The New Gastroenterologist

Advanced training options in inflammatory bowel disease


Visiting IBD Research Fellowship Program, through the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation

The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation recently launched a new, short-term, mentored research initiative designed to promote career advancement for talented junior investigators dedicated to IBD research, and to enable knowledge-sharing among leaders in the IBD field. The Foundation encourages outstanding young scientists (postdoctoral studies in the first 3 years of their fellowship), who would like to expand their expertise in IBD research to participate in this short-term research training, carried out in a cutting-edge, NIH-funded laboratory under the mentorship of a leader in IBD research. This all-expense covered 3-12 week rotation provides mentorship and technical training in a state-of-the-art research lab relevant to IBD, with an emphasis on preclinical research most closely relevant to human disease. Details of the program can be found on the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation website.

IBD Xcel

In 2013, Cornerstones Health, a nonprofit medical education organization, launched a 2-day program dedicated to advances in the field of IBD for junior gastroenterologists within 5 years of completion of their fellowship training. The program includes a didactic component as well as close interaction with a number of IBD experts, small-group discussions about difficult cases, and recent journal articles, as well as career-development advice. The education component is free of cost to selected participants, though travel and housing expenses are not covered.

Dr. Siddharth Singh of the University of California, San Diego

Dr. Siddharth Singh

Besides these dedicated advanced training opportunities, there are major conferences that cover IBD extensively and exclusively. These include the annual Crohn’s and Colitis Congress® conducted jointly by the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation and the American Gastroenterological Association, the annual Advances in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases through Imedex, the annual European Crohn’s and Colitis Congress, the American College of Gastroenterology’s IBD School, as well as several regional courses conducted throughout the country. In terms of networking opportunities for gastroenterology fellows interested in IBD and junior faculty, REACH-IBD (Rising Educators, Academicians and Clinicians Helping Inflammatory Bowel Disease), founded under the auspices of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation in 2013, provides a unique resource. This group is open to all clinical fellows, postdoctoral scientists, and junior faculty (pediatric and adult; medical and surgical specialties, as well as PhDs) less than 7 years out of training with a rank not higher than assistant professor. The mission is to facilitate networking and career development for clinical fellows, postdoctoral scientists, and junior faculty with an interest in IBD; increase active participation of our members in the clinical, educational, scientific, and research programs within the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation; and foster collaborative research among our members within the Foundation. The group organizes specific breakout events at the Digestive Disease Week® and the annual Crohn’s and Colitis Congress, covering diverse topics such as setting up an IBD practice, funding opportunities, paper and grant writing, career advancement guidance. More information on this can be found on the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation website.

To summarize, there are numerous opportunities of varying lengths to receive training in inflammatory bowel diseases. This exciting field is expanding at a rapid pace, and instead of limiting management to dedicated IBD Centers of Excellence, there is clear need for effective dissemination of new management approaches and incorporation of quality measures will likely raise the bar for all patients and physicians who care for them.

AGA offers IBD education

Check out AGA’s on-demand IBD education available in AGA University.

Dr. Singh is assistant professor of medicine, division of gastroenterology, University of California, San Diego. He is supported by the American College of Gastroenterology and Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, has received research grants from Pfizer and AbbVie, and consulting fees from AbbVie, Takeda, and AMAG Pharmaceuticals.

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