Get to Know Ericka Olgaard November Member Spotlight

Ericka Olgaard, DO, MBA

Clinical Associate Professor - University of Florida

Gainesville, FL

What is your current role?
I am grateful to have many opportunities at the University of Florida, Department of Pathology, Immunology, and Laboratory Medicine led by our amazing chair, Dr. Jennifer Hunt.  I am a clinical associate professor and vice chair of system integration, where I facilitate the development of a coordinated approach to laboratory medicine throughout our growing UF system, including new builds and acquisitions.  I also get to share the joy of laboratory management as the director of, which is comprised of a group of reference and outpatient laboratories in north and central Florida and serve as CLIA director of multiple sites.  It's also very gratifying to be able to directly serve patients in my community by continuing to sign out cases in the specialties of GI, ENT, and clinical chemistry/immunology.  I'm very proud to serve on CAP councils and committees with my colleagues.
What is the best part of your occupation? 
I love interfacing with so many people in lots of different settings - pathologist and physician colleagues, administrators and business team, trainees, patients, and laboratory staff.  I learn from them daily!  In particular, it is exciting and moving to see our lab supervisors and budding leaders grow and lead their teams through tough situations.
How did you become interested in pathology?
I've been interested in medicine for as long as I could remember.  After graduating high school, I took a job as a phlebotomist at our local community hospital.  I was mentored by the pathologist in the lab and was instantly hooked!
How did you become involved with the FSP?  
I really believe in volunteer service to our pathology professional organizations.  The state societies are the heartbeat of advocacy for our patients, communities, and the profession and FSP is the gold standard across the country.  I am honored to be a part of FSP for the last two years since moving to Florida and hope to serve even more in the future.
Explain how you benefit from being a member of FSP.  
FSP's high quality educational programs for pathologists, opportunities to learn from the innovative and scientific discovery work from trainees and junior pathologists at the February meeting, bringing pathologists together from different Florida programs to collaborate, and providing a collective voice for our profession and community in protecting our practice and payment with state and national legislation have already benefited me greatly and I strive to pass this on to others.
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?    
I have a lot of years left to go in my career and although I plan to have a really fun time exploring many facets of pathology and medicine, I also know we will have some tough battles.  I'd love for us in pathology to secure and maintain fair payment for our valuable services.  I'd like to see fair regulations around laboratory developed tests that both ensure high quality and allow for innovation and cutting-edge research to give the best care for our patients.  And I am excited to see how we can use big data and AI to augment and automate our practices to help us be more efficient and effective as patients benefit from our care beyond just human capabilities.

What are your hobbies outside of the office? 
I am a dance instructor certified by Dance Masters of America in Ballet, Tap, Jazz, and Acrobatics.  While my work schedule does not allow me to teach each week, I still find time to teach and choreograph a few times a year, serve on the board of Dance Masters of Michigan (where I grew up), and take some adult dance classes in Gainesville.  It's a great way to keep my creative side flowing.

What is something surprising that most people do not know about you?
I became involved in the Miss America Scholarship Program many years ago, first as a contestant and then as a choreographer, producer, and volunteer for several programs.  I can teach you a mean pageant walk and pose!  It's a great way to give back to the community and I'm trying to learn more about how I can get involved in the Gainesville area.