As a pathologist and a mother of three young children, Jennifer Kasten, MD, FASCP, finds her schedule is fairly well booked. But she still makes time to indulge in one passion—volunteering with ASCP. When she received a “cold call email” from ASCP in 2015, inviting her to join its Resident Council, she jumped at the opportunity. “I just knew I wanted to get involved in my profession,” says Dr. Kasten.
Once she attended her first ASCP Annual Meeting in Long Beach, CA, in October 2015, she was “blown away” by the Society’s core values focusing on educating the future of the profession, strengthening the medical laboratory community, and its emphasis on global health.
“ASCP is the only pathology organization that has 501(c)(3) status and because of that, it feels very different,” she says. “Its advocacy is a true passion. If you are someone who is curious and passionate about the future of pathology and its role in the whole medical landscape, then ASCP is for you.”
Admittedly, fitting volunteer work into an already packed schedule takes effort, she concedes. That was especially true last year when Dr. Kasten served as chair of the Resident Council. She took part in conference calls, in-person meetings, served as the Council’s representative to the American Medical Association, and also had to present at the Association for Pathology Chairs meeting. At the time, she was in her fellowship year and her youngest child was one year old.
“Fortunately, I had an accommodating fellowship director, who felt that my being involved at such a high level nationally benefited the program, the hospital, and my career development,” she says.
Now an assistant professor of pathology and cardiology at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Dr. Kasten strongly encourages pathologists who are in training to get involved with ASCP. “It truly gives you a voice and lets you be privy to all that is going on at the national level, from national policy debates to global health pathology volunteerism,” she says.