The Medical Foundation’s Dr. Bobbie Sutton, a pathologist and Director of Molecular Pathology, has recently passed her Maintenance of Certification Part III examination in Molecular Genetic Pathology. This achievement fulfills the 10 year requirement for maintaining an accolade she earned years ago.
It all began in July of 2006, when The Medical Foundation sponsored her training at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center (OUHSC) where she completed a fellowship in Molecular Genetic Pathology.
At the time, The Foundation knew that molecular diagnostics was a rapidly expanding field and with so many changes on both the clinical and anatomic sides of pathology, they needed someone to take the reins and master the discipline.
Dr. Sutton did just that. Following the one year fellowship, she successfully passed the Molecular Genetic Pathology Subspecialty board certification exam in September of 2007. But passing this exam hardly meant that she was finished learning.
“This field is very demanding. Keeping up with the medical genetics literature, as well as all the new technology that impacts our testing, is something that really keeps me on my toes. However, I am confident that participating in the Maintenance of Certification process and monitoring trends and best practices in the industry, will help me to keep our molecular pathology lab ahead of the curve,” said Sutton.
Each year, she must complete 70 hours of continuing education modules, 20 hours of self-assessment module credits, and to maintain her certification she must also keep her full medical license, as well as active medical privileges. In addition, to the yearly maintenance, she must complete lengthy recertification exams every 10 years, such as the one she passed this March.
Oversight of the examination is shared by The American Board of Pathology and The American Board of Medical Genetics, which ensures that diplomats, such as Dr. Sutton, are competent in the following six areas: patient care and procedural skills, medical knowledge, practice-based learning and improvement, interpersonal and communication skills, professionalism, and systems-based practice.
According to the American Board of Medical Science (ABMS), Dr. Sutton stands among only 265 pathologists who have been certified in Molecular Genetic Pathology.
Dr. Sutton’s knowledge and expertise in the field led to increased test offerings in the Flow Cytometry/ Molecular Pathology department at The Medical Foundation.
Most recently, The Foundation joined efforts with Harper Cancer Research Institute (HCRI), Beacon Health System and St. Joseph Health System to bring state-of-the art testing to the region, concentrating in areas of colorectal cancer, melanoma and lung cancer.
New instrumentation acquired in early 2014 will analyze a small sample of DNA from tumor cells and identify up to 105 mutations in one reading. Such mutations can determine which chemotherapy drugs are most likely to be effective. This allows pathologists and oncologists to spare patients unnecessary treatment-associated toxicity by a drug that is unlikely to affect their particular tumor.
“This is what patient centered care is all about. It’s my hope that this will help patients who need genetic data to get the optimum treatment for their cancers,” said Sutton.
As the field of Molecular Genetic Pathology continues to rapidly advance, one thing remains constant: The Medical Foundation’s Dr. Bobbie Sutton will continue to learn and add to her expertise in the field, while she shares her expertise with her colleagues and physicians in the communities served by the Foundation.