November 1957: Cytotechnical Training #ThrowbackThursday

In 1957, a training program for cytotechnicians began in the Cytology Laboratories of the Section of Surgical Pathology at Saint Marys and at Mayo Clinic. The program was planned to meet an expected increased demand for cytotechnicians as the result of plans of the Minnesota Division of the American Cancer Society for a publicity campaign to demonstrate to general practitioners and their female patients the value of examination of cervical smears in the detection of uterine cancer.


In a letter to members of the Minnesota Society of Clinical Pathologists, Dr. David Dahlin, a member of the group’s Cytology Committee, pointed out the need for pathologists to expand their facilities to handle an increased number of smears and a consequent need to train more technicians. The American Cancer Society, through its state divisions, provided $200 a month to the technician-trainee and $100 to the institution for a training period of four months. Trainees who could fulfill educational requirements, on completion of their training in cytology could qualify for registration by the Board of Registry of Technologists of the A.S.C.P. However, the Cancer Society subsidized the training of any technician who was recommended by a pathologist.

Mayo Clinic accepted four technicians at a time for training. Remodeling in the Surgical Pathology Laboratories at Saint Marys provided enlarged quarters for the Cytology Laboratory.

Alyssa Frank

Alyssa Frank

Alyssa Frank is a Marketing Segment Manager at Mayo Clinic Laboratories. She leads marketing strategies for product management and specialty testing. Alyssa has worked at Mayo Clinic since 2015.