According to Angelique Levi, MD, director of Pathology Outreach, a pathologist who specializes in cervical diseases and prostate cancer, “the pathologist is the most important doctor you will likely never meet.” That is because pathologists spend their time examining patients with a microscope—not a stethoscope. As a doctor, a pathologist is trained to give diagnoses based upon the appearance of patients' cells or tissue under a high-powered microscope.
“First and foremost, a pathologist’s responsibility to a patient is to arrive at a correct diagnosis,” Dr. Levi says. “The second part is to communicate those results accurately to the treating physician.”
Dr. Levi is skilled in cytopathology, a diagnostic technique that relies on the examination of individual cells in a patient sample, whether from an aspiration/biopsy, smear, or body fluid. For example, cytopathology is used to examine cells from a woman’s Pap smear. This type of examination can also be done on samples collected by fine-needle aspiration and allows for the unique opportunity to perform many additional molecular tests from a single fluid sample. Two examples include high-risk human papilloma virus (HPV) DNA testing from a Pap smear and flow cytometry testing to evaluate for lymphoma. Dr. Levi has extensive experience with cervical disease, HPV, and prostate cancer.
As a fourth-year medical student, Dr. Levi took a pathology course and found herself captivated by the subject. “I’ve always been a visual learner and person by nature,” she says. “Even when I’m not thinking about diseases, I enjoy scanning slides and looking at histology (the study of the structure of cells and tissues).” As an associate professor of pathology at Yale School of Medicine, Dr. Levi conducts clinical based research and is involved with clinical trials related to HPV-related cervical disease and MRI-targeted prostate cancer. She has also been a participant in the Yale School of Management Emerging Physician Leaders program.