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Global Outreach Observership Program Policies and Procedures

The Global Outreach Observership Program at the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine provides qualified medical graduates the opportunity to learn more about our practicing pathologists and their purpose within the greater health care system through a robust interaction with anatomical and clinical pathology. The observership program is intended for national and international individuals seeking further pathology training which may lead to a residency position in the U.S. in the field of pathology.

Program Details

Pathology-focused activities during an observership rotation occur at the Indiana University Health Pathology Laboratory (IUHPL). Our affiliate facilities include but are not limited to IU Health University Hospital, IU Health Methodist Hospital, Marion County Coroner’s Office, and IU School of Medicine on the campus of Indiana University-Indianapolis. The IUHPL has a cafeteria, break room, locker rooms, auditorium, pathology library and an autopsy suite. Parking is available at a daily cost at the building. Free parking is currently available across the street from the laboratory and along various side streets. IU Health provides a free shuttle to campus and affiliate hospitals. Any questions or concerns prior to or during the rotation should be directed to the education coordinator, who schedules all visiting learners in the lab.

Observers participate in routine practices and educational activities in the laboratory, including but not limited to sign-out cases, gross dissection, autopsies and clinical pathology. As schedules are created prior to the rotation, observers may request extended time in desired sub-specialties or may request a broad schedule to familiarize themselves with IUHPL. As observers acclimate to the laboratory and its pathologists, they may request schedule changes if desired. These are arranged through the education coordinator based on availability. Observers are expected to attend daily morning and afternoon educational conferences and are welcome to attend lectures, grand rounds and any other learning opportunities within the department. Observers are added to an email distribution list once the rotation starts and receive communication from the residents regarding learning opportunity locations, times and topics. Observers can expect to interact with residents, fellows and attending pathologists during daily rotations in scheduled sub-specialties. Observers can expect to be in the laboratory Monday through Friday between the hours of 7:30 am and 4:30 pm EST. As space allows, observers are given a cubicle in the residents’ and fellows’ room that will include a microscope and access to pathology resources.

Observers are given one day each week to review cases independently and are encouraged to utilize all resources found within the lab to assist in the review process. At the end of the rotation, observers will take an examination that includes a number of the slides found in the review set. This is meant to gauge the observer’s skill set and allow the director to assess the quality of time spent in the laboratory. 

Observers are encouraged to seek time with the director of the observership program as appropriate. Observers meet with the director at the beginning of the rotation and have access to the director through his administrative assistant. Observers will also be scheduled to meet with the director of the residency program during the rotation. Unless scheduled to work with the program director on a sub-specialty, observers are not encouraged to ask for a letter of recommendation from the program director, but are encouraged to interact with the attending pathologists with whom they spend quality time.

The observership program provides no compensation, stipend, or reimbursement. All arrangements and expenses, including but not limited to travel, lodging, travel documents, immunizations, health insurance and living costs will be the full responsibility of the observer. Upon the end of the rotation, the observer will no longer be permitted to access the pathology laboratory or its affiliate facilities. Observerships at IUHPL are strictly voluntary and can be terminated at any time by either the observer or the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Sciences with or without cause.


National and international medical school graduates may apply for consideration for a four week rotation in our department. We accommodate two week rotations if space allows. At the end of the rotation, the observer:

  • Will be familiar with the functioning of the department of pathology and how different divisions of the department interact with each other.
  • Will leave with basic understanding of the various processes involved in acquiring and processing and diagnostic interpretation of anatomic and clinical specimens.
  • Will acquire basic knowledge of interpreting the morphologic findings as well as clinical results.
  • Will have a clear concept of the importance of accurate diagnosis, reporting, and communication with the healthcare providers in patient management.
  • May participate in teaching, intradepartmental and interdepartmental conferences, and research projects to gain experience in order to function in an academic environment.

Application Process

All applicants will be directed to submit documents through an application portal on the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine website. Applicants must submit the following documents to be considered for the program. Applications lacking any of the listed materials are not considered.

  • Updated medical curriculum vitae (CV)
  • Medical school transcripts (translated if non-English)
  • USMLE Step 1 score
  • USMLE Step 2 score

Completed applications are forwarded to the program director for review during the block in which they are submitted. Applicants are accepted, waitlisted or denied via email from the education coordinator. Due to the extreme level of interest in the program for the limited numbers of spots, combined with space in the laboratory dedicated to medical school learners, we regret that we cannot accept all applicants.

Applications received in Block 1 will be considered for observerships in Block 3.
Applications received in Block 2 will be considered for observerships in Block 1. 
Applications received in Block 3 will be considered for observerships in Block 2.

 Block 1

1-4 observers

1-4 observers

1-4 observers

1-4 observers

 Block 2

1-4 observers

1-2 observers

0 observers

1-4 observers

 Block 3

1-4 observers

1-4 observers

1-4 observers

1-4 observers

Approved applicants will receive a letter of invitation (LOI) via email indicating the block to which they are accepted. Applicants have seven days from receipt of the LOI to accept or decline the offer and agree to the terms of the program. Applicants may specify their preferred months in the LOI. Slots will be filled in the order they are received. The observership program director expects accepted applicants to:

  • Be proficient in the English language.
  • Be financially able to incur all costs associated with the program, including but not limited to travel, lodging, insurance and living expenses.
  • Have all applicable visas procured by the start of the rotation.
  • Have all required immunizations prior to the start of the rotation.

Observerships may be canceled by the participant at any point prior to the start of the rotation, but once canceled, the participant may not reschedule, and the cancelation is final. Waitlisted applicants will be contacted if slots become available, giving as much time as possible to arrange for travel and lodging.