The President’s Award was established so that each year the President and the Executive Committee would have the opportunity to recognize an individual for outstanding service to the Academy and the field of pathology. The award is conferred at the sole discretion of the President without requirement for it to be given annually. It is presented at the awards ceremony during the Annual Meeting. The awardee is introduced by the President and receives a commemorative trophy.
Selection process: The President nominates an awardee during his or her term as President. This nomination is submitted for approval to the Executive Committee at the time of the Interim Meeting (or earlier).
The Academy provides:
– Complimentary registration to the Annual Meeting
Linda D. Ferrell, MD
2023 President’s Award
Background: Life before Pathology, USCAP, and the Liver.
Dr. Ferrell grew up in a farming community surrounding Valley Falls, Kansas (population 1200). She was one of the few women in the school system who aspired to not only go to college, but try her luck with the best school available to her, Kansas University (KU), with the vague notion to become a Professor in a biological science position in order to teach college science. But after doing basic science research in her second year and finding out this career wasn’t a good match, she decided to pursue a medical degree instead. She applied to KU, and was accepted as part of the first group of medical students to complete the “fast-track” Medical School in 3 years instead of 4, and upon graduation (1977), she became the first person to complete a MD from the Valley Falls public school system.
It was only after a year of medical school that she found that her real talent and “first love” in medicine was with academic pathology, and she enthusiastically accepted an AP/CP residency position at the University of Kansas. With help from her pathology mentors, Dr. William Gourley in surgical pathology (GI and liver interests) and Dr. Donald Svoboda in basic research (liver and pancreas), she was encouraged to pursue extra liver training with a basic scientist studying liver metabolism at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), Edward Smuckler, MD, PhD (Chair of Pathology from 1976-86). She subsequently transferred from the KU residency to UCSF in Jan 1980 to complete the last 6 months of the 2nd AP year with the plan to begin her third AP year July 1980 as a liver research fellow with Dr. Smuckler. However, the liver fellowship didn’t work out, as within 3 months after her arrival at UCSF, two of the Surgical Pathology senior faculty were asked to leave the department, leaving a significant coverage problem in Surgical Pathology. That’s when Dr. Smuckler made the decision to ask her to serve her upcoming third AP year of residency as the Chief Resident and to also do the equivalent work of a general Surgical Pathologist; in return, he would then arrange another opportunity to do a liver fellowship. She accepted, and during that year, Chair Ed Smuckler signed off on all her reports without reviewing the slides….fortunately,…. without future consequence.
Faculty years at UCSF: Key factor and mentors
After that busy 3rd year, Dr. Smuckler recruited her to join the faculty at UCSF (1981) as Assistant Professor. (He was determined to keep her from going back to Kansas to the point that he even recruited his wife, a realtor, to help her buy a condo; he also went to the open house with them to be sure it was “OK”.) Dr. Smuckler supported her completely as the primary liver surgical pathologist within our general pathology system (…he REALLY didn’t want to look at liver biopsies and do the various liver conferences with clinicians…), but again, fate stepped in, and Dr. Ferrell spent most of the next 1.5 years as the leader of the faculty team in handling the AIDS epidemic response in Surgical Pathology rather than focusing primarily on liver in her off-service time. In fact, she was the first pathologist at UCSF to receive a lung biopsy and diagnose pneumocystis pneumonia on frozen section. After that year, in early 1982, Dr. Smuckler replaced her missed liver fellowship by arranging a 3 month “mini-fellowship” with Drs/Profs Roderick MacSween (Glasgow) and Dr. Peter Scheuer (Royal Free Hospital, London) to give her a crash-course in diagnostic liver pathology. They, in turn, proved to be instrumental in her later involvement respectively with the MacSween’s Pathology of the Liver textbook and her invitation to be a charter member of the International Liver Pathology Study Group in 1990 (also known as the ELVES). As a member of the Elves, she began life-long friendships with other “hepatophiles” from around the world. Other key factors for her pathology career were her many associations with USCAP (1985-current, her involvement also supported by Dr. Smuckler), where, again, she made many lifelong pathology friends in many subspecialties. She also joined the Hans Popper Hepatopathology Society and Rodger Haggitt Gastrointestinal Pathology Society.
Career roles and awards: Dr. Ferrell spent her entire career at UCSF (1981-current), and retired to Emerita status in June 2015. During her tenure there, she held an endowed Distinguished Professor in Anatomic Pathology, and served as Vice Chair of Clinical Affairs in the Dept of Anatomic Pathology concurrently with her role as Director of Surgical Pathology from 2000-2015. She also served her department in significant roles including Director of Residency (1984-89), Director of Pathology Med School Education (1989-96), Surgical Pathology Fellowship Director (2000-14), and Director of Liver/GI pathology Fellowship at UCSF (2005-14). In addition, she served UCSF in many roles, including Med School Admissions Executive Board, Faculty Council President, and Chancellor’s Council Member, among others. She has been honored with multiple medical student and Pathology trainee teaching awards at UCSF and named the faculty awardee for Alpha Omega Alpha in 1992 and the Gold-Headed Cane in 2008. USCAP has honored her with the Mostofi Award (2015), Harvey Goldman Master Teacher Award (2016), and the Distinguished Pathologist Award (2020). Other significant awards included the Arthur Purdy Stout Society President’s Award (2017), the Fred W. Stewart Memorial Sloan Kettering Award (2019), and the Hans Popper Hepatopathology Life Achievement Award (2022). She has been invited to lecture numerous times at both US and international meetings and academic institutions. She has contributed to over 200 papers published in peer-reviewed journals, and written numerous chapters on liver pathology in major surgical pathology textbooks. In addition to the MacSween book, she is also the lead editor of Liver Pathology in the Consultant Pathology Series (Demos Publishers) which emphasizes difficult diagnostic problems in liver pathology.
She has served USCAP in many ways, beginning as a member on the Abstract Review Board (1991-4) and later as member of the Education Committee (1998-2002), Board (2002-2005), and Executive Board (2010-2015), the latter including her role as President (2012-13) and two years as Past-President. In addition, she served on two USCAP search committees and in a variety of teaching and moderating roles. She has also served as President of the Hans Popper Hepatopathology Society.
Dr. Ferrell remains active as Emerita Professor at UCSF mostly in an advising/mentoring role to junior and other faculty and as a member of the Academic Promotions & Merits Committee. She also stays involved with informal diagnostic opinions for the UCSF liver group and, by way of her mentoring of junior faculty and liver fellows, she also stays involved with clinical academic liver research. Her academic interests currently are in the areas of vascular and architectural changes in the liver post-injury and well-differentiated hepatic tumors.