Passionate about pathology

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Tony Landgren is living his dream at Healthscope, training and mentoring pathologists of the future

Choose a job that you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.” This famous proverb

by Confucius is the cornerstone of Tony Landgren’s life. As the medical director and chief pathologist at Healthscope, Mr Landgren is clearly living his dream. His twin passions are pathology practice and training pathologists of the future – both of which Mr Landgren is seeing to fruition at Healthscope.

In his current role, Mr Landgren is responsible for ensuring the quality of diagnostic testing is of the highest standards and meets all regulatory requirements – a job that, given the ever-changing pathology landscape, requires a high degree of skill and industry knowledge.

“When I started out at Healthscope in 2010, we did not train pathologists. Now, we have 15 registrars, the highest in the private sector. This has also enabled us to promote people from within our own team, something we were previously not able to do,” Mr Landgren said.

He started off his medical training at Melbourne University in 1977 with a view to a future career as a surgeon. Midway through his surgical training, the call to a career in pathology was strong enough to see him change courses.

“I knew I wanted to study pathology but I was unsure of what field to focus on, so I started with two years of general pathology and followed this up with training in anatomical pathology,” he said.

“When I started out at Healthscope in 2010, we did not train pathologists. Now, we have 15 registrars, the highest in the private sector. This has also enabled us to promote people from within our own team, something we were previously not able to do,” Mr Landgren said

While training at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, Mr Landgren identified that law and forensic pathology were areas of definite interest for him, so he completed a law degree at Melbourne University and transferred his training to the Victoria Institute of Forensic Medicine, completing his studies in 1988. For the next four years, Mr Landgren worked in forensic pathology, undertaking more than 7,000 autopsies and assisting the Victoria Police in over 150 murder investigations, while also providing human diagnostic pathology services.

He then joined a Melbourne law firm as an articled clerk and was admitted as a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Victoria. Mr Landgren spent the next eight years working in private practice as a solicitor and as a health service manager with the Sisters of Mercy in Far North Queensland.

During his time, he also worked at James Cook University, lecturing in pathology and developing the curriculum in the subject for the new medical course. This secondment proved to be a turning point for Mr Landgren as he realised that the allure of diagnostic pathology was still strong and the call to the profession was just as loud as in his earlier years. As he puts it, “I wanted less law and more pathology.”

Returning to Melbourne in 2000, Mr Landgren took a three-month contract at the Royal Melbourne Hospital. Fourteen years later, he is still the head of the department of Anatomical Pathology at the hospital.

Wanting a balance between public and private practice, Mr Landgren spent three years in private practice at Dorevitch before moving to Healthscope in 2010, where his knowledge of pathology is being put to good use.

Anoop Singh, chief operating officer of Healthscope Pathology, explains that Mr Landgren’s main function is to undertake training and development of pathology staff. “Tony’s extensive knowledge and experience in the pathology industry has provided us the opportunity to invest in developing a highly skilled team. This was necessary to support the growth of the Healthscope Pathology business both at a local and global level,” Mr Singh said.

Mr Landgren also has a strong commitment towards industry boards and regulatory bodies. Seven years ago, he was appointed as the chair of the Board of Censors at the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia. Here, he is responsible for the training programs in all pathology disciplines, conduct of examinations, assessment of overseas trained specialists and laboratory accreditation for training.

Mr Landgren is a Fellow of the Australasian College of Legal Medicine, a member of the Royal Australasian College of Medical Administrators, chair of the Healthscope Pathology Quality Committee, chair of the Healthscope Transfusion Committee, and a member of the Federal Transfusion and Medical Workforce Committees. Besides this, he is a director of the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia and Quality Assurance Programs (RCPA QAP) and a board member of the Victorian Cancer Biobank.

He also has academic appointments at Melbourne University. He teaches undergraduate pathology and is a principal investigator in a cancer translational research project supported by a large grant from the National Health and Medical Research Council.

When asked how he fits in so many roles Mr Landgren admits that he doesn’t sleep a great deal and has learnt to balance his family, travel, sailing and golf with a busy professional life.

 

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