Drawing on outtakes from expert-led roundtable discussions at the 2023 Spring House of Delegates Meeting, this series explores potential side gigs for pathologists to earn extra income and put their expertise to work. This installment features panelists Anthony M. Magliocco, MD, FCAP, and David L. Gang, MD, FCAP. Check out the previous installments, 5 FAQs about Getting Started in Industry Consultation and 5 FAQs on Earning Extra as an Expert Witness.
While the CAP doesn’t recommend pathologists leave their practice in pursuit of other positions or opportunities outside the laboratory, many physicians put their expertise to work for career growth and to serve their specialty. In this third article in a series outlining various side gigs for pathologists, here are some tips and points to consider before seeking and accepting visiting faculty or speaking roles.
Get the OK from Your Institution to Take a Visiting Faculty or Speaking Role
Anthony Magliocco, MD, FCAP: It's better to know rather than get into trouble. On these matters, make sure that you discuss the opportunity and negotiate with your department chair or institution. Be prepared to demonstrate the value of the opportunity so they'll be more likely to give you permission. But really be aware of your contract, and full disclosure is always the best way to go.
David Gang, MD, FCAP:
Checking with your department as to what you're allowed to do is key. I've been lucky [to be] in departments where all the chairs were also doing things like expert witness or speaking engagements, so there was never any problem. But make sure and get your work done and get coverage if you’re going to be away. Just don't overdo it and don't take on more than you can handle.
Don’t Be Shy—Your CV Will Thank You
Dr. Magliocco: Getting invited to other universities or to research days is a great honor, and so if you can get yourself invited to those things, I encourage that. And I found I really could invite myself as well. If you know friends or colleagues at other places, just say, “Oh, I'd like to come visit you and visit your center to explore collaborations, would you like me to give a talk to your faculty, residents, or at rounds when I am there?” So don't be shy … it’s a great accolade to have on your CV. Invite yourself—network, network, network.
Dr. Gang: I did quite a bit of guest lecturing early in my career, and it's not so much a revenue enhancement as it enhances your reputation, your academic reputation, your value, and helps when looking for jobs. So, in the long run, it can very much help your career.
Keep Proper Records
Dr. Gang: You may have to pay taxes on extra earnings, so keep good, solid records. And if you have a home office with a microscope, like I do, you may be able to deduct some of the expenses.
Dr. Magliocco: It’s important to track your external consulting activities to properly report for taxation and also for conflict-of-interest disclosures. There are certain rules that may require you to register under the Physician Payment Sunshine Act or if you're applying for grants or on papers and other matters. You always have to be looking at those conflicts of interest. Make sure you have the proper tax receipts, and you can actually deduct your cost of traveling and some other expenses such as home offices, meeting registrations, cell phones for business, etc.
Consider Your Different Audiences
Industry Speaker Bureaus
Dr. Magliocco: Speaker bureaus pay fairly well to fly you somewhere and speak on behalf of their industry, usually pharmaceuticals or oncology. But they train you in what to say, and the content is highly controlled. You really can't deviate from the script, and it's somewhat limited by the FDA and other factors. Some institutions like academic centers forbid or discourage participation, so be sure to check with your institution to see if this would be a good option for you. You will also need to report this on conflict-of-interest disclosures.
Health Care Professionals
Dr. Magliocco: I attended a histotechnology society meeting, and they are excited when they get pathologists to come and speak. If you do have opportunities to speak to some of these technical societies, take them. They're phenomenal and they allow us to network and advocate for the specialty.
Dr. Gang: I took part in a GI nurses conference, and this was a good opportunity to explain what we do and the life of the specimen. I didn't get paid, but it's definitely worthwhile and good for the profession.
Dr. Gang: I've spoken to premed societies, going to Boston-area colleges and talking to the students about what a pathologist does and showing them that career path. It was fun for me, and hopefully we’ll get some future med students interested in the field.
Dr. Gang: I found the opportunity to speak to patient and advocacy groups extremely rewarding in terms of explaining what pathologists do. I gave a talk about the specimen journey to breast cancer survivors and foundations, and they were enthralled. It actually led to donations to my research program.
David L. Gang, MD, FCAP, is immediate past chair of the CAP Federal and State Affairs Committee and currently serves as FSAC advisor. He has also recently served on the CAP Council on Government and Professional Affairs and Policy Round Table Subcommittee and has been a Massachusetts delegate to the CAP HOD since 2008.
Professionally, he is an associate pathologist at Baystate Health in Springfield, Massachusetts, having served as chief of anatomic pathology from 1991 to 2020 and interim co-chair from 2018–2019. He is a professor of pathology emeritus at UMass Chan Medical School-Baystate. Prior to Baystate, he spent six years as associate professor of pathology at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center in Worcester following seven years of service on the staff of Massachusetts General Hospital.
Anthony M. Magliocco, MD, FCAP, is a board-certified pathologist and professor of oncology and pathology with over 30 of years of experience in tissue pathology, medical research, molecular diagnostics, liquid biopsy, genetics, digital image analysis, and clinical trials. Throughout his career in both Canada and the US, he has founded and led multiple clinical laboratories and has overseen the deployment of numerous new laboratory tests to aid selection of treatment plans for patients with breast, ovary, lung, bladder, and many other cancers. He has published over 200 research articles, has numerous patents issued and applied, and is a frequent invited speaker to international diagnostic technology meetings. Most recently, he founded Protean BioDiagnostics, where he is president and CEO.