Season 2, Episode 18

Digitizing the Nation's Oldest Tissue Repository

This episode's guest:

COL Joel Moncur, MD, PhD and Katie Olson

This episode of Digital Pathology Today™ our guests are COL Joel Moncur, MD, PhD, Director of the Joint Pathology Center and Katie Olson, Acting Director of Defense Digital Service

The Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (AFIP) was in existence from 1862 to 2011. Many of us in pathology know it as the publisher of the “tumor fascicles” or the Atlas of Tumor Pathology series, originating in 1947, as well as a center of consultation and tissue repository unparalleled in the world.

The AFIP was reborn as the Joint Pathology Center (JPC), whose mission is to deliver cost-effective, high-quality, multidisciplinary pathology consultation and education; and preserve, modernize, and grow the nation's oldest tissue repository to promote biomedical research. The JPC is home to the largest collection of human pathologic specimens in the world, unparalleled in size, age, and diversity. The challenge now is to digitize this collection.

In this episode of Digital Pathology Today, our guests are COL Joel Moncur, Director of the Joint Pathology Center and Katie Olson, Acting Director of the Defense Digital Service (DDS).

Dr. Moncur became the Director of the JPC in August of 2018. His priorities as Director include digitally transforming the JPC repository and ethically using the data to develop collaborative artificial intelligence algorithms that can lead to new insights into specific disease states or clinical scenarios.

At DDS, Katie Olson oversees products and operations for the 80-person rapid-response team working within the Office of the Secretary of Defense. As a Highly Qualified Expert (HQE), Olson brings both her government and private sector experiences to bear on these important initiatives.

We discuss the history of the AFIP through its disestablishment in the early 2000s and its rebirth as the JPC. What is DDS and what types of projects do they work on? The massive undertaking which many people are excited about is the project to digitize the JPC collection. We’ll learn about the size, scope and goals of the project. And, of course, artificial intelligence (AI) is a very hot topic - particularly in digital pathology. How will AI be incorporated in this project?

More About Joel T. Moncur, MS, MD, PhD, FCAP

Joel T. Moncur, MS, MD, PhD, FCAP

Colonel, Medical Corps, U.S. Army

Director, The Joint Pathology Center

National Capital Region Medical Directorate

Defense Health Agency (DHA)

Colonel Joel T. Moncur is a native of California. He earned a Bachelor's Degree in Biopsychology (with Honors) from the University of California at Santa Barbara, a Doctor of Medicine from Dartmouth Medical School (Geisel School of Medicine) and a Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy in Cellular and Molecular Physiology from Dartmouth College. Colonel Moncur was commissioned in the US Army Medical Corps in 1993. His post graduate training included a transitional internship and pathology residency at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, DC. Colonel Moncur is board certified in Anatomic Pathology, Clinical Pathology and Molecular and Genetic Pathology.

Colonel Moncur became the Director of the Joint Pathology Center (JPC) in August of 2018. His priorities as Director are: 1) To provide the military and VA healthcare systems with comprehensive, high quality secondary pathology consultations 2) To digitally transform the Joint Pathology Center repository and to ethically use the data to develop artificial intelligence algorithms 3) To conduct pathology research and education in support of a ready medical force, a medically ready force and Veteran's health.

Before serving as JPC Director, COL Moncur spent 19 years (1999-2018) at Walter Reed Army Medical Center (Washington DC) and Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (Bethesda, MD). While at Walter Reed, he served as the Chief of Pathology (2013-2018), Interim Chief of Anatomic Pathology (2012-2013), Director of the Molecular Pathology (2004-2018), Director of Clinical Research (2009-2011) and Director of the Autopsy Service (2004-2007).

Colonel Moncur has spent the majority of his career addressing issues in the field of molecular pathology. He has served as a subject matter expert for the Defense Health Agency for policy decisions about molecular testing. He also serves as the Chair of the College of American Pathologists (CAP) Molecular Oncology Committee, which oversees proficiency testing and develops accreditation standards for clinical molecular oncology laboratories.

Colonel Moncur's military education includes completion of the Combat Casualty Care Course (1999), Captain's Career Course (2009) and the Command and General Staff College (2014, top 20% of class). His military awards include the Army Service Ribbon (1), Global War on Terrorism Service Medal (1), National Defense Service Medal (1), Army Superior Unit Award (2), Army Achievement Medal (2), Joint Service Achievement Medal (1), Army Commendation Medal (1), Joint Service Commendation Medal (2), the Meritorious Service Medal (2) and the Defense Meritorious Service Medal (1). Colonel Moncur was honored in 2019 with the naming of the Walter Reed Pathology Conference Room as the Colonel Joel T. Moncur Conference Room. He is the recipient of the U.S. Army's 'A' Proficiency Designator.

More About Katie Olson

Katie Olson

Acting Director of Defense Digital Service

Katie Olson is the Acting Director of Defense Digital Service, overseeing products and operations for the 85-person "team of nerds" based at three locations around the U.S. As a Highly Qualified Expert (HQE), Olson brings both her government and private sector experiences to DDS. Olson has grown the DDS team nearly 150%, recruiting top-tier military and civilian talent from around the U.S. while increasing the team's diversity of skills and backgrounds. Olson also led the acquisition of the Rogue Squadron counter-UAS unit from the Defense Innovation Unit into the DDS portfolio at the direction of Secretary Esper to improve our detect, display, and defeat modalities for small drones. She continues to focus on expanding the DDS product portfolio, ranging from a symptom checking tool for COVID-19 currently deployed around the world to the expansion of our Hack the Pentagon bug bounty program.

Prior to DDS, Olson led the launch of the City Tech Collaborative in Chicago, a tech organization reinventing essential city services and infrastructure using advanced technology, in partnership with corporations, philanthropies, and universities. She also led the City of Chicago’s Plan for Economic Growth & Jobs, developing initiatives ranging from small businesses support to major transit corridor revitalization. From 2008-2010, she served as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer in Malawi. Olson holds a Master of City Planning from the University of Pennsylvania and a B.A. in Political Science and Interdisciplinary Studies from American University in Washington, D.C.

Olson has spoken about government and civic tech at forums around the world, including UN Habitat in Brussels, the Business of Design Week in Hong Kong, Chicago Ideas Week in Chicago, and the Institute for Competitive Inner Cities in Cleveland. She has received a number of awards for her work, including Chicago Inno’s “50 on Fire” and FedScoop’s “Tech Champion of the Year” award in 2020.