Entry into the training program occurs in one of two tracks: Clinical or Physician Investigator. Successful completion of either track will allow the trainee to meet requirements for certification in both Pulmonary Diseases and Critical Care Medicine. The Clinical Track is designed to produce top-notch clinicians and is suitable for pulmonologists entering careers community practice or clinical academics. The Physician Investigator Track is available for selected trainees committed to a career in academic medicine and focuses training in either clinical or basic sciences.
The Clinical Track consists of three years of training, during which the fellow rotates among different clinical rotations, as well as having research time and concurrent ambulatory care experience. There are 12 one-month rotation blocks each year. The rotations are designed to provide a mix of medical and non-medical ICU experience, inpatient pulmonary consultation, advanced procedure instruction, outpatient consultation, and exposure to pulmonary subspecialties including cystic fibrosis, interstitial lung diseases, interventional pulmonology, pulmonary hypertension, lung transplant, and sleep disorders.
The Fellowship Program emphasizes ambulatory care as well as inpatient medicine. The first-year fellows have continuity clinic in the University Hospital-affiliated Pulmonary Specialty Clinic. Second- and third-year fellows maintain a weekly continuity clinic at Parkland Memorial Hospital in the Chest Medicine and Sarcoid clinics. Both clinics serve as a point of referral for a variety of chest diseases. In addition, fellows will also see outpatients in the VA Chest Clinic, the University Hospital Sleep & Breathing Disorders Clinic, the Parkland Chest Malignancy Clinic, the University Hospital Heart & Lung Clinic, and the Pulmonary Specialty Clinic, during respective rotations.
Trainees who would like to pursue a career in basic or clinical research may apply for the four-year Physician Investigator Track. The goal of the Physician Investigator Track is to prepare outstanding pulmonary physician investigators. This program provides 18 months of intensive clinical training similar to the three-year Clinical Track, followed by two and a half years of research training with greatly reduced clinical effort.
Research training on this track is supported by our NIH T32 training grant, which allows fellows to select from a large, deep pool of experienced mentors drawn from 13 different departments and centers. These mentors provide expertise in a broad array of fields including lipid and protein chemistry, human genetics and genomics, cytoskeletal and matrix biology, signal transduction, endothelial biology and angiogenesis, innate immunity, microbiology, developmental biology, pulmonary physiology, epidemiology, outcomes studies, and investigator-initiated clinical trials.
Fellows may choose either patient-oriented or basic laboratory-based projects, but will be fully committed to training in their chosen area. Each trainee will have a customized advisory committee, ideally consisting of the track head and one basic and one clinical investigator to broaden perspective, dually anchor projects in both science and clinical relevance, expand available resources, and foster bench-to-bedside thinking. Our mentors include one Nobel Laureate, three members of the National Academy of Sciences, and four Howard Hughes investigators.
The structured program includes training in current technology, effective communication, research ethics, and scientific reasoning. Course work from the Graduate School's Division of Basic Sciences or Division of Clinical Sciences is encouraged and paid for. Thematically, four training tracks are offered: pulmonary vascular disease; interstitial lung disease; inflammation and immunity; and lung epithelial cell and differentiation disorders.