Becoming | Mark A. Hurt, MD

Why did you become a dermatopathologist? How did you become one?

I found it interesting when I began my fellowship in 1987, and the subject continues to interest me to this day.  That's the why.
 
 
The how of becoming a dermatopathologist is a different story, and somewhat more complicated.  I was trained in pathology at the University of Missouri.  Dermatopathology was not a real discipline there because the volume of cutaneous specimens was low, so there was no real emphasis on it over and above the other organ systems.  Furthermore, there was no dermatopathologist there.
 
Because of personal events that kept me at Missouri for an additional year as Chief Resident, I gradually began searching for a fellowship in surgical pathology, but I was too late in the interview process to be in line for a fellowship in 1987.  In late 1986, a dermatopathology fellowship became available.  I interviewed for it and was awarded the fellowship for 1987.  It was during that year, 1987-1988, that I began to understand the pleasure of the discipline as well as the importance of it.
 
It required three years from the beginning of my fellowship to the time I was able to sit for boards.  My first year of fellowship consisted of a full year of dermatopathology.  This was followed by taking a university position after the fellowship that allowed me to obtain clinical experience in dermatology over a two-year period -- in addition to practicing dermatopathology and surgical pathology.  At the time, this kind of training was allowed by special arrangement with the American Boards of Pathology and Dermatology.
 
After sitting for and passing the board examination in dermatopathology in 1990, I worked for a time as a dermatopathologist but also had responsibilities as surgical pathologist.  I moved gradually into full-time dermatopathology over a period of several years, and I have been practicing dermatopathology full time since approximately 1996.