Welcome to this edition of the FSP member spotlight. This month we are excited to feature Carmen Gomez-Fernandez, MD. Dr. Gomez-Fernandez is currently a member of the FSP Board, the Co-Chair of the Education Committee for FSP and a frequent attendee to both the Annual and Summer Meetings.
Carmen Gomez-Fernandez, MD,
Professor of Pathology and Vice Chair of Education,
Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami
What is your current role?
I work at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. I am a tenured Professor of Pathology and Vice Chair of Education. My academic work focuses on Breast Cancer, Head and Neck Cancer and Cytopathology as my areas of clinical and research interest.
I serve as Education Co-Chair for Education Committee in the Florida Society of Pathologists and I am an at-large member of the FSP Board.
What is the best part of your occupation?
There is never a dull moment. I love to learn and in the field of Pathology, I am consistently humbled by how much there is to learn on a daily basis. Consequently, I am never without something to do that I wholeheartedy enjoy. I have been working in Pathology for almost 30 years and I am still passionate about what I do and excited to go to work every day.
How did you become interested in pathology?
My father was a Pathologist and I grew up watching him work in the hospital and teach at the medical school as a voluntary professor. I saw him thoroughly enjoy his professional career and I knew I wanted to follow in his footsteps.
How did you become involved with the FSP?
When Dr. Meg Neal was President of FSP, she reached out to our Chair in an effort to have increased participation in the society by the academic Pathology departments in our state of Florida. I was asked to serve on the Education Committee together with Dr. Jim Zhai. Dr. Zhai and Dr. Neal “had me at hello”! They could not have been more supportive of our department and of our engagement as a group. No idea was too big or too small. They and the rest of the leadership team at the time, including Tony Martinez, Morton Levitt, Steve Vernon, Brett Cantrell, Lizardo Cerezo, Marino Leon, Luis Rey, could not have been more welcoming. They embody all that is good about our profession.
Explain how you benefit from being a member of FSP
Membership in our state society provides us with a home and importantly assures a future path for our profession. It allows for networking, advocacy with our local, state, and national representatives in government, and a forum for exchange of ideas and information regarding the current and future practice of pathology.
What would you like to see occur in the field of pathology (i.e., scientific advances, greater awareness of the field, etc.) during your career?
It is my hope that we can lead the changes in the current molecular revolution for diagnostics and digital informatics. The world is changing. The next generation of physicians has grown up with the internet. Information is instantly present at their fingertips. Global and interpersonal communication are both possible in ways that we could never have imagined just a few short years ago. Remote interactions are part of the “new normal”. Pathology is inherently a field that does not require “in person” communication. The information that must be learned for accurate diagnostics in disease has increased exponentially. Pathologists have always played the role of a “doctor’s doctor”, i.e. the one that can distill the information related to the diagnosis to the treating physicians, and in many instances, leading the pathway toward the optimal treatment strategies. We must not lose that role, but rather we must capitalize on the technological advances and utilize them to facilitate our roles as diagnosticians and communicators of information to our clinical colleagues. I would go further and daresay, we should shift our roles to include distilling the information and communicating with our patients as well.
What are your hobbies outside of the office?
I am a busy wife and mother of four with 2 dogs and 3 cats. I love to travel and can’t wait for the opportunity to do so again.
What is something surprising that most people do not know about you?
I learned to ski just before turning 40 and realized that skiing was an untapped passion of mine. I was born and raised in Miami and growing up I had enjoyed all sorts of water sports. Could not have imagined how much I would love to ski.
Is there anything I did not ask that you would like me to mention in the article?
I sincerely thank Erin Corrales and her team for their unwavering support of all our FSP activities.
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