Pathology | Why Choose Us?

Our Facts and Figures

The Department of Pathology provide diagnostic surgical, cytology, autopsy and consultation pathology services to the entire Boston Children’s Hospital community, its surrounding Longwood Medical Area neighbors and to other institutions and patients worldwide.

This program is one of the oldest and largest independent pediatric pathology departments in the world. The department’s laboratories process specimens ranging from the routine to the most complex utilizing a sub-specialty oriented staffing model coupled with one of the largest pediatric pathology training programs in the country. The department consistently ranks among the most academically productive pediatric pathology programs in the nation. The clinical department also lends its expertise to the entire Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School’s research community.

Annually, the department processes and interprets approximately:

  • 12,000 surgical pathology cases
  • 40,000 surgical pathology specimens
  • 5,000 research pathology specimens
  • 3,000 cytopathology cases
  • 1,000 national and international consultations
  • 500 electron microscopy examinations
  • 500 flow cytometry cases
  • 1000 intraoperative diagnoses
  • 75 autopsies

The department has close working relationships with other departments and divisions within the hospital, most notably:  Surgery, Gastroenterology, Cardiology/Cardiovascular Surgery, Oncology, Otolaryngology, Neurology, and  Dermatology.

Our Collaborations

The Pathology Department at Boston Children’s Hospital enjoys collaborative clinical, training and research relationships with Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Massachusetts General Hospital and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. By maintaining these close collaborations, we are able to draw on the clinical expertise necessary to provide exceptional and comprehensive patient care for every patient.

Also, as a member institution of the Dana Farber/Harvard Cancer Center, our department shares a close affiliation and operates several research facilities which help support cancer center research efforts.

Our History

The long and illustrious history of the Department of Pathology at Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH) attests to its commitment to the diverse missions of pediatric pathology, including training and research.

  The Department of Pathology was founded in 1914, and was the first pathology department at a freestanding children’s hospital in the United States. 
BCH Pathology Department founder, Dr. S. Burt Wolbach, described the rickettsial organism responsible for Rocky Mountain spotted fever. In addition, Dr. Wolbach’s investigation of vitamin A deficiency led to the cystic and fibrotic anatomic and microscopic description of the pancreas that lends its name to cystic fibrosis. Wolbach is also the pathologist most closely associated with the description of marrow disorders Diamond-Blackfan anemia and Shwachman-Diamond syndrome.

Wolbach’s protégé and successor as Pathologist-in-Chief at BCH, Dr. Sidney Farber, not only described Farber’s disease, a lysosomal storage disorder, but is also considered the father of cancer chemotherapy, beginning with his studies of antimetabolite drugs on children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in the late 1940’s.

Beginning in the early 1960s, Drs. Richard and Stella Van Praagh systematically analyzed and catalogued in the department’s Cardiac Registry the pathological anatomy of congenital heart disease and provided the pathological analysis of post-surgical hearts that supported modern pediatric cardiology and cardiac surgery; in addition to training a host of pediatric pathologists, they trained numerous cardiologists and cardiovascular surgeons, thereby exerting a major impact over decades upon the whole discipline of pediatric cardiology.

A pioneer in the field of Immunopathology, Dr. Robert McLuskey is credited with major scientific contributions relating to the immunopathogenesis of renal diseases.

Dr. Lynne Reid mapped out normal and morbid pulmonary development, and contributed to the understanding of the pathologic basis of primary pulmonary hypertension of the newborn. Her research efforts, centered in thoracic medicine, have been recognized worldwide.

Concurrently serving as Pathologist-in-Chief for both Brigham and Women’s Hospital and BCH from 1990-2000, Dr. Ramzi Cotran developed one of the premier pathology training programs in the nation.
Tucker Collins
In 2000, Dr. Tucker Collins was selected as BCH Pathologist-in-Chief. Under his leadership, the department underwent unparalleled growth in its clinical services, as well as consolidation and expansion of the department’s Research Division into the Enders Research Building.

After a national search, Dr. Mark Fleming was selected as Chairman of the Department and Pathologist-in-Chief in February 2009. Dr. Fleming is a Hematopathologist with a clinical in inherited bone marrow failure disorders and anemias. His laboratory focuses on the molecular genetics of iron metabolism disorders including iron deficiency and the congenital sideroblastic anemias.