The New Gastroenterologist

Advanced training options in inflammatory bowel disease


There is no centralized application process and prospective applicants should reach out to their program directors and mentors regarding guidance, as well as program directors of specific training programs to learn more about these programs, generally in the second half of their gastroenterology training. The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation maintains a list of fellowship training programs and appropriate contacts. In choosing a specific program, prospective fellows should consider the rigor and diversity of training, balance between service and scholarship, mentorship opportunities as well as the experience and outcomes of previous fellows in the program. Besides formal interviews at prospective program, fellows should utilize the networking opportunities afforded through the American Gastroenterological Association (both with senior faculty as well as through the Trainee and Early-Career Committee), the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation as well as other organizations in learning more about programs.

Table 2. Summary of major advanced training options in IBDs

Visiting IBD Fellow Program: Clinical observership, through the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation

The Visiting IBD Fellow Program – with the support of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation – which launched in 2006, arose from the need for immersive training in IBD, especially for fellows for whom IBD exposure may be limited. In this 1-month “observership,” interested 2nd and 3rd year fellows get the opportunity to observe faculty at a high-volume, multidisciplinary IBD Center of Excellence. Besides providing additional knowledge and expertise in the field, this also allows fellows the chance to understand how IBD Centers are set up, so they may seek to replicate similar models as local or regional IBD experts. Currently, 12 centers participate in this program. There is no cost to the fellows who are selected to participate, and all travel expenses and lodging are covered. The program significantly improved the fellows’ knowledge, skills, and attitudes toward IBD and has steadily gained in popularity, with more than 60-80 applicants for 10-20 positions per year (depending on funding). In addition to the clinical exposure, this experience also facilitates networking with faculty and other fellows at participating institutions. Full details of this program can be accessed from the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation website.

A similar, expenses-paid, abbreviated 3-day program of IBD preceptorship has been launched for advanced practice providers (qualified advanced-practice nurses, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants). This program provides preceptee exposure to medical, surgical, outpatient, and inpatient experiences with patients at a leading academic IBD center.

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