Department of Pathology Residency Program

Residency Program Information

Fast Facts

Program Strengths: Broad extensive training in anatomic pathology including acclaimed subspecialty expertise in hematopathology and forensic pathology; practical yet cutting edge clinical pathology training, including active engagement in laboratory management and advanced molecular diagnostics at TriCore Reference Laboratories. In addition, there is a broad range of research opportunities throughout the department.

  • Total Number of Pathology Residents: 16
  • Number of First-Year Pathology Positions Available for July 1, 2018: 4
  • Type of Training: Combined Anatomic and Clinical Pathology
  • Sites of Training: University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, TriCore Reference Laboratories, Veterans Administration Medical Center, Presbyterian Hospital, New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator
  • Clinical Faculty: Approximately 45 full-time faculty
  • Director: Karen SantaCruz, MD
  • Interim Chair: Nancy Joste, MD
  • Age of Training Program: About 30 years (over 200 graduates)
  • First-Year Resident Salary as of 2020: $55,515. For benefits, refer to the GME website

The Ideal Candidate

We are looking for a well-rounded candidate with a passion for and experience in pathology, a strong knowledge base as evidenced by their performance on Step I and Step II of the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Board Examinations, and a true team player.

The last characteristic is a tough one to analyze. During your interview, we determine how genuinely enthusiastic you are about pathology, assess communication skills, and determine whether you have the capacity to absorb AND understand the essentials.

Our residents presently and historically have been notable for teamwork and a sense of humor and, perhaps most importantly, they work hard and they play hard. In other words, our residents perform very well on national measures of pathology wisdom (RISE exams, Boards), they tend to secure very desirable fellowships, and they engage in fruitful and challenging research projects.

In addition, our residents use their free time to hang out together (yes, karaoke is sometimes involved) and enjoy all of the amazing cultural and outdoor adventures in New Mexico. With mountains in our backyard, residents have plenty of time to ski, mountain bike, run, hike, camp, and fish. Of course, you can also golf year-round!

Program Overview

As a first-year resident, you spend three to six months on surgical pathology rotations at the University Hospital and the Veterans Administration Medical Center (VAMC). The other half of the first year usually includes training in Transfusion Medicine and Hematopathology. The remainder of your training is built around strengthening your surgical pathology skills with further rotations at UNM and the VAMC, as well as a senior rotation at the large-volume, private hospital in town.

Two rotations in autopsy pathology are done at the New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator (NM OMI), with the first rotation focusing on natural disease and hospital cases and the second rotation allowing for experience performing medico-legal autopsies. Residents spend three months in hematopathology, and many return for a second three months during their elective time.

Junior Cytology & Senior Blood Bank Rotations

Based upon resident and faculty feedback, we recently added a junior cytology rotation and a senior blood bank rotation to the schedule. The residents have a total of seven months of research and elective time over the four years, and the program encourages innovation and creativity in the design and use of this time.

Our general and subspecialty services in Surgical Pathology are particularly strong. We have recently added elective opportunities in Bone and Soft Tissue Oncology and Pathology and GI Pathology. Other Anatomic Pathology elective months include Neuropathology, Renal Pathology, and Dermatopathology. In particular, we encourage interdisciplinary and clinical use of the elective time.

Our residents take one week of combined Anatomic Pathology/Clinical Pathology (AP/CP) call approximately four times a year. Call is not taken during your first year, although our first-year residents do attend our weekly call conference to discuss interesting and challenging cases that arise on call.

A Typical Four-Year Schedule



After Pathology residency training at the University of New Mexico, residents may pursue clinical fellowships or secure professional positions in academic medicine, private practice, or regional and national laboratories. UNM Pathology Residency Program graduates recently completed fellowships at:

  • MD Anderson Cancer Center
  • Mayo Clinic
  • Stanford University
  • University of California, Los Angeles
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • University of Washington
  • Vanderbilt University

Resident Liaison

The Resident Liaison role includes being the point of contact for medical students interested in UNM Pathology, and will help in answering general questions about our residency and pathology as well as assisting in setting up visiting rotations.

The Resident Liaison is Ryan Rebbe, MD, a Resident Physician in the Department of Pathology. You may contact him at

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