The New Gastroenterologist

Gastroenterology debuts editorial fellowship program


The readership of Gastroenterology includes a broad distribution of stakeholders in digestive health, including those with vested interests in clinical practice, education, policy, clinical investigation, and basic research. One of our most critical constituencies, however, is trainees and early-career GIs. In an effort to support such individuals, our editorial team has developed a freshly minted 1-year editorial fellowship for Gastroenterology. The overarching purpose of this fellowship is to mentor an outstanding trainee for future editorial leadership roles in scientific publishing, as a means to promote the interests of trainee and early-career GI constituencies within the AGA and Gastroenterology. This fellowship is available to exceptional second- or third-year fellows through an application process. The intent of this training is to allow the selected applicant to become intimately involved with Gastroenterology’s entire editorial process, including peer review, editorial oversight, manuscript selection for publication, production, and postpublication activities. Our first fellow, Eric Shah, MD, MBA, was selected from a highly competitive pool of exceptional applicants, and began his fellowship on July 1, 2017.

Dr. Richard M. Peek Jr.

Dr. Richard M. Peek Jr.

To successfully achieve the goals of the program, there are specific responsibilities of the fellowship. These include: 1) Attending (via teleconference or in person) the weekly Board of Editors (BOE) meeting wherein preliminary decisions are discussed and final decisions for manuscripts determined; 2) Conducting peer reviews of submitted manuscripts under the direct supervision of an associate editor; 3) Attending periodic meetings with one or more members of the Gastroenterology BOE, who provide close mentoring as he or she learns more about the responsibilities of the peer-review process; 4) Authoring one to two submissions to Gastroenterology’s “Clinical Challenges and Images in GI” or “Practical Teaching Cases” sections during the term of the fellowship; 5) Attending the in-person BOE annual meeting held during Digestive Disease Week; 6) Authoring a commentary for publication in The New Gastroenterologist, which disseminates information and lessons learned to further aid other trainees and early-career GIs; and 7) Providing special services for Gastroenterology, as assigned by the editors in chief.

Dr. Eric Shah AGA Institute

Dr. Eric Shah

This year, we have been delighted to work with Dr. Shah as our inaugural Gastroenterology fellow. Dr. Shah has a unique background, having pursued a joint MD and MBA (earning both concurrently), while also following venture-oriented interests in developing GI technology from academia. Dr. Shah began his research career under the mentorship of Mark Pimentel, MD, and Gil Melmed, MD, at Cedars-Sinai as part of a Research Honors Program. Since that time, he has focused on evaluating the comparative efficacy, durability, and harm associated with pharmacotherapy in functional bowel disorders. Dr. Shah was accepted into the GI fellowship training program at the University of Michigan and received a slot on the T32 training grant to study cost-effectiveness and qualitative research techniques to address gaps in the care of functional bowel disorders. His work under the mentorship of William Chey, MD, Ryan Stidham, MD, and Philip S. Schoenfeld, MD, has flourished and culminated in an oral presentation and several posters for DDW 2017, as well as several first-author manuscripts that have been submitted. Dr. Shah has fully embraced the Gastroenterology fellowship and has far surpassed our high expectations for this position.
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In addition to creating an editorial fellowship, our team has also developed other components within the journal that specifically target trainees and early-career GIs. The Mentoring, Education and Training section – initiated in 2011 through the vision and insight of Bishr Omary MD, PhD, and John Del Valle, MD, at the University of Michigan – has been extremely effective in highlighting critical issues relevant to trainees, young faculty, and early-career GIs. Topics have included mentoring advice not only for individuals in academic or private practice careers but also industry careers and midlevel providers. Other topics have included Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education milestones, career advancement for clinician-educators, sex and ethnic diversity, and maintenance of certification, as well as guidance regarding nontraditional funding mechanisms such as philanthropy. Potential future topics will include information about major new public and private funding initiatives, comments and input from National Institutes of Health officials, and reports of funding trends relevant to both physician scientists and clinicians. We are fortunate to have Prateek Sharma, MD, lead this section, and his depth of experience as an exceptional mentor has provided the requisite expertise.

Additionally, we offer a reduction in page charges to junior investigators (within 7 years of fellowship) who are the corresponding authors of exceedingly important original Gastroenterology manuscripts. These manuscripts from junior investigators will be highlighted in both print and online versions of Gastroenterology. We are using the journal to expand electronic access to educational offerings for new technologies, training, self-assessment, and practice improvement to establish the AGA as the ultimate resource for junior academicians and practicing physicians. We are also currently integrating Gastroenterology more closely into other AGA educational efforts that target young physicians, such as the AGA Education and Training Committee.

At Gastroenterology, we are acutely aware of the needs and obstacles facing trainees, young faculty, and early-career GIs. We have boldly adopted a multidimensional approach to provide guidance and opportunities to overcome these challenges, including the creation of the nascent Editorial Fellowship. We welcome applications for the next fellowship, which will be announced by the AGA in the spring of 2018!

Dr. Peek is the Mina Wallace Professor of Medicine, Cancer Biology, and Pathology, Microbiology, and Immunology, and director, division of gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tenn. He has no conflicts of interest.

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