The UCLA Vatche and Tamar Manoukian Division of Digestive Diseases is recognized worldwide for the unparalleled diagnosis, treatment, and research aimed at combating debilitating and deadly disorders affecting the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.
The UCLA Fellowship Program in digestive diseases produces experts in every facet of clinical gastroenterology, hepatology, and related research. It is among the largest program of its kind in the nation, with 21 fellows receiving training at any time, along with more than 60 full-time faculty members.
The core training includes a minimum of 18 months of clinical rotations and a weekly continuity clinic for the duration of the fellowship. This schedule meets or exceeds the requirements mandated by the American College of Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) and American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM). Our program is fully accredited by the ACGME and received a maximum 5-year accreditation with a commendation on our last accreditation cycle.
The clinical training component typically takes place over three years, during which fellows are immersed in intensive hospital-based and outpatient rotations in gastroenterology and hepatology. These rotations ensure a diversity of clinical presentations and patient populations. Additionally, they provide every fellow with equal exposure to the faculty and their research interests. Extensive endoscopic experience is also provided during this time as well as in the third year and beyond for fellows accepted to an advanced endoscopy training program.
The centerpiece for didactic instruction is a weekly two-hour core curriculum seminar series. It is a dynamic, interdisciplinary program that features lectures from internationally recognized authorities in GI disorders and hepatology. This series is augmented by inviting lecturers from partner disciplines such as surgery, nutrition, pediatrics, molecular biology and physiology. Visiting professors from other national and international centers of excellence also give presentations; approximately 4-6 visiting professors come to UCLA annually, and the series culminates each spring with a keynote lecture by the Schwabe-Walsh Visiting Professor, from input by the fellows and faculty.
In addition to the primary clinical training, and in keeping with the division's mandate to train leaders in digestive diseases, fellows are required to pursue research and intellectual creativity in any relevant area of their choosing. Basic science, translational and clinical disciplines are well-represented. Minimal training can be accomplished in three years, but individual research may require longer periods (when meeting masters of science in clinical research [MSCR} and PhD-degree requirements).
Fellows pursue academic training in one of two well-defined tracks: (1) Research Scholar Track, and (2) Clinical Scholar Track.
The research scholar track is a 3-5 year track with 75% guaranteed protected time during each year after the first year. Fellows in this track complete all the ACGME-required clinical training (18 months) and then focus on obtaining an advanced degree, conducting focused research with a mentor, and obtaining unique research and methodological skills. There are renowned GI research programs that provide research opportunities, resources and direct mentorship for the follows. Research fellows are strongly encouraged to apply for the UCLA Specialty Training and Advanced Research (STAR) Program at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA which is a unique program designed for optimal training of physician-scientists. The STAR Program offers the opportunity to combine clinical fellowship with formal, advanced research training and mentorship. Support for the research scholar track comes through various sources, including STAR and the UCLA Training Grant. The research scholar track optimally culminates in receipt of a Career Development Award from the NIH (e.g. K08, K23), VA (e.g. CSR&D, HSR&D), or a GI Society (e.g. AGA, ACG, ASGE); placement in an academic position is the desired expected outcome. Of the past 30 Fellows matriculating through the research scholar track over the past decade, 17 are currently members of an academic GI faculty.
The clinical scholars track is a 36-month fellowship with a focus on developing top clinicians with an interest in critical thinking, the scientific process, and clinical research. This track includes 18 months of core clinical requirements, 10-12 months of senior rotations and electives tailored to research interest and career goals, and 4-6 months of research with directed mentorship, culminating in published abstracts and manuscripts. The goal of the clinical scholar track is to graduate fellows into clinical academic positions in University-based GI divisions.