The New Gastroenterologist

Neurogastroenterology and motility fellowships


 

How to apply

Advanced training in neurogastroenterology and motility is currently a non-ACGME pathway and does not offer a match process for its applicants. After identifying a program of interest, one can find specific instructions on how to apply at the programs’ websites. Typically the process involves reaching out to the program director, writing a letter of interest or personal statement, providing letters of recommendation, and interviewing. Each program has some variability in what is required and attention should be paid to the criteria listed on the specific website.

My experience

I was fortunate to have substantial exposure to esophageal motility in my general gastroenterology fellowship. Gaining this experience was invaluable and laid the foundation for my interest in neurogastroenterology and motility, and, specifically, esophageal dysmotility. My interest in neurogastroenterology and motility then collided with my desire to pursue a career in academics. Knowing the general trajectory for my future career, I began exploring the possibility of undergoing an additional 1-year fellowship early in my second year of GI fellowship. I worked closely with my program director to help define my future goals and to identify available places that would help me attain those goals. While I continued to have an interest in the esophagus, additional training in neurogastroenterology and motility would broaden my understanding and enhance my ability to manage complex patients and perform research at a tertiary care center. I investigated the different neurogastroenterology and motility fellowship programs online and followed the online application instructions. Utilizing national gastroenterology society conferences as networking opportunities, I was able to meet with the program director of my current neurogastroenterology and motility fellowship. In my third year of general gastroenterology fellowship I formally interviewed with the motility group at Johns Hopkins and was later accepted into the neurogastroenterology and motility fellowship program.

Now, nearing the end of my 1-year neurogastroenterology and motility fellowship, I reflect on my extremely positive experience. Throughout the course of the year I have been able to work with multiple GI providers — each with their own area of expertise within the field. There has been a profound exposure to a wide variety of patients with a spectrum of motility conditions covering the entire GI tract. There has been ample opportunity to read motility studies with the guidance and support of the motility faculty to further enhance my skills. The additional year has broadened my exposure to, and the management of, the biopsychosocial aspect of this specific patient population. In line with that, I have had the ability to grow with regard to my use of pharmacology and recognize which symptom might benefit from a particular neuromodulator. An emphasis was also placed on learning the gut-brain axis, and, through multidisciplinary clinics, I worked closely with other disciplines such as psychiatry and GI clinical psychology. Furthermore, the additional year has allowed me to be involved in several research projects within neurogastroenterology and motility that will undoubtedly enhance my future career.

Conclusion

Deciding to pursue an additional year in neurogastroenterology and motility has been one that has helped to give a solid direction to my budding career. It has left me confident in managing this diverse and complex patient population and has helped prepare me for a career in academic gastroenterology. For those who are interested in academic neurogastroenterology and motility, an additional fellowship can help define you as a gastroenterologist and help you to pursue the career of your dreams.

Dr. Sloan is a clinical instructor in the division of gastroenterology at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore.

References

1. Peery A. et al. Burden of gastrointestinal, liver, and pancreatic disease in the United States. Gastroenterology 2015;149:1731-41.e3.

2. Rao S., Parkman H. Advanced training in neurogastroenterology and gastrointestinal motility. Gastroenterology 2015;148:881-5.

3. American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, American College of Gastroenterology, American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) Institute, and American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy. The gastroenterology core curriculum, third edition. Gastroenterology 2007;132:2012-18.

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