Gastroenterology Fellowship

Gastroenterology Fellowship Program

THE TRAINING ENVIRONMENT
The primary site for the training program is the University of Kentucky Chandler Medical Center.  This world-class new facility, which opened in the summer of 2011, establishes a new standard of excellence in health care.  From cutting-edge medical and information technology to eco-sensitive green roofs to an over-the-top art collection, UK’s astonishing Chandler Hospital takes a back seat to none.  Planning is underway to create an equally advanced new endoscopy suite; but until then, UK’s existing Endoscopy Center is fully equipped to perform the complete array of standard and advanced procedures, affording comprehensive training opportunities.  And ambulatory care is provided in the Digestive Health Program clinic, again providing an excellent venue for patient care and learning.

A variety of clinical experiences is also provided at two additional training sites.  The Lexington VA Hospital is immediately adjacent to the Chandler Hospital and includes a complete endoscopy facility as well as modern outpatient clinic space.  UK Good Samaritan Hospital, located a few blocks away but still on the University main campus, provides an acute care experience with a community hospital flavor.  It all adds up to a practice environment which is ideally suited to training gastroenterologists who will be ready to face the challenges of 21st century medicine.

THE FACULTY
Buildings alone don’t make for academic excellence.  That’s why we’re pleased to have a gastroenterology faculty who possess a full spectrum of clinical expertise, and who consider education a top priority.  Our Division Director, Dr. Terrance Barrett, is internationally recognized for his expertise in inflammatory bowel disease.  The Program Director, Dr. Alla Grigorian, has a busy research and clinical practice in hepatology and transplantation and also serves as the Medical Director of Liver Transplant.  Dr. Deborah Flomenhoft, the Endoscopy Director, maintains an active clinical and research practice in IBD, focusing on children and adolescents.  And our Advanced Endoscopy Director, Dr. Houssam Mardini, has a busy practice in advanced endoscopy and maintains an active research program in endoscopic outcomes.  All our faculty consistently receive top marks from fellows for their educational skills and enthusiasm. 

The faculty of other Departments strongly impacts any gastroenterology educational experience, and our Division also enjoys excellent collaborative and collegial interactions with these important colleagues, which serve to enhance the educational opportunities for trainees.  These include a dedicated GI pathologist, who conducts a monthly teaching conference as part of our GI Grand Rounds series; an excellent and well-equipped radiology department with physicians who are adept at diagnostic and therapeutic radiologic procedures; and the clinically active Minimally Invasive Surgery Center, whose outstanding surgeons provide superior surgical expertise in all types of laparoscopic procedures.

THE CURRICULUM
Gastroenterology is a specialty which embraces both the difficult intellectual challenges of internal medicine and the gratifying hands-on experiences of endoscopic practice.  Our training program likewise digs deeply into both ends of this spectrum; but regardless of the topic, the educational focus is on critical thinking and decision analysis rather than just current facts and techniques.  On the procedural side, fellows receive abundant experience at all three hospitals, but each has a different style of practice and each a different spectrum of disease.  Fellows completing standard endoscopy training uniformly possess complete facility and comfort in routine procedures, including skills any busy practitioner will need such as hemostasis and gastrostomy. 

But gastroenterology extends well beyond the world of endoscopy, and our trainees receive exhaustive (and sometimes exhausting) instruction in the details of state-of-the-art medical practice.  Hepatology, inflammatory bowel diseases, GI motility, pancreatology – all are covered in the course of the three year curriculum, including both didactic instruction and patient care experience at the bedside.

Our conference schedule has recently been re-vamped to allow a return to the “good old days” when intellectually stimulating teaching presentations were a central part of any academic program.  On Tuesdays, the Core Curriculum Conference is the setting for clinically oriented conferences in endoscopy, hepatology, inflammatory bowel diseases, and GI radiology. GI Grand Rounds on Wednesday mornings includes basic sciences presentations by the faculty, clinical conferences presented by fellows, a stimulating GI journal club with input from our biostatistician, and research talks presented by everyone.  And throughout the year are ad-hoc conferences on practice management, teaching and learning techniques, and quality/safety improvement.

After three years of training, Fellows have been exposed to virtually every corner of GI medicine.   

ACADEMIC FORMATION
We are committed to training the academic physicians of the future, providing those who plan careers in ongoing instruction and scholarship with the tools they need to achieve sustainable and productive careers.  It is a tribute to our ongoing success in this effort that half of our current faculty are graduates of our own training program, and former trainees have found success in other prominent programs around the country.  Currently five of our eleven fellows are pursuing training which will lead to academic careers.  Features of our fellowship program which enable this kind of formation include:

    • Customized training schedules in the second and third years, with protected time for academic pursuits and contiguous block time for research projects as well as course work through the University's Graduate School.
    • Graduate class training through the School of Public Health and other UK Graduate School programs free of charge, leading to a Graduate Certificate, Masters degree, or Ph.D.
    • Collaboration with researchers across the University in a variety of disciplines leading to published scholarly works.
    • Abundant research opportunities in ongoing investigations now underway in collaboration with current faculty, as well as support for fellow-initiated research projects.
    • Intramural funding opportunities for protected time to pursue scholarly work.
    • Opportunities after fellowship completion for additional scholarship in faculty roles which provide a continuity transition from fellowship to full academic faculty status.

Among our current fellows, four are presently enrolled in Graduate School classes (free of charge) which are expected to lead to Masters or Ph.D. degrees.

THE COMMUNITY SETTING
The University of Kentucky, located in Lexington, is in the heart of the Bluegrass State.  With a population of about 300,000, Lexington boasts scenic and quiet neighborhoods, good public and private schools, a low crime rate, and great restaurants and shopping.  Sports excitement can be found at UK basketball and football games and the Keeneland thoroughbred race track. Great outdoor activities abound in Kentucky, from the Daniel Boone National Forest in the mountains of eastern Kentucky to almost countless nearby lakes and rivers.  Simply driving through the countryside surrounding Lexington is an amazing tour of beautiful vistas and historic horse farms. Fellows and their families find living in Lexington to be an enjoyable bonus to the excellent GI training program.

THE RESULT
Exit interviews with finishing gastroenterology fellows consistently find a high level of satisfaction with the quality of the educational experience.   And all gastroenterology trainees completing the program during the last 28 years have achieved Board Certification in gastroenterology by the American Board of Internal Medicine.  GI In-Training Exam scores for the majority of fellows have been in the upper tercile, with many of our fellows scoring at or above the 95% percentiles.  In addition, the program has maintained full accreditation with the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).  At the most recent site visit of the ACGME Residence Review Committee (RRC) in January, 2016, the review committee commended the program for its demonstrated compliance with the ACGME’s requirements for Graduate Medical Education.

TO APPLY, OR FOR MORE INFORMATION
View our brochure with more details by clicking here.

To visit our web page with instructions and information about the application process as well as a time line, click here.

For more information send an e-mail inquiry to:
Maria Richie, GI Fellowship Program Coordinator
Dr. Alla Grigorian, GI Fellowship Program Director

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