Donald Karcher Donald Karcher
Professor of Pathology

Office Phone: 202-677-6606
Email: Email
Department: Pathology


  • MD, Louisiana State University Medical Center, 1974


Donald S. Karcher, MD, FCAP is Professor and Immediate Past Chair of Pathology at George Washington University (GW).  He has been a member of the GW Pathology faculty for many years, serving as Chief of Hematopathology, Chief of Flow Cytometry, Director of the Residency Training Program, Director of the Division of Clinical Pathology, Director of Laboratories, and for 20 years as Chair of Pathology.  He stepped down as Chair in 2019 and continues to serve on the Pathology faculty.
Dr. Karcher received residency training in Anatomic and Clinical Pathology at the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, TX and is Board-certified in Anatomic and Clinical Pathology and Hematopathology.  Before joining the GW Pathology faculty, he served as Chief of Hematopathology at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC and Chief of Hematopathology at the Louisiana State University Medical Center in New Orleans, LA.
Dr. Karcher has been active for many years in multiple national and international pathology organizations.  He served from 2014-2016 as President of the Association of Pathology Chairs (APC), the preeminent organization of academic departments of pathology in the US and Canada.  He has held many leadership positions in the College of American Pathologists (CAP) and was elected as CAP President-Elect in 2021.  His term as CAP President will be in 2023-2025.

Clinical Expertise
Dr. Karcher’s clinical expertise includes hematopathology and flow cytometry.  His work as a hematopathologist involves diagnosis of leukemias, lymphomas, and other hematologic disorders.  He developed the Flow Cytometry laboratory at GW many years ago and continues to direct this laboratory, which is involved in determination of the immunophenotype of leukemias and lymphomas and analysis of the cellular components of the immune system.  He also has special interests in clinical laboratory administration and pathology informatics and has published and lectured nationally on both topics.  In addition to his work at GW, Dr. Karcher also serves as Laboratory Director at United Medical Center in the District of Columbia.



Dr. Karcher’s research interests for many years focused on hematopathology, with a special focus on HIV-related lymphomas and other effects of HIV infection on the hematopoietic system.  He was instrumental in discovering a new type of lymphoma (primary effusion lymphoma) common in HIV-infected patients.  His more recent interests and publications deal with laboratory administration, the pathology workforce, and pathology resident education.  His publications (original research, reviews, books, chapters, and abstracts) currently total 130, and he has also published 9 computer programs.


Clinical Chemistry
Molecular Diagnostics
Laboratory Administration


Robboy SJ, Gross D, Park JY, Kittrie E, Crawford JM, Johnson RL, Cohen MB, Karcher DS, Hoffman R, Smith T, Black-Schaffer WS. Re-evaluation of the US pathologist workforce strength. JAMA Network Open 2020;3 (July):1-10. (DOI: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.10648)

Gross DJ, Black-Schaffer WS, Hoffman R, Karcher DS, Johnson K, Lopez Estrada Y, Robboy SJ, Cohen MB. The state of the job market for pathologists: Evidence suggests that demand for pathologists is strong. Arch Pathol Lab Med 2020;144 (April):420-426. (DOI: 10.5858/ arpa.2019-0356-CP)

Bailey DN, George LM, Howell D, Karcher DS, Libien J, Powell D, Sanfilippo F. Serving as a temporary pathology chair: “boon” or “boondoggle?” Academic Pathology 2019;6 (September):1-5. (DOI: 10.1177/2374289519877547)

Shanmugam VK, Phillpotts M, Brady T, Dalal M, Haji-Momenian S, Akin E, Nataranjan K, McNish S, Karcher DS. Retinal vasculitis with chronic recurrent multifocal osteomyelitis: a case report and review of the literature. BMC Rheumatology 2019;3 (August):29(1-12). (DOI: 10.1186/s41927-019-0076-5)

Black-Schaffer WS, Gross DJ, Crawford JM, Robboy SJ, Johnson K, Cohen MB, Karcher DS, Powell S, Johnson RL. Evidence-based alignment of pathology residency with practice: I. Methodology and general consideration of results. Academic Pathology 2018;5 (August):1–11. (DOI: 10.1177/2374289518790501)

Lorenz RG, Karcher DS, Gautreaux MD, Limson M, Zander DS. The pathology workforce and clinical licensure: The role of the PhD clinical laboratorian. Academic Pathology 2018;5 (June):1-8. (DOI: 10.1177/2374289518775948)

Henricks WH, Karcher DS, Harrison JH, et al. Pathology Informatics Essentials for Residents (PIER): A flexible informatics curriculum linked to Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) Milestones. J Pathol Inform 2016;7 (January):27-38. (DOI: 10.4103/2153-3539.185673)

Perrotta PL, Karcher DS. Validating laboratory results in electronic health records. Arch Pathol Lab Med 2016;140 (No. 9, September):926-931.

Gupta S, Black-Schaffer WS, Crawford JM, Gross D, Karcher DS, et al. An innovative interactive modeling tool to analyze scenario-based physician workforce supply and demand. Academic Pathology 2015;2 (No. 4, October-December; DOI: 10.1177/2374289515606730):1-21.

Robboy SJ, Gupta S, Crawford JM, Cohen MB, Friedberg RC, Karcher DS, et al. The pathologist workforce in the United States: II. An interactive modeling tool for analyzing future qualitative and quantitative staffing demands for services. Arch Pathol Lab Med 2015;139 (No. 11, November):1413-1430

Meier FA, Souers RJ, Howanitz PJ, Tworek JA, Perrotta PL, Nakhleh RE, Karcher DS, Bashleben C, Darcy TP, Schifman RB, Jones BA. Seven Q-Track monitors of laboratory quality drive general performance improvement: Experience from the College of American Pathologists Q-Tracks program, 1999-2011. Arch Pathol Lab Med 2015;139 (No 6, June):762-775.

Volmar KE, Idowu MO, Souers RJ, Karcher DS, Nakhleh RE. Turnaround time for large or complex specimens in surgical pathology. A College of American Pathologists Q-Probes study of 56 institutions. Arch Pathol Lab Med 2015;139 (No. 2, February): 171-177.

Nakhleh RE, Souers RJ, Bashleben CP, Talbert ML, Karcher DS, Meier FA, Howanitz PJ. Q-TRACKS: Fifteen years’ experience of a College of American Pathologists program for continuous monitoring and improvement, Arch Pathol Lab Med 2014; 138 (No. 9, September):1150-1155.

Howanitz PJ, Perrotta PL, Bashleben CP, Ramsey GE, Meier FA, Ramsey GE, Massie LW, Zimmerman RL, Karcher DS. Twenty-five years of accomplishments of the College of American Pathologists Q-Probes programs for clinical pathology. Arch Pathol Lab Med 2014; 138 (No. 9, September):1141-1149.

Karcher DS, Lehman CM. Clinical consequences of specimen rejection. A College of American Pathologists Q-Probes study of 78 clinical laboratories. Arch Pathol Lab Med 2014; 138 (No 8, August):1003-1008.

Industry Relationships and Collaborations

This faculty member (or a member of their immediate family) has reported a financial interest with the health care related companies listed below. These relations have been reported to the University and, when appropriate, management plans are in place to address potential conflicts.

  • None