Linda D. Ferrell
My background is from the small town of Valley Falls, Kansas, a rural community with a population of about 1200. My high school had only 160 students total in grades 8-12. I was fortunate that I had parents who encouraged me to go to college, and two teachers who encouraged me to attend the University of Kansas. I also had the good fortune in my senior year of high school to have an educational experience with "Up With People". This group at that time had a traveling-high school combined with their musical performance, and the experience with the group expanded my perspective for my future outside of the rural setting.
At the University of Kansas in Lawrence, I not only became interested in medicine, but also became a steadfast Kansas Jayhawk basketball fan and made some lifelong friends. I was very interested in a possible teaching career, and thought it would be great to be a professor, following in the footsteps of my mentor, Dr Delbert Shankel, who provided my first basic research experience. I then discovered that I might be more suited for a clinically-oriented medical career that combined practice, teaching, and clinical research, and so I attended medical school at Kansas University Medical School in Kansas City. That's where I discovered pathology, inspired by a great surgical pathologist Dr Frank Mantz, and a wonderful neuropathologist Dr John Kepes. I remained at Kansas for my pathology training and in my second year as a pathology resident, I became interested in liver pathology, largely inspired by Dr Don Svoboda and Dr William Gourley.
The next phase of my life occurred in San Francisco, where I started out as a chief resident/Clinical Instructor at University of California San Francisco (1980), under the guidance of the Chair, Dr Edward Smuckler. He recruited me to stay on as faculty as the liver pathologist (1981), and arranged for me to spend time training with both Professor/Dr Peter Scheuer at the Royal Free Hospital, London, and Professor/Dr Roddy MacSween in the Western Infirmary in Glasgow. One of the most memorable efforts in my recent career was the Sir Roddy MacSween Tribute Liver/GI course that I organized in San Francisco in 2009. I've been very fortunate to have such wonderful teachers and mentors who have helped to mold my career path.
I met my husband, Rick Tombari, in 1989, and he has been a great support to me during for the past 20+ years. Our honeymoon was incorporated into my first meeting with the International Liver Pathology Study Group (better known as ELVES) in London, so my life in liver pathology and with Rick became mixed together immediately. He doesn't come along with me to USCAP - it's just too much pathology for him! He's the one who got me into playing golf, though, and is my favorite golf partner.
I have worked 30+ years at UCSF, and have served as Vice Chair and Director of Surgical Pathology for the past 12 years under the leadership of our Chair, Dr Abul Abbas. My interest in liver has led to the joy of making new friends in the field, and investigating many diverse areas of liver pathology. My most prized literary accomplishment is serving as Co-Editor of the MacSween's Pathology of the Liver and my most enjoyable Co-Editor role was with my wonderful colleague Dr Sanjay Kakar in the production of the book "Liver Pathology". I have also been fortunate to have numerous opportunities to be visiting professor and guest lecturer at many notable institutions and in many interesting places worldwide, which has considerably expanded my list of friends around the world. Looking back, if anyone would have told me when I was growing up in Valley Falls that this would be my life now, I never would have believed them.
The USCAP has played a significant role in my career starting with my first year as junior faculty, when I presented a poster in the GI section and received encouraging words from Dr Henry Appelman. Since then, I have had many opportunities to be involved with USCAP by moderating sessions, teaching courses, serving on the Education and Membership committees, serving as Council Member, and now serving as your President. I have found the USCAP to be a unique organization that has greatly enhanced my personal professional growth, as well has given me wonderful opportunities to meet other pathologists with similar interests from around the world, in an environment where I can encourage others in their academic development. I consider my service to the USCAP as your President as one of the highlights of my career, and I look forward to serving USCAP after my Presidency as well.
Linda D. Ferrell, MD
University of California, San Francisco -
School of Medicine President, USCAP