Completion of Tenure for Zubair Baloch, MD, PhD, as Director of the Cytopathology Fellowship Program

July 27, 2021

After his extraordinary service from 2011 to 2021, Dr. Zubair W. Baloch has completed his tenure as Director of the Cytopathology Fellowship Program at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. For the new academic year, Dr. Jalal Jalaly, Assistant Professor of Clinical Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, will take over as program director.

Zubair W. Baloch, MD, PhD, Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, is himself a graduate of the Cytopathology Fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania, which he completed in 1997 under the mentorship of Dr. Prabodh K. Gupta, following a fellowship in Oncologic Surgical Pathology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. He joined the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine as a faculty member in 1997, where he soon gained a reputation as an exceptional teacher, stellar educator, and outstanding researcher.

The American Board of Pathology (ABP) accredited Cytopathology Fellowship Training Program at the Hospital of University of Pennsylvania has instructed fellows in Cytopathology since the 1980s. Dr. Baloch first served as the Associate Director of the program for a decade until he was appointed Director of the Cytopathology Fellowship Program in 2011. Dr. Baloch’s national and international renown has attracted outstanding fellowship candidates to the Department and his standing as a specialist in endocrine pathology, cytopathology, and ENT pathology continues to facilitate tremendous networking opportunities.

Under Dr. Baloch's tutelage, a new generation of cytopathologists has emerged and he has thus been instrumental in helping create the future of the field. During his tenure, Dr. Baloch has trained around 60 fellows, many of whom have continued on in academic medicine and leadership positions. For the last 15 years at least and counting, graduates of the Program have garnered a 100% pass rate on the cytopathology boards. Administratively, Dr. Baloch also led the successful transition to include Perelman as a primary training site, in addition to HUP, and he successfully guided the Fellowship program to implement ACGME milestones a full year before it was required, which also served as a model for other fellowship programs and directors.

His mentorship of not only trainees but also of his colleagues and junior faculty, combined with his collegiality, friendliness, and unassuming demeanor, are legendary, as are his phenomenal clinical expertise and diagnostic skills. These are reflected in the long list of honors and awards bestowed upon Dr. Baloch. He is a perennial member of Philadelphia Magazine’s "Top Doctors" list of the region's best physicians for pathology and he is a Past President of the Papanicolaou Society of Cytopathology. Dr. Baloch received the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) Board of Directors Mastership Designation in 2007 to honor his significant contributions and commitment to the field and in 2015 he received the American Society for Clinical Pathology President's Award as a member who has gone above and beyond in his or her volunteer activities and provided significant contributions to ASCP programs and activities.

His distinguished teaching skills and excellence in mentorship, in particular, have been acknowledged by the 2018 L.C. Tao Educator of The Year Award from the Papanicolaou Society of Cytopathology and the 2020 H.P. Smith Award for Distinguished Pathology Educator by the American Society of Clinical Pathology. The Department has recognized Dr. Baloch's exceptional contributions to teaching with the Kevin Salhany Teaching Award, the Peter C. Nowell Teaching Award, and the 2021 Simon Flexner Award for Graduate Education. In 2018, The Pathologist Magazine published its annual "Top 100 Power List," in which Dr. Baloch was cited as "an inspiration for pathologists" through his strong record of authorship and publications, his service to national committees, his teaching (including numerous lectures, workshops and short courses both at national and international meetings), and his influence on social media, particularly on Twitter.

Over the years, Dr. Baloch has written more than 200 peer-reviewed publications in leading pathology journals on the subject of endocrine and head and neck pathology; and he has written book chapters and monographs. Dr. Baloch has co-authored three books and has served as co-editor of the most recent "Milan System for Reporting Salivary Gland Cytopathology." He has also served as the chair of the terminology and morphologic criteria committee of the 2007 NCI-sponsored Thyroid FNA Initiative, which led to the development of "Bethesda Thyroid FNA Classification Scheme." Dr. Baloch also served on the international panel which recommended the renaming of encapsulated follicular variant of papillary thyroid carcinoma to non-invasive follicular tumor with papillary like nuclear features (NIFTP). He is co-chief editor of Diagnostic Cytopathology and a member of the editorial boards of Cancer Cytopathology, Cytojournal, Endocrine Pathology and Journal of American Society of Cytopathology.