Learn more about Jessica Tracht, MD, a Medical Member of the ASC and our Member Spotlight of the month, from her conversation with Membership Committee member Allison Wrenn, CT(ASCP).

Jessica Tracht, MD

Assistant Professor
The University of Alabama at Birmingham

Interviewed by: Allison Wrenn, CT(ASCP)
The University of Alabama at Birmingham

  1. How did you first find out about cytology?

Cytology was my first rotation as a resident, so it was my first in-depth exposure to pathology. I was quickly drawn to everything about the field, and it became my main area of interest very early on in my career.

  1. What drew you to this profession?

The level of enthusiasm and mentorship from the faculty and fellows during my first rotation really helped draw me to cytology. I also enjoy the level of detail involved in diagnosis and giving patients and other clinicians real-time answers and diagnoses.

  1. Tell us about an interesting case or situation that you’ve encountered in your practice.

I’m very early into my practice, but some of my most interesting cases are when what I see on my slides is different from the diagnosis clinician is expecting during a ROSE. With a little digging in the chart, there is almost always a clear reason for my impression. These cases reinforce how important it is to stick to your initial instinct and to be confident in communicating your diagnosis.

  1. What do you like best about being a cytopathologist?

I really enjoy seeing samples from many different organ systems and teaching cytology to residents. But for me, the best part is interacting with patients and being able to put them at ease and quickly give them answers when I do a fine-needle aspiration or rapid interpretation.

  1. What is the most rewarding thing that has happened to you in cytology?

Quickly giving patients answers to prevent them from having more invasive surgical procedures is very rewarding for me.

  1. What do you value most about your membership in the ASC?

What I value most about my membership in ASC is the Annual Scientific Meeting. I enjoy meeting with other people who share my interest in cytology and discussing all the latest issues and advances within our field.

  1. Do you have a memory from the ASC that you would like to share?

Going to the Annual Meeting has been the best memory for me. I’ve been able to meet a lot of interesting people and share my research.

  1. What advice would you give to students coming into the profession?

If you want to peruse cytology as a career, don’t let the possibility of potential changes or integration of new techniques in our field intimidate you or dissuade you. Being a cytopathologist or cytotechnologist is, and will be, a valuable and marketable skill for a long time.