Introducing the Pathology Hashtag Ontology

The past two years have seen an explosion in the amount of pathology content being tweeted and in the number of pathologists active on Twitter.  Pathology is perhaps even more suited to Twitter than many other medical fields because for most pathologists, the bulk of our daily work revolves around the interpretation of images for the diagnosis of human disease. Twitter allows us to easily share images of amazing cases with one another, and we can also discuss new controversies, share links to the most cutting edge literature, and interact with and promote the cause of our pathology professional organizations.

In 2015, I helped organize a pathology live tweet group for one of our annual meetings: the United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology (@TheUSCAP). The USCAP formally supported our group (which we dubbed #InSituPathologists) and the result was an enormous success.  The #USCAP2015 meeting hashtag was tweeted over 6000 times with nearly 6 million impressions during the week of the meeting. This may not seem like much compared to ASCO or other large medical meetings, but for our relatively small specialty, this was a big deal. The leadership of the USCAP subsequently invited me to chair a USCAP Social Media Subcommittee to help organize social media activities pertaining to our annual meeting.

Another way that pathology is very different from most other fields of medicine is that the vast majority (likely upwards of 90%) of pathology residents training today will pursue fellowship training in one or more pathology subspecialties. Pathology is a vast diverse field and the amount of knowledge to be learned and remembered is becoming mind-boggling. The pathology subspecialties may be quite different from one another. For example, although I am trained in general anatomic and clinical pathology, I practice only dermatopathology (#dermpath) and bone and soft tissue sarcoma pathology (#BSTpath) in my current position. Colleagues in my department may practice such diverse niche subspecialties as medical kidney pathology (#renalpath), GI and liver pathology (#GIpath), hematopathology (#hemepath), transfusion medicine and blood banking (#bloodbank), or even autopsy (#autopsy) and forensic pathology (#forensicpath). All of these areas fall under the broad umbrella of #pathology, but each is very different. The last time I did an autopsy was when I was a resident. The same goes for blood banking. My forensic pathologist colleagues may not have read a medical kidney biopsy for years. Even though we all practice pathology, we all need very specific subsets of pathology information. Early on, one could just follow the #pathology hashtag, but as the number of pathologists using Twitter started to swell, the #pathology hashtag started to become too voluminous to keep up with and often contained a broad range of info, much of which may only be relevant to a small subset of practicing pathologists.

Suggestions and inspiration from Matthew Katz (@subatomicdoc), Timothy Allen (@TimAllenMDJD), and Michael Misialek (@DrMisialek) convinced me that we needed a formal list of pathology subspecialty hashtags, and of course where better to create and publicize such a list than Symplur? The USCAP Social Media Subcommittee members worked together to build, edit, and refine the final list, which we then submitted to Symplur. We hope that our colleagues from around the world find this to be a useful schema for sharing and finding the pathology content that is most relevant to their particular niche of pathology.

Se the full list at the Pathology Tag Ontology page.



Jerad M. Gardner, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Pathology & Dermatology
Dermatopathology Fellowship Program Director
Chair, @TheUSCAP Social Media Subcommittee
Chair, @ASDPTweets Social Media Subcommittee
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
Little Rock, Arkansas


Special thanks to the members of the 2015 USCAP Social Media Subcommittee

Raul S. Gonzalez, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Pathology
University of Rochester Medical Center
Rochester, New York

Matthew Wasco, M.D.
IHA Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Ann Arbor, Michigan

Nathan E. Lee, M.D.
Fellow, Dermatopathology
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
Little Rock, Arkansas

Nicole D. Riddle, M.D.
Pathologist & Laboratory Director
Cunningham Pathology, An Aurora Dx Partner
Birmingham, Alabama

Rashna Meunier, M.D.
Fellow, Surgical Pathology/GI & Liver Pathology
University of Massachusetts Medical School
Worcester, Massachusetts

Roseann I. Wu, M.D., M.P.H.
Assistant Professor of Clinical Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
University of Pennsylvania Health System
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Samson W. Fine, M.D.
Associate Attending Pathologist
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
New York, New York

Xiaoyin “Sara” Jiang, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Pathology
Duke Health
Durham, North Carolina

Sean R. Williamson, M.D.
Clinical Assistant Professor of Pathology
Senior Staff Pathologist
Henry Ford Health System 
Detroit, Michigan

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One Response to “Introducing the Pathology Hashtag Ontology”

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