Pathologists’ assistant gains unique experience with rare cancer cases

March 31, 2022

Casamalhuapa headshot

Irving Casamalhuapa, MS ’22, a second-year pathologists’ assistant student, has taken a leading role at his clinical rotation at the UCLA Health Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine.

“I have learned how to handle a multitude of unique and interesting cases that not many institutions receive,” he said. “UCLA has also allowed me to be involved in the training of the pathology residents. In addition, I’ve been asked to be involved in opportunities to further represent the pathologists’ assistant field in conferences, such as USCAP and MEDPEP, which is the introduction of medicine to underrepresented minorities.”

He said he felt very grateful to have this experience.

“I feel very grateful for the opportunity to be able to complete my clinical rotations here,” Casamalhuapa said. “This facility receives an innumerable amount of rare cancer cases and has some of the best Pathologist on site. I have had the privilege to see these complicated cases firsthand and have gotten the opportunity to work with these individuals personally. Receiving feedback for my work has been extremely valuable to my growth as a PA as well. I feel that having the knowledge and skills I have attained here has set me up for a bright career as a pathologists’ assistant.”

Casamalhuapa hopes to continue to learn and improve in his field. He eventually would like to become the manager or director of anatomical pathology at an academic institution in the future. He hopes to focus on pathologists’ assistant student training in the future.

“This experience has shown me what it’s like to work in a high-volume academic center, how to process a variety of uncommon specimens and how to develop leadership skills and be an educator for this very exciting field,” Casamalhuapa said.

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