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HOME > J Pathol Transl Med > Volume 26(6); 1992 > Article
Original Article The Pathology Specialty System in Korea: Past, Present and Future Prospects.
Je G Chi
Journal of Pathology and Translational Medicine 1992;26(6):537-542
DOI: https://doi.org/
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Department of Pathology, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul 110-744, Korea.

The specialist system of hospital pathology in Korea has adopted the American system in its start, and divided its categories into anatomical pathology(AP), clinical pathology(CP), and combind anatomic and clinical pathology(AP +CP). Since 1975 the society eliminated the category of combined AP and CP specialist. The first qualifying examination took place in 1963. It started out as a written examination and later changed to have two parts, written and practical. One year of internship and 4 years of anatomic pathology were required for AP specialist. CP required the same period of training in CP to be eligible for the specialist qualifying examination. The training period was shortened to 3 years from 4 years, 1981~1990 and then returned to 4 years in 1991. There has been considerable confusion during the adoption period of the pathologist specialist system in Korea, mainly because of an incorrect concept of the term "clinical pathology" in the modern hospital. Many people understood "clinical pathology" to mean "hospital pathology" as an opposing concept of "basic or experimental pathology" at medical school. The misconception arose from the fact that Pathology Department in a Hospital has not been realized under Japanese hospital system that prevailed Korean hospital system until 1950. In old Japanese style, the laboratory examinations including some histopathological examination had been conduced in corresponding clinical departments. And Pathology Department in medical school was responsible only for autopsy and not for making diagnosis of biopsy or operative specimen necessarily. Therefore, there has been a conflict between traditional Pathologists(most of them anatomic pathologists) at medical school and so-called "clinical pathologists" in the hospital, as the Korean medical delivery system adopted American system particularly after the Korean war. Now in Korean, in the great majority of hospitals, clinical pathology is clearly defined from anatomic pathology, and the two-services are at work in separate programs. However, there are still a few university hospitals, where histopathological examination and reporting are done in the Clinical Pathology Department. It is hoped that a combined AP and CP program can be started again in near future for the pathologists who work in community hospitals or most smaller general hospitals where the pathologists with adequate knowledge on both AP and CP at work supervising clinical laboratory technicians and technologists. However, it is fully realized the specialists in subspecialty field such as neuropathology, dermatopathology, hematopathology, clinical microbiology, clinical chemistry, etc. are also needed. For future prospect both the Korean Society of Pathologists and Korean Society of Clinical Pathologists should collaborate with each other in full scale in spite of painful past experiences.

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