Program Information

Fellowship Leadership

An Educational Committee consisting of five faculty members and two senior fellows provides guidance and oversight to our fellowship program. The committee is responsible for overseeing the academic aspects of the program, including the structure of rotations, electives, didactic activities, and recruitment.

The members of the Educational Committee are:

Our program also has a Clinical Competence Committee that is in charge of reviewing evaluations and the progress of all of our fellows. The committee is also responsible for preparing the semiannual milestones evaluations of each fellow for the ACGME and providing advice to the training directors regarding a fellow’s progress, including recommendations for promotion.

In addition, each fellow has a Scholarly Oversight Committee that provides support and guidance in the development of the individual scholarly activity. This committee consists of three or more UTSW faculty members, including the fellow’s primary research mentor, in order to allow for a broader perspective for overall career guidance.

Learn more about the three main elements of our program below.

Curriculum

First Fellowship Year

The emphasis of the first year is acquiring knowledge and clinical skills in gastroenterology, hepatology, and nutrition.

Fellows participate in rotations on the Gastroenterology Inpatient Unit, the Hepatology Inpatient Unit, and the Consult Service. Fellows have six weeks of call-free elective time during the first year. During these weeks, fellows can select from a host of specialty elective programs, including Liver Transplant Clinic, Hepatology Clinic, Intestinal Rehabilitation Clinic, Inflammatory Bowel Disease Clinic, Cystic Fibrosis Clinic, and Motility Clinic. Additionally, interested fellows can gain exposure to specialized procedures in ERCP, endoscopic ultrasound, and motility studies.  Fellows also have two research elective weeks during the first year in order to explore potential research options and mentors for their focused academic endeavor.

Continuity Clinics

The outpatient clinics provide the Pediatric Gastroenterology Fellow with the unique opportunity to follow a cohort of patients longitudinally. Special efforts are made to provide a variety of patients with chronic and acute gastrointestinal, hepatic, and nutritional disorders within each fellow’s clinic. Fellows, under the guidance of a clinic mentor, are primarily responsible for the care of their patients. During this weekly clinic, fellows develop their clinical skills and emphasize the importance of continuity of care. A support team consisting of dietitians, psychologists, and nurse practitioners provides the fellow’s clinic with comprehensive and integrated care for each patient.

Procedures

The fellowship program benefits from an active therapeutic endoscopy program with a busy endoscopy suite. The overall volume of our practice ensures that all fellows will be competent and proficient in core procedures such as upper endoscopy, colonoscopy, polypectomy, esophageal dilatation, liver biopsy, gastrostomy tube placement, rectal suction biopsy, and therapies for gastrointestinal bleeding, including banding, sclerotherapy, cautery, and clips. Fellows also have exposure to esophageal impedance monitoring, pneumatic dilatation, esophageal manometry, anorectal manometry, capsule endoscopy, endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography, balloon enteroscopy, and endoscopic ultrasound.

Specialty Electives

Many opportunities exist to participate in electives during fellowship training. Selected electives outside of the core requirements may require approval by the Fellowship Training Director. Electives at other academic institutions are also available but require the additional approval of the Division Director and the Chairman of the Department of Pediatrics. 

Cystic Fibrosis

Faculty: Meghana Sathe, M.D.
Duration: 1 – 4 weeks

This elective will expose fellows to the multidisciplinary care offered to patients with cystic fibrosis. It consists of didactic sessions and direct patient contact in order for fellows to better appreciate and understand the essential role of gastroenterology in the care of this special population of patients. 

Intestinal Rehabilitation

Faculty:  Nandini Channabasappa, M.D.
Duration 1 – 4 weeks

This elective will provide fellows the opportunity to work in the multidisciplinary Intestinal Rehabilitation Clinic with gastroenterology, pediatric surgery, and clinical nutrition in the outpatient setting. Fellows will gain additional in-depth knowledge of parenteral nutrition (TPN) management, care of children with ostomies and gastrostomytubes, and specialized enteral nutrition approaches.

Liver Transplantation

Faculty: Amal Aqul, M.D.
Duration: 1 – 4 weeks

This elective will provide fellows with additional training in the care, evaluation, and management of patients before and after liver transplantation. Fellows will participate in outpatient liver pathology conferences and multidisciplinary conferences such as the weekly patient care meeting in which the listing of pre-transplant patients is determined.

Motility Disorders

Faculty: Rinarani Sanghavi, M.D.
Duration: 1 – 4 weeks

This elective will allow fellows to learn about the evaluation and management of children with motility disorders followed in the Motility Clinic. Fellows will learn the basic principles of manometry, participate in the placement of manometry catheters, and learn how to interpret manometry studies.

Nutrition Elective

Faculty: Norberto Rodríguez-Báez, M.D., and Meghana Sathe, M.D.
Duration: 1 – 4 weeks

This elective will assist fellows in better understanding the special nutritional needs of patients with inflammatory bowel disease, liver disease, intestinal failure, renal disease, cystic fibrosis, and obesity. Fellows will have the opportunity to learn pediatric nutrition through formal didactic activities and benefit from direct interaction with specialized dietitians and faculty members who focus on nutrition in these areas.

Pancreatobiliary Diseases                                                                  

Faculty: Bradley Barth, M.D.
Duration: 1 – 4 weeks

This elective allows the fellow to learn about the evaluation and management of children with pancreatobiliary diseases followed in the Pancreatobiliary Clinic. Fellows will learn the basic principles and indications for ERCP and endoscopic ultrasound.

Research

Faculty: Norberto Rodríguez-Báez, M.D.
Duration: 2 weeks

This elective, done in collaboration with UTSW research mentors, is designed to assist fellows in selecting and developing a research project/scholarly activity for their last two years of training.

Therapeutic Endoscopy Elective

Faculty: Bradley Barth, M.D.
Duration: 1 – 4 weeks

This elective will provide fellows with additional training and skills-enhancing experience in endoscopic techniques, including endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography, balloon enteroscopy, and endoscopic ultrasound.

Second and Third Fellowship Years

Fellows will focus on a basic science project or clinical project during the subsequent 2 years of fellowship to meet the ACGME requirements for a scholarly activity. For basic science projects, emphasis is given to experimental design, acquiring laboratory skills, and understanding the pathway for success as a physician-scientist. For clinical investigation, emphasis is focused on the development of skills for a successful career in patient-oriented research. Both areas emphasize acquiring skills in scientific presentation, writing abstracts and manuscripts, and grant development. Research mentorship is not confined to the Pediatric Gastroenterology Division but may come from other areas at UTSW and our affiliate centers to suit the interests of the fellows.

There are several training tracks within our program:

Clinical Track

This track is geared toward fellows who wish to become academic clinicians as well as clinical educators and develop expertise in a specific area within gastroenterology. After the first year, the fellow will have the opportunity to focus on a particular clinical area such as inflammatory bowel disease, pancreatobiliary diseases, therapeutic endoscopy, motility, nutrition, cystic fibrosis, or liver disease. The fellow will engage in a clinical research project within that area of interest and work to develop the specialized skills in the selected field.

Cystic Fibrosis Track

This unique track is designed to provide an environment enriched in opportunities to develop CF-related research for a fellow interested in CF care and research. Both a pediatric gastroenterologist and a pediatric pulmonologist provide the leadership of our CF Center. Several active research programs on campus are focused on aspects of CF, including nutrition, hormones, role of neutrophils, lung disease, and new and novel therapeutics correcting the genetic mutations involved in CF. This track offers the opportunity to apply for a CF Foundation Fellowship grant to support both clinical and research endeavors throughout fellowship and beyond.

Master in Clinical Science Track

Intended for fellows interested in a career in clinical/translational research, this track allows the fellow the opportunity to complete a Master in Clinical Science. Graduates from this track will be equipped for and expected to apply for both internal and external grant funding (e.g., NIH K12, NIH K23, R21, etc.). Participation in this program requires the approval of both the Division Director and the Chairman of the Department of Pediatrics.

Research Track

This track is aimed to train fellows to become independent physician-scientists in gastroenterology, nutrition, or hepatology. After the first year of clinical rotations, the fellow will focus on a specific area of basic research under the guidance of an established UTSW faculty member and scholarship oversight committee. Although most of a fellow’s time will be devoted to laboratory research in this track, the fellow will continue to care for patients in the weekly outpatient clinic.

National Meetings and Training Grants

All of our fellows are encouraged to submit and present their research at local, regional, and national meetings. Many of our fellows have presented both poster and oral presentations and have received multiple awards and financial support for their research activities.

The fellowship program is supported by several training grants, including:

  • National Institutes of Health (NIH) T32, in conjunction with our adult GI colleagues
  • Departmental NIH NICHD-sponsored K12 award
  • Disease-Oriented Clinical Scholars (DOCS) program
  • Cystic Fibrosis Foundation-sponsored Clinical Fellowship training grant

The program also has reserved fellowship slots for M.D./Ph.D. candidates as part of the Department’s Physician-Scientist Training Program (PSTP) in Pediatrics (PSTP2). The PSTP2 allows qualified candidates to receive training in pediatrics at UTSW and Children’s Medical Center for two years followed by clinical and research training in the Pediatric Gastroenterology Fellowship program. The program also fosters transition to a junior faculty appointment through several ongoing support mechanisms.

Didactic Activities

Our fellows actively participate in ongoing didactic activities within our Division. The teaching activities are designed to provide a comprehensive educational program for fellows with an emphasis on the integration of clinical practice, scientific knowledge, and scholarly activities.

National

We make sure that all of our fellows have the opportunity to attend and participate in the North American Society of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition (NASPGHAN) Fellow’s Conferences. As a program, we are very committed to supporting NASPGHAN and its educational activities, which represent opportunities to network and develop relationships that will be important throughout a fellow’s career. Dr. Norberto Rodríguez-Baez is the Chair of the NASPGHAN Training Committee (2016-2017). Additionally, we are proud to have many of our faculty participate, organize, and lead these conferences:  

  • Dr. Bradley Barth (NASPGHAN Third-Year Fellows Conference and Hands-On Endoscopy course – 2013, 2014; Faculty NASPGHAN 2nd Year Fellows Conference 2017)
  • Dr. Norberto Rodríguez-Báez (NASPGHAN First-Year Fellows Conference – 2013, 2014, Co-Chair 2015, Chair 2016, Mentor 2017-2019; NASPGHAN 2nd Year Fellows Conference 2017-2019)
  • Dr. Meghana Sathe (NASPGHAN First-Year Fellows Conference – 2015 and 2016, selected as Co-Chair for 2017 and as Chair for 2018)

We also encourage our fellows to participate in NASPGHAN’s other national conferences, as well as those of other organizations, such as the annual meeting of the AASLD (American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases), the NACFC (North American Cystic Fibrosis Conference), DDW (Digestive Diseases Week), the Society of Pediatric Research (SPR) annual meeting, and the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting.

Intradepartmental

Joint GI and Surgery Conference

Held in collaboration with the Department of Surgery, this conference focuses on both medical and surgical diagnosis and treatment options for common pediatric disorders. 

Joint GI and Urology Conference

This conference occurs in collaboration with the Department of Urology and focuses on medical and surgical diagnosis and management for genitourinary and gastrointestinal disorders.

Nutrition Conference

This conference is conducted in collaboration with our Nutrition Department and focuses on understanding the pathophysiology of disease processes that result in inherent nutritional challenges. First- and second-year fellows organize this conference in conjunction with the clinical dietitians.

Pathology Conferences

This conference provides a review of recent common and unusual gastrointestinal and hepatic pathology cases. Second-year fellows select the cases, and a dedicated pediatric pathologist leads the conference.

Pediatric/Adult Combined Conference

At this yearly conference, an invited pediatrics or adult-disease-focused speaker outside of the Medical Center provides teaching for this joint audience. The presentation is followed by a case discussion led by either a pediatric fellow in conjunction with an adult GI attending or an adult-disease-focused fellow in conjunction with a pediatric GI attending.

Radiology Conference

This conference is a discussion of radiological studies related to gastroenterology and hepatology. Second-year fellows select the cases in conjunction with a radiologist.

Research Conferences

This is a series of conferences in which fellows and faculty members share their ongoing research projects throughout the year. Second- and third-year fellows participate in this conference to introduce their research projects, obtain ongoing guidance, and practice for presentations at national meetings.

Special Endowed Lectures

The Division hosts several ongoing endowed lectures throughout the year. The events are opportunities to bring outstanding national leaders in the fields of gastroenterology and hepatology to UTSW for state-of-the-art clinical and research presentations, discussions with the faculty and fellows, and sharing of educational and training perspectives.

  • The annual Willis C. Maddrey, M.D. Liver Lecture
  • The annual Gary C. Morchower, M.D. Lectureship in Pediatric Gastroenterology

Departmental

Department of Pediatrics Research Day

This research retreat takes place twice a year on a Saturday morning. It is amazing forum in which faculty and fellows from all the divisions in the Department of Pediatrics gather to share and celebrate the research endeavors being pursued in pediatrics. The conference spotlights a renowned guest lecturer and features speakers from our own faculty. Many of our faculty members have presented at this conference, including Dr. Drew Feranchak, Dr. Edaire Cheng, Dr. Luis Sifuentes, and Dr. Charina Ramirez.

Departmental Fellows Conference

This ongoing course provides an opportunity to interact with fellows and faculty from other disciplines in the Department of Pediatrics. In addition, the program hosts core lectures and forums in ethics, statistics, designing and implementing clinical research, and career development. This conference culminates in a Research Day in May, when all of the third-year fellows present their research projects. Notably, since this course was established, at least one of our pediatric GI fellows has won the “top 5 presentations award”  each year at UTSW’s annual campus-wide gatherings of fellows.

Grand Rounds

One of the mainstays of the Department of Pediatrics is its Grand Rounds held every Wednesday morning. It is an opportunity for attendings and faculty from outside UTSW to share up-to-date, evidence-based medicine practices and groundbreaking research.

Multidisciplinary Conference

This unique conference is held every Tuesday at noon and features a group of faculty from different disciplines sharing their experience with unknown and challenging cases, morbidity and mortality reports, and quality improvement and practice guideline developments.

Divisional

Board Review

This once-a-week, fellow-run conference provides a systematic review of pertinent gastrointestinal, hepatic, and nutritional topics from the leading textbooks in the field in preparation for the Pediatric Gastroenterology Board exam. Fellowship directors provide support and supervision. Notably, UT Southwestern has had a 100 percent passage rate for first-time takers of this exam.

Core Curriculum

This attending-led review of core gastrointestinal, hepatology, and nutrition topics focuses on anatomy and pathophysiology as well as diagnosis and management of common disease processes.

Journal Club Conference

This conference is a critical review of pertinent medical literature and journal articles by topics, conducted in the form of a debate to engage and encourage active participation of fellows and faculty. 

Liver Transplant Meeting

This multidisciplinary conference is held weekly to discuss pre- and post-liver transplant patients.

Monday Morning Case Conference

This is a presentation by fellows, faculty, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, residents, and rotating students on a specific outpatient or inpatient clinical question that is investigated through a systematic review of evidence-based medicine.

Morbidity and Mortality Conference

In this conference, participants review specific cases and critically analyze those with the most challenging particulars in order to improve the standard of care.

Quality Improvement Conference

Fellows in this conference present in clinic teams, addressing a particular quality-improvement question. The conference involves a retrospective review of the particular practice, a survey of current practice behaviors, and an in-depth literature review.  Each fellow’s clinic team presents one conference per year.

Teaching

Teaching is an important component of our training program, which aims to give our fellows the skills they need to become lifelong teachers to others. In addition to leading inpatient rounds under the guidance of a GI attending, our fellows take part in many ongoing teaching activities, and the pediatric house staff has repeatedly recognized our fellows for their outstanding devotion to patient care and medical education. Several of our faculty have won UTSW teaching awards, including Dr. John Andersen and Dr. Norberto Rodríguez-Báez. Our fellows have also consistently won teaching awards from the medical students and residents. 

Fellows also have the opportunity to actively participate in education of patients and families through different programs, such as a Family Education Night for patients with inflammatory bowel disease and Cystic Fibrosis Information Time (CFIT).

As second- and third-year fellows, they have the opportunity to attend Camp Oasis, a camp for pediatric patients with Crohn’s disease and colitis. At the camp, fellows serve as medical staff under camp Medical Director Dr. Ashish Patel. In addition to participating in the care of these patients, fellows also teach them to navigate the medical world as they grow into young adults. For fellows, it’s both a unique opportunity to interact with patients with a chronic illness and a learning opportunity that they’ll continue to cherish throughout their careers.

We are very proud that our program has a 100 percent passing rate for all first-time takers of the Pediatric Gastroenterology Board Certification exam. We also take pride in having developed many successful academic physicians practicing in major academic centers in the United States, both on clinical and research tracks, and participating in significant leadership roles within NASPGHAN and other medical societies.