Department of Pathology Fellowships

Cytopathology Fellowship

The University of New Mexico ACGME-accredited Cytopathology Fellowship provides a one-year intensive experience that is practical but also allows for creativity in translational research. The faculty include multiple board-certified cytopathologists. By the end of successful training, the fellow is eligible to sit for the American Board of Pathology subspecialty certification in cytopathology.

- Nadja Falk, M.D.
Director, Cytopathology Fellowship Program

Practical Experience

UNM Cytopathology Fellowship Program from UNM Health Sciences.

cytopathology graphic
Left: UNM Patient: 44-year-old woman with a 2.7 cm nodule in the left lobe of the thyroid gland.
Top right: Resected carcinoma.
Bottom right: FNA specimen obtained by the pathologist using U/S guidance: papillary thyroid carcinoma, classic type.


In addition to traditional palpation-guided fine needle aspiration (FNA), we are delighted to offer ultrasound-guided FNA training as well. The technique enables careful sampling of both palpable and non-palpable lesions and optimizes sample acquisition and triage.

Diagnostic Acumen

Our large number of gynecologic (Pap monolayer) samples (~70,000 annually split across two institutions) enables rapid development of competency in this critical component of cytopathology. At UNM, we diagnose approximately 7500 non-gynecologic samples encompassing various fluids (urine, peritoneal, pleural among others) as well as FNAs (primarily in the head and neck when performed by UNM pathologists) and interventional radiology, gastroenterology or pulmonology derived samples. This diverse caseload provides a broad exposure to common and more esoteric entities encountered in a cytology specimen.

Administrative Aspects of Cytopathology

During the year, the fellow will rotate to TriCore Reference Laboratories for practical immersion in management of a cytopathology laboratory. The fellow will also engage in at least one quality control project.


A majority of our faculty members have been formally awarded commendations for the high quality of their teaching. All of us are delighted to work with the fellow and the residents during daily procedures, daily case sign-outs and in didactic sessions and journal clubs.

Research Opportunities

Typically, the Cytopathology Fellow will undertake one translational research effort mentored by one or more of the cytopathologists. One month may be devoted to research or relevant pathology elective. Fellows are encouraged to present at national meetings.

Teaching Faculty

photo of Shweta Agarwal

Shweta Agarwal, M.D., F.C.A.P., Assistant Professor
Shweta Agarwal, M.D. trained at the University of Oklahoma and completed a cytopathology fellowship at The University of San Francisco and a head and neck pathology fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital.

photo of Nadja Falk

Nadja Falk, M.D., Director, Cytopathology Fellowship Program
Nadja Falk, M.D. trained at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and completed cytopathology and surgical pathology fellowships at MD Anderson Cancer Center.

photo of Nancy Joste

Nancy Joste, M.D., Professor, Interim Department Chair
Nancy Joste, M.D. trained at the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston and has subspecialty expertise in gynecologic pathology and cytopathology.

photo of Samuel Reynolds

Samuel Reynolds, M.D., Associate Professor
Samuel Reynolds, M.D., has a subspecialty interest in lung and sarcoma pathology. He completed a cytopathology fellowship here at UNM.

Current Cytopathology Fellow

photo of Marissa Tafoya

Marissa Tafoya, M.D.
Residency: The University of New Mexico
M.D.: The University of New Mexico SOM, Albuquerque, NM

Fellowship Alumni & Their Current Positions

Year Fellow Position after training
2019 M. Omar Hakim, MD  Fellow, Bone and Soft Tissue, The Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL
2018 Aaron Rupp, MD MAWD Pathology Group, Lenexa, Kansas
2017 Benjamin Ramos, MD Pathologist, US Air Force, USA
2016 Adriana Sanchez, MD Pathologist, ECUA American, Quito, Ecuador
2015 Theresa Smith, MD Pathologist, Santa Fe Pathology Services, Santa Fe, NM
2014 Khaled Sarah, MD Hospitals of Providence, El Paso, TX
2013 David Meredith, MD Private Practice Pathologist, Deaconess Hospital, Spokane WA
2012 Julie Harrington, MD Assistant Professor, UNM Department of Pathology, Albuquerque, NM
2011 Samuel Reynolds, MD Assistant Professor, UNM Department of Pathology, Albuquerque, NM
2010 Ying Xiang, MD, PhD Pathology Specialists of Arizona, Tempe AZ
2008 Joe Glass, MD Assistant Professor, UNM Department of Pathology, Albuquerque, NM
2006 Bonnie Carmichael, MD Pathologist, Pathology Associates of Albuquerque, Albuquerque, NM
2004 Fatma Midani, MD Private practice, NM

Recently Published Books

Abnormal Pap Smears - What Every Woman Needs to Know (Revised and Updated) by Lynda Rushing, MD and Nancy Joste, MD.

Application Process

To Apply, submit:

  • CAP Standardized Fellowship Application Form
  • Personal Statement
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Copies of USMLE Step I, II, III scores
  • Medical School Transcript
  • Three Letters of Recommendation, one of which should come from your program director
  • ECFMG certification, if applicable

Applicant must be AP eligible.

Contact Information

Kristen Broesder, Medical Education Program Specialist
Phone: 505-925-0516

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