Comprehensive training in endoscopic retrograde cholangioscopy (ERCP) and endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) is difficult to achieve within the curriculum of a standard 3-year Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME)–accredited gastroenterology fellowship. ERCP and EUS are technically challenging, operator-dependent procedures that require specialized cognitive, technical, and integrative skills.1-4 A survey of physicians performing ERCP found that only 60% felt “very comfortable” performing the procedure after completion of a standard gastroenterology fellowship.5 Procedural volumes in ERCP and EUS tend to be low among general gastroenterology fellows; in a survey, only 9% and 4.5% of trainees in standard gastrointestinal fellowships had anticipated volumes of more than 200 ERCP and EUS procedures, respectively.6 The unique skills required to safely and effectively perform ERCP and EUS, along with the growing portfolio of therapeutic procedures such as endoscopic mucosal resection (EMR), endoluminal stent placement, deep enteroscopy, advanced closure techniques, bariatric endoscopy, therapeutic EUS, and submucosal endoscopy (including endoscopic submucosal dissection and peroral endoscopic myotomy), has led to the development of dedicated postgraduate advanced endoscopy training programs.7-9
Status of advanced endoscopy training in the United States
Advanced endoscopy fellowships are typically year-long training programs completed at tertiary care centers. Over the last 2 decades, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of advanced endoscopy training positions.9 In 2012, the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy established a match program to standardize the application process (www.asgematch.com).10 Since its inception, there have been approximately 100 applicants per year and 60 participating programs. In the 2018 match, there were 90 advanced endoscopy applicants for 69 positions. Each year, about 20% of graduating gastroenterology fellows apply for advanced endoscopy fellowship, and applicant match rates are approximately 60%.