The Board’s Distinguished Pathologist Award was established by the Board of Directors of USCAP for recognition of distinguished service in the development of the discipline of pathology. This award is presented to an individual who is recognized for making major contributions to pathology over the years.
These candidates are proposed by the Executive Committee and the Awardee is selected by the Board of Directors at the Interim Meeting for presentation at the Annual Meeting.
Stacey E. Mills, M.D.
2018 USCAP Board’s Distinguished Pathologist
Dr. Stacey Mills (known to many as Chuck) was born in Hampton, VA in 1951 and grew up there during the early days of the space race. His father was an engineer at NASA, Langley during the time depicted in the book and movie, Hidden Figures. Before the space program moved to Houston, sightings of the original seven astronauts were common in grocery stores and around town. Chris Kraft, one of the original manned space flight administrators and head of the Apollo moon landing program, lived just down the street.
His early high school years were characterized by a love of and aptitude for math and the physical sciences. However, during his undergraduate education at the College of William and Mary a mesmerizing freshman biology course (and a low draft number during the Vietnam War) led to a flirtation with a Biology degree and a possible career in medicine, a decision that has most certainly never been regretted. Though he devoured courses in animal and vertebrate biology, he avoided anything botanical, preferring physical chemistry and linear differential equations. As a result, he was the first and quite possibly the last to graduate with a degree in Biology from William and Mary without a botany course as the Chair (a botanist) assured him that this oversight in the degree requirements would immediately be corrected. The second result was a woefully inept ability to identify more than a few flowering plants, primarily daffodils, pansies, roses and sunflowers.
Medical school at the University of Virginia led to an initial inclination to pursue cardiovascular surgery, but a rotation on the service made it clear that the tediously repetitive nature of every case was less than attractive. Pathology came to the rescue in the form of a fascinating course taught by Dr. Ben Sturgill. The appeal of his course was exemplified by the fact that almost 10% of his class went into pathology. Several trips to the frozen section suite following biopsies obtained on his Gyn rotation led to meeting Dr. Shannon Allen and the beginning of a lifelong dedication to surgical pathology.
Graduation from medical school coincided with the hiring of a new pathology Chair at University of Virginia, Dr. Tom Tillack, and Dr. Mills was fortunate to be accepted in the program and have his training there coincide with the rapid growth and prestige of the department, including the hiring of two great mentors, Phil Cooper and Bob Fechner. The ensuing 35 years passed all too rapidly and have included the publication of about 250 jointly authored manuscripts across the broad field of surgical pathology. Although he has areas of particular interest, including head and neck and skeletal pathology, Dr. Mills remains a member of a dying breed, the generalist surgical pathologist. He does admit, however, to currently avoiding a few areas including hematopathology and neuropathology. A sampling of his many contributions to the literature include, among others, multiple publications on olfactory neuroblastoma, the seminal publication on sinonasal undifferentiated carcinoma (SNUC), the recognition that “malignant angioendotheliomatosis” was actually an intravascular lymphoma, and the recognition that “minute pulmonary chemodectomas” were actually meningothelial-like proliferations.
Dr. Mills has authored and edited multiple texts, notably an AFIP fascicle on bone tumors, two fascicles on ENT tumors, and multiple editions of Diagnostic Surgical Pathology and Histology for Pathologists. He has been involved in over 300 scientific presentations, many international. Dr. Mills also serves on the editorial boards of multiple journals, has held numerous educational positions in the ASCP, was on the anatomic test committee of the American Board of Pathology for 16 years, served on USCAP’s Education Committee, moderated the evening USCAP sessions on Surgical Pathology for multiple years, and directed a USCAP Long Course on Head and Neck Pathology.
Dr. Mills’ journal editing history began with a stint as associate editor of the American Journal of Clinical Pathology from 1990 to 1994, followed by becoming the second editor-in-chief of Modern Pathology from 1995 to 2000. In 2000 he assumed the editorship of the American Journal of Surgical Pathology, a position that he still holds. He takes great pride in the recognition of AJSP as the premier journal in surgical pathology and that it is by far the most frequently cited journal at the annual USCAP meetings.