Report and Recommendations of the Association of Pathology Chairs’ Autopsy Working Group

Gregory G. Davis, Gayle L. Winters, Billie S. Fyfe, Jody E. Hooper, Julia C. Iezzoni, Rebecca L. Johnson, Priscilla S. Markwood, Wesley Y. Naritoku, Marcus Nashelsky, Barbara A. Sampson, Jacob J. Steinberg, James R. Stubbs, Charles Timmons, Robert D. Hoffman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Autopsy has been a foundation of pathology training for many years, but hospital autopsy rates are notoriously low. At the 2014 meeting of the Association of Pathology Chairs, some pathologists suggested removing autopsy from the training curriculum of pathology residents to provide additional months for training in newer disciplines, such as molecular genetics and informatics. At the same time, the American Board of Pathology received complaints that newly hired pathologists recently certified in anatomic pathology are unable to perform an autopsy when called upon to do so. In response to a call to abolish autopsy from pathology training on the one hand and for more rigorous autopsy training on the other, the Association of Pathology Chairs formed the Autopsy Working Group to examine the role of autopsy in pathology residency training. After 2 years of research and deliberation, the Autopsy Working Group recommends the following: 1. Autopsy should remain a component of anatomic pathology training. 2. A training program must have an autopsy service director with defined responsibilities, including accountability to the program director to record every autopsy performed by every resident. 3. Specific entrustable activities should be defined that a resident must master in order to be deemed competent in autopsy practice, as well as criteria for gaining the trust to perform the tasks without direct supervision. 4. Technical standardization of autopsy performance and reporting must be improved. 5. The current minimum number of 50 autopsies should not be reduced until the changes recommended above have been implemented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAcademic Pathology
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Anatomic pathology
  • Autopsy
  • Autopsy service director
  • Entrustable activities
  • Pathology training
  • Rapid autopsy
  • Residency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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