College of American Pathologists

  Press Release


Published on March 19, 2010

Contact: Julie Monzo

College of American Pathologists Honors Houston Pathologist with the Pathologist Spotlight Service Award

Northfield, IL.——Kathleen A. McMonigal, MD, FCAP, a pathologist and director of Clinical Laboratories for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) at the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, was named a recipient of a Pathologist Spotlight Service Award given by the College of American Pathologists (CAP).

The award was established to recognize CAP members, who exhibit transformative behavior and deliver exceptional patient care in their community through the specialty of pathology. Dr. McMonigal was nominated for this award by Pamela S. Bullock, MD, FCAP, a pathologist with Pathology Medical Associates in Oak Ridge Tenn.

Dr. McMonigal is honored for her expertise and devotion to patients through the NASA space program. In this role, she not only attends each landing of the space shuttle, welcoming her patients on their return to earth, but assures the integrity and safe keeping of their medical specimens. In fact, while at NASA, Dr. McMonigal inventoried and organized a retrieval system for all astronaut specimens held by NASA since the 1960s. She also developed a protocol for astronauts to obtain their own specimens, in microgravity during flight for current and future investigations, as needed. These specimens are housed in the NASA Biological Specimen Repository, which is maintained by the clinical laboratory.

Dr. McMonigal also was instrumental in setting medical standards for astronaut selection prior to review by the Aerospace Medicine Board. As chair of the Johnson Space Center’s Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects (NASA’s Institutional Review Board), she currently oversees the safety and ethics of all human research involved in space travel.

“On behalf of the CAP, it is with great pride that we recognize Dr. McMonigal for her commitment and dedication to her patients at NASA, both on and off the ground!” said Robert L. Breckenridge, MD, MBA, FCAP, a member of the CAP Board of Governors and chair of the CAP Council on Membership and Professional Development. “Her leadership to go ‘above and beyond’ the call of duty has helped shape the current pathology department at NASA.”

Previously, she was the medical director of the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory at NASA.

“I am deeply honored be recognized by the CAP, the leading organization for the specialty for which I hold high esteem,” said Dr. McMonigal. “It is a privilege to help patients through NASA and the College. Receiving an award for doing the work that I love is truly humbling.”

Dr. McMonigal earned her B.S. in biochemistry and B.S. in chemistry from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, and continued on to earn her medical degree from the same institution. She is board-certified by the American Board of Pathology and holds licensure in Washington, Texas, California, and Minnesota.

The College of American Pathologists (CAP) is a medical society serving more than 17,000 physician members and the laboratory community throughout the world. It is the world’s largest association composed exclusively of board-certified pathologists and is widely considered the leader in laboratory quality assurance. The College is an advocate for high-quality and cost-effective medical care.