other anatomic models. In addition, students will correlate gross anatomic findings with various models of radiologic imaging including X-rays, ultrasound, computed tomography, and magnetic resonance imaging. Students will gain an understanding of anatomic orientation and planes of sectioning and will systematically study the anatomic features of the skeletal, cardiovascular, respiratory, gastrointestinal, hepatobiliary, urinary, nervous, integumentary, lymphatic/lymphoid, endocrine, as well as male and female reproductive systems. Study of human anatomy will be supplemented with a variety of clinical case studies highlighting anatomic abnormalities and disease states. In addition to attendance at lectures and laboratories, students will complete a comprehensive final project detailing an anatomic abnormality including epidemiologic features, clinical presentation, morphogenesis, and treatment.

This class is a prerequisite for PATH 550, surgical and autopsy techniques. This class will investigate the etymology of medical and surgical terminology. It will concentrate on the abbreviations, prefixes, suffixes, and root words commonly used in the medical and surgical field. The class will encompass basic anatomy, planes, of section, orientation, disease processes, diagnostic tests, and procedures. The basic building blocks will be assessed initially. This will be followed by a breakdown of organ systems. The systems covered include integumentary, skeletal, muscular, digestive, cardiac, lymphatic, respiratory, nervous, endocrine, urinary, and reproductive. This class will then progress and are required to describe to be read a brief synopsis submitted. This will ensure the student is comprehending the medical terminology and able to apply their knowledge.

In this complementary course to human anatomy, student will learn basic tissue types including epithelia, connective tissue, vascular, lymphatic/lymphoid, and neural tissue. Students will subsequently learn the microscopic anatomy of all organ systems and begin to appreciate cellular and tissue changes associated with disease states through use of microscopic examination supplemented with online atlases of histology. Students will understand the basics of routine tissue preservation, processing, and staining (including hematoxylin and eosin stained tissue sections) used in the clinical environment to generate histologic techniques used in clinical settings including preparation of frozen sections (cryomicrotomy), the use of special histochemical stains including those employed to detect various intracellular and extracellular accumulations, immunohistochemistry, immunofluorescence, molecular techniques including in-situhybridzatsion, as well as transmission and scanning electron microscopy. Students will gain an appreciation for troubleshooting various histologic issues associated with gross dissection and tissue processing of specimens. At the conclusion of the course, students will present a project outlining common challenges and potential solutions affecting collaboration between pathologist assistants and histotechnologists.

In this introductory course of integrative organ system physiology and maintenance of homeostasis in humans, students will understand structural-functional relationships by systematically studying all organ systems of the human body. This course includes the study of cell, tissue, and organ physiology with relevance to pathologist assistant practice. Students will be introduced to patholophysiologic concepts for each organ system of the human in preparation for general and systemic pathology courses. Student learning will be supplemented with a variety of clinical case studies relevant to pathologists’ assistants, as wll as journal club, and online physiologic simulations.

This course is a comprehensive introduction to human embryology and human genetics. This course will interface with the topics of PATH 500 (Human Anatomy). Students will learn embryologic development of all organ systems of the human and understand abnormalities of human embryologic development relevant to the study of pathology. Students will be introduced to basic human genetics covering Mendelian inheritance patterns and clinical syndromes most relevant to pediatric pathology including genetic and embryologic correlations. Students will be introduced to the study of dysmorphology and its relevance to recognizing common genetic/congenital abnormalities. Students will also be introduced to molecular pathology through the study of common laboratory testing modalities employed in the assessment of genetic germline and acquired genetic abnormalities including molecular applications in surgical pathology and oncology. Students will complete and present a course project on a human disease state associated with specific genetic abnormalities and embryologic defects.

This course is a comprehensive introduction to all areas of clinical microbiology including bacteriology, virology, mycology, and parasitology, as well as immunology. Human pathogens with most relevance to pathologist assistants will be explored including the study of pathogenic structure, genetics, mechanisms of disease, and growth/life cycles. In addition, this course will explore the fundamentals of disease prevention and mechanism of action of all major classes of antimicrobial drugs. Particular attention will be devoted to laboratory safety measures related to microbiology in pathologist assistnat practice in both the surgical patholgy laboratory as well as the autopsy suite. Student will learn optimum methods of obtaining microbiology samples for culture and identification as well as special techniques applicable to molecular testing, as well as fungal, viral, and microbiology laboratories including culture and sensitivity testing, molecular techniques, and MALDI-TOF, with the goal of having the student proficient in collaboration with the clinical microbiology laboratory. Students will also be introduced to immunology through the study of humoral and cellular immunity including the topics of immune cells and tissues, antibody structure/function, complement, antibody diversity, immunologic memory, and the study of diseases of the immune system. Students will also appreciate understanding the use of immunologic techniques related to the clinical microbiology laboratory and serologic testing.

In this case, students will be introduced to the mechanisms of human disease. Students will apply knowledge from other courses including anatomy, embryology, genetics, physiology, and microbiology/immunology as they apply to all major classes of disease. Specifically, students will explore reversible and irreversible cellular injury, cellular accumulations, inflammation, wound healing and repair, cell death, infectious disease, coagulation disorders, genetic diseases, and mechanisms of neoplasia. Students will begin to apply their understanding of general pathology to clinical manifestations of disease. This course seeks to facilitate integration of material from other basic sciences courses and apply these to clinical practice. Inclusion of patient case studies will be used to reinforce basic science concepts. In addition, students will participate in a journal club, inter-professional education grand rounds. and prepare a project highlighting an area of disease research and potential clinical applications.

This is a comprehensive study of the pathology on all human organs/organ systems. Taking concepts learned in all other basic science courses, students will integrate knowledge from these courses to understand gross morphologic, histologic, cellular, and molecular changes associated with disease states. For each disease, students will learn epidemiologic features, etiology, pathogenesis, gross pathology, microscopic pathology, and treatment. Course concepts will be reinforced with a variety of clinical case studies pertinent to the practice as a pathologist assistant. Students will correlate knowledge of systemic pathology to the autopsy and surgical pathology techniques course as they prepare to begin their clinical rotations as a pathologist assistant student. At the culmination of this course, students will prepare and present a comprehensive review of a disease state of their choice to all faculty and student colleagues and discuss the pathologist assistant’s approach to properly assessing the disease state for a pathologic diagnosis to be rendered.

PATH 505 and PATH 525 are prerequisites for this class. This course will cover surgical grossing techniques, autopsy techniques, and basic photographic principles and techniques. The surgical grossing techniques, autopsy techniques, and basic photographic principles and techniques. The surgical grossing techniques will initially break down the approach to surgical specimens. It will cover basic safety in a laboratory, protective equipment, disposal of instruments and trash, storage of specimens, radioactive specimens, and fundamentals of dissection. The fundamentals will provide in detail specimen orientation, the requisition form, proper specimen identifiers, anatomic orientation, dissection of the specimen, handling tissues, inking the specimen, opening and sectioning the specimen, fixing/storing the specimen, and sampling the specimen. The gross description will be covered in which PATH 505 will be utilized. We will work on proper syntax, complete sentences, and succinct and accurate descriptions of the specimen. We will cover factual description that includes size, weight, color, shape, and consistency of the specimen as well as thorough descriptions of any lesions. The course will give a brief review of common specimen processing techniques. It will cover intraoperative consults and the basics of frozen sections. The course will provide the techniques needed for all major grossing categories such as the digestive system, breasts, lungs, whipples, lymph nodes, skin, head and neck, genitourinary reproductive, etc. A brief introduction to photographic principles and techniques will be provided. The surgical grossing techniques will also help correlate CAP (College of American Pathologists) requirements with how a specimen is grossed for ultimate understanding of the process. A lab component will be available so students can become accustomed to the grossing station, tools, and tissue while practicing some of the basic techniques.

The autopsy techniques will initially address the basic definitions of cause of death, manner of death, mechanism of death, mode of death, forensic and hospital autopsy, coroner, medical examiner, livor mortis, and rigor mortis. The differences between physical trauma injuries, patterned injuries, injuries of forcible sexual assault, injuries of child abuse, and injuries of elder abuse will be addressed. The process of a proper autopsy will be covered, and techniques required to do external and internal examinations. The external examination is concerned with the condition of the outer surface of the body including any wounds, bruises, medical equipment, and general condition of the body. The internal examination will entail the complete evisceration of the organs, special techniques, and prosection of organs. The course will also cover requirements for creating a PAD (preliminary autopsy diagnosis).

This course will explain the basic function and requirements of an anatomic pathology laboratory. Principles of laboratory management, human resource management, financial management, and operations will be covered. The principles of laboratory management will focus on quality management in the laboratory including path of workflow, quality control, quality assurance, quality management systems, and compliance. Laboratory quality starts with the people. The principles of laboratory management will also cover organizational structure, principles of leadership, management functions, and manager decision making with process improvement.

Human resource management will entail human resource guidelines and regulations, job analysis, work descriptions, work groups, performance evaluation, and education with training. Financial management will look at the fundamental vocabulary including balance sheets, assets, liabilities, revenue, etc. This component of the class will break financial management into planning, decision making, organizing, and implementation. Cost/benefit analysis, effective budgeting in a laboratory, cost of quality, and healthcare reimbursement will also be covered. Operations will entail compliance issues, regulations, laboratory safety, workflow and staffing, laboratory information systems, marketing concepts, and ethical issues in laboratory management.

This course will cover the basics of curriculum development and leadership skills. The components of curriculum development that will be addressed are mission statements, goals, and objectives, learning outcomes, evidence, and measures, pedagogies and projects, and assessment strategies. This course will also address how to design a course and syllabus, how to conduct a class, and how to evaluate students. The students will be required to pick a topic related to pathology and present to the class. Lastly, the class will cover leadership basics which will include effective leadership styles, leadership traits and skills, and theories of motivation.

This course will act as a review of the previous didactic classes with occasional testing. This will concentrate heavily on the pathological disease processes, slide work, gross information, and clinical scenarios.

This course will act as a review of the previous didactic classes with occasional testing. This will concentrate heavily on the pathological disease processes, slide work, gross information, and clinical scenarios. This is a continuing review from PATH 620.

This course will act as a review of the previous didactic classes with occasional testing and is a continuation for reviews from PATH 620 and PATH 621. This will concentrate heavily on the pathological disease processes, slide work, gross information, and clinical scenarios.

PATH 550 is a prerequisite for this course. This course will require the student to undergo clinical rotations. Clinical rotation sites are numerous and include private practice, academic centers, hospitals, and forensic centers located in and around South Carolina. The student will need to utilize their previous learning and apply it to tasks presented to them. They will begin by grossing simple and small cases and progress to large and complex surgical specimens. The student will be assessed by the onsite pathologists’ assistant who is in direct contact with the program director. They will be expected to not only progress in level of specimen complexity but also in speed, competency, efficiency, communication, and multi-tasking. The student will also partake in frozen sections, which is a near immediate diagnosis during the time of surgery, and autopsies. The student will have the opportunity to eviscerate and prosect hospital autopsy cases and assist in non-criminal cases. This class will take part in the second Fall, Spring, and Summer semesters.

PATH 550 is a prerequisite for this course. This course will require the student to undergo clinical rotations. Clinical rotation sites are numerous and include private practice, academic centers, hospitals, and forensic centers located in and around South Carolina. The student will need to utilize their previous learning and apply it to tasks presented to them. They will begin by grossing sample and small cases and progress to large and complex surgical specimens. The student will be assessed by the onsite pathologists’ assistant who is in direct contact with the program director. They will be expected to not only progress in level of specimen complexity but also in speed, competency, efficiency, communication, and multi-tasking. The student will also partake in frozen sections, which is a near immediate diagnosis during the time of surgery, and autopsies. The student will have the opportunity to eviscerate and prosect hospital autopsy cases and assist in non-criminal cases. This class will take part in the second Fall, Spring, and Summer semesters.

PATH 550 is a prerequisite for this course. This course will require the student to undergo clinical rotations. Clinical rotation sites are numerous and include private practice, academic centers, hospitals, and forensic centers located in and around South Carolina. The student will need to utilize their previous learning and apply it to tasks presented to them. They will begin by grossing sample and small cases and progress to large and complex surgical specimens. The student will be assessed by the onsite pathologists’ assistant who is in direct contact with the program director. They will be expected to not only progress in level of specimen complexity but also in speed, competency, efficiency, communication, and multi-tasking. The student will also partake in frozen sections, which is a near immediate diagnosis during the time of surgery, and autopsies. The student will have the opportunity to eviscerate and prosect hospital autopsy cases and assist in non-criminal cases. This class will take part in the second Fall, Spring, and Summer semesters.

Faculty

derek nelson zoom

Derek Nelson MSBS MLS PA (ASCP)

Pathologists’ Assistant Program Director & Chair of the School of Clinical Laboratory Sciences
864.622.6092 | Email

vanessa furtick zoom

Vanessa Furtick

Administrative Assistant, School of Clinical Laboratory Sciences
864.231.5725 | Email

hannah reilly zoom

Hannah Reilly

Assistant Professor for the School of Clinical Laboratory Sciences
Email

Affiliates

South Carolina

Surg/Path
Forensic
Anderson Dermatology & Skin Surgery Center
Anderson Skin & Cancer Center
AnMed Health
Bon Secours St Francis (Greenville)
Lexington Medical Center (Columbia)
Prisma Hospital Upstate (Columbia)
Prisma Hospital Midlands (Columbia)
Roper St. Francis (Charleston)
Self-Regional Healthcare System (Greenwood)
Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System
Abbeville County Coroner
Anderson County Coroner
Charleston County Coroner
Greenville County Coroner
Greenwood County Coroner
Lexington County Coroner
McCormick County Coroner
Oconee County Coroner
Pickens County Coroner

Georgia

Surg/Path
Forensic
City of Hope Cancer Center (Atlanta)
Dekalb County Coroner
Georgia Bureau of Investigation (Atlanta)

California

Surg/Path
Forensic
Yosemite Pathology Group (Modesto)
Kaiser Permanente (Modesto)

Current Pathology Laboratory Affiliations

State
Organization
South Carolina
Path Consultant Inc. (Greenville)
Carolina Pathology (Spartanburg)
Piedmont Pathology (Anderson)
Coastal Pathology (Charleston)
Pathology Consultants of Greenwood
Pathology Consultant of Lexington
Georgia
Southeast Pathology Associates (Brunswick)
Tennessee
Pathology Consultants of Tennessee

Graduate Outcomes

Measures
2024
2025
2026
2027
Graduation Rate
TBD
TBD
TBD
TBD
Employment Rate
TBD
TBD
TBD
TBD
Ultimate Licensure Pass Rate
TBD
TBD
TBD
TBD

*The 2024 and 2025 cohorts are currently in progress

Contact Information

Derek Nelson, MSBS, MLS PA(ASCP)CM
Program Director of the Pathologists’ Assistant Program
Chair of the School of Clinical Laboratory Sciences
Assistant Professor
Holdredge-Bearwood Campus
864.622.6092
dnelson@andersonuniversity.edu

Vanessa Furtick, BS
Administrative Assistant
Holdredge-Bearwood Campus
864.231.5725
vfurtick@andersonuniversity.edu

Amy Nelson, MS, PA-C
Education Coordinator
Assistant Professor
Holdredge-Bearwood Campus
864.231.5720
anelson@andersonuniversity.edu

Hannah Reilly, MS, MLS, PA(ASCP)CM
Assistant Professor
Holdredge-Bearwood Campus
864.231.2079
hreilly@andersonuniversity.edu

Dr. Julie Robinson, M.D.
Medical Director
Assistant Professor
jrobinson@andersonuniversity.edu

File a Complaint

Any individual or organization that is dissatisfied with his/her experience or encounter with any student, faculty, or staff member associated with the School of Clinical Laboratory Sciences may file a complaint against the offending party with the School of Clinical Laboratory Sciences chair. The complaint must be made in writing to be considered bona fide. Complaints should be addressed as follows: 

Four Dots Derek Nelson, MSBS, MLS PA (ASCP) CM
Program Director of the Pathologists’ Assistant Program
Chair of the School of Clinical Laboratory Sciences
Assistant Professor
Anderson University School of Clinical Laboratory Sciences
Holdredge-Bearwood Campus
3031  Highway 81 North 
Anderson, SC  29621
Email: dnelson@andersonuniversity.edu
Phone: 864.622.6092

Complaints about the School or University related to compliance with accreditation standards must be submitted in writing to the Commission on National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). These complaints should be addressed as follows:

Four Dots Director of Accreditation
National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences
5600 N. River Road, Suite 720
Rosemont, IL  60018-5119
Email: Info@naacls.org
Phone: 773.714.8880

Complaints about the School of Clinical Laboratory Science or the School of Laboratory Sciences Chair may be submitted directly to the Dean of the College of Health Professions at the following address:

Four Dots Dr. Don Peace, Dean
College of Health Professions
Anderson University
316 Boulevard
Anderson, SC 29621
Email: dpeace@andersuniversity.edu
Phone: 864.231.2134