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Fellowship Programs

Gastroenterology chief Dr. Kenneth Chang on rounds at UC Irvine Douglas HospitalUC Irvine's Division of Gastroenterology offers a highly competitive, multidisciplinary fellowship program that involves the School of Medicine's departments of medicine, pathology, physiology, radiology and surgery.

The fully accredited three-year program prepares fellows for careers in clinical and academic gastroenterology. Fellows also undertake a investigation in a defined area of either laboratory-based or clinical research as part of the program, which enjoys a long-standing national and international reputation for training excellence.

At the end of the program, fellows are eligible for board certification in gastroenterology.

Gastroenterology Fellowship Overview »

UC Irvine’s Gastroenterology Fellowship is designed to train physicians to become excellent clinicians, educators and scientists in gastroenterology. It is a 3 year fellowship training program led by Dr. Nimisha Parekh and Dr. Robert Lee, program director and associate program director.

Through a combination of clinical work, conferences and lectures, and clinical research, the gastroenterology program provides fellows with outstanding training in all aspects of clinical gastroenterology and hepatology.

 

Specifically, the program attempts to:

  • Provide a relevant foundation and knowledge in the anatomy, physiology, pathophysiology, and pharmacology of gastroenterology & hepatology
  • Provide extensive training in clinical gastroenterology (general GI, IBD, motility, GI bleeding) and hepatology
  • Provide extensive training in endoscopy
  • Provide training in clinical research that promotes the future career plans of fellows
  • Foster interdepartmental interactions in support of programs for gastrointestinal malignancies, inflammatory bowel disease, bariatric surgery, and hepatobiliary and pancreas surgery etc.
  • Promote compassionate and humanistic communication skills
  • Encourage and foster lifelong learning

 

We take 4 fellows every year into the program for a total of 12 fellows.  Training takes place at the UC Irvine Health H.H. Chao Comprehensive Digestive Disease Center (CDDC) at the UC Irvine Medical Center, and the VA Long Beach Healthcare System.

 

UC Irvine and H.H. Chao Comprehensive Digestive Disease Center

UC Irvine Health comprises the clinical, medical education and research enterprises of the University of California, Irvine.  UC Irvine Medical Center is an acute care hospital providing tertiary and quaternary care.  It is the primary teaching location for UC Irvine Health School of Medicine.  It serves a region of more than 3 million people in Orange County, western Riverside County and southeast Los Angeles County.  UC Irvine Health is the only University-based academic medical center in Orange County and educates more than 400 medical students and trains more than 800 residents and employs more than 8,000 faculty, staff and residents.  UCI Irvine Health Cardiovascular Center is a state-of-the-art academic cardiovascular program

The CDDC, opened in August 2017, provides state-of-the-art care to patients with digestive diseases. This 3-story facility features 4 general GI endoscopy suites, 6 interventional endoscopy suites, pre and post procedure recovery units, multidisciplinary clinics and conference space. There is a classroom for fellow conferences and multiple work rooms for fellows. In recent years the division has continued to see substantial growth. We have provided over 17,500 clinic visits and done over 17,000 procedures yearly.

 

UCI Health and the H.H. Chao Comprehensive Digestive Disease Center holds an Annual Gastroenterology & Hepatology Symposium.  All fellows are encouraged to attend. Activities include patient-centered clinical updates, hands-on training in our state-of-the-art interventional procedure suites, live streaming case demonstrations with real time Q&A, and networking reception with faculty and industry leaders.

VA Long Beach Healthcare System

The Veterans Health Administration is America’s largest integrated health care system.  VA Long Beach Healthcare System serves Veterans from  areas in southern California. In addition to the main medical center, we offer a number of services to our patients in four community-based outpatient clinics.

Welcome from the Program Director »

Welcome to the Gastroenterology fellowship at UC Irvine. Our program features faculty experts in all areas of GI bleeding, GI motility, colon cancer, IBD, hepatology, interventional gastroenterology and new technologies in GI.   Our mission of the Gastroenterology fellowship program is to provide outstanding clinical and endoscopic training along with a foundation in clinical research to prepare the next generation of gastroenterologists for any type of practice setting.  This training program provides a diverse patient population and various training opportunities. We are especially proud of the environment that we have created that fosters enthusiasm for the field of gastroenterology, multidisciplinary care, and life-long learning.  Our graduates have been very successful in all areas of gastroenterology including academic medicine, research, and community practice. 

Thank you for your interest in our program and please feel free to contact us. 

 

Nimisha K. Parekh, MD, MPH, FACG, AGAF

Fellowship Program Director

Professor of Clinical Medicine

Director of IBD

Robert Lee, MD, MAS

Associate Fellowship Program Director

Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine

Director of Motility Services

Clinical Experience »

Clinical Training

During clinical training, gastroenterology fellows rotate among the our teaching facilities at UCI Irvine Medical Center, the H.H. Chao Comprehensive Digestive Disease Center (CDDC) and the Long Beach VA. These sites give fellows exposure to large and diverse patient populations, as well as to an outstanding faculty representing clinical and scientific expertise in all areas of gastrointestinal and liver disease.

  

All fellows attend a weekly continuity clinic throughout their training which are held at both UC Irvine Medical Center and at the VA to ensure that fellows get the appropriate exposure to a wide range of gastrointestinal disorders. Depending on their interests, third year fellows have the choice to do continuity clinic in general GI, hepatology, interventional, motility or IBD clinic.   

 

Rotations

UCI General GI consults

UCI Hepatology consults

UCI Interventional/Biliary consults

UCI Ambulatory rotation

UCI Inflammatory Bowel Disease Rotation

 

VA Consults

VA Ambulatory rotation

VA Procedures rotation

VA Liver rotation

VA Interventional/Administrative rotation

 

Research Electives at UCI and VA

Continuity clinic

 

Endoscopic Training

Fellows receive rigorous training in endoscopy throughout all three years of their fellowship. Fellows learn the skills needed to perform diagnostic, screening, and surveillance upper endoscopy and colonoscopy, as well as therapeutic aspects of the endoscopy, such as mucosal biopsy, polypectomy, endoscopic mucosal resection, mucosal injection, hemostasis, stricture dilation, and percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy tube placement. Fellows will also perform paracentesis, manometry, and pH and impedance testing.

 

Third year fellows on the interventional rotation will gain exposure in therapeutic procedures including ERCP, double balloon enteroscopy, complex endoscopic mucosal resection, G-J tube placement, RFA and luminal stenting.

 

Motivated fellows will also be able to gain exposure to cutting-edge procedures such as POEM, bariatric endoscopy including endoscopic sleeves, anti-reflux procedures such as endoscopic fundoplication, endoscopic suturing, endoscopic ultrasound guided rendezvous procedures, and endoscopic submucosal dissection.

Educational activities »

The Division of Gastroenterology has an active roster of educational activities each week. This format encourages participation by faculty, fellows and community physicians.  A number of conferences are provided to complement the patient care experiences. UCI has several unique opportunities for learning and faculty interaction including endoscopy conference, practice management, and quality assurance/ patient safety conferences.

To maximize participation of faculty and fellows, Wednesday mornings are designed around educational activities, including clinical and basic science seminars about the pathophysiology of digestive disorders. The program is enriched by special lectures and seminars that bring recognized authorities from elsewhere in the United States and abroad.

Teaching conferences are as follows:

Weekly

  • Mondays — Gastrointestinal pathology conference
  • Tuesdays — Gastrointestinal tumor board and Department of Medicine grand rounds
  • Wednesdays — Clinical and basic science seminars on topics about the pathophysiology of digestive disorders

Monthly (most monthly meetings occur on Wednesdays):

  • Surgical gastroenterology conference, emphasizing clinical problems and their management
  • Endoscopy case conference
  • Journal club, reviewing major gastroenterological advances in leading journals
  • Gastrointestinal radiology conference on cases involving the full spectrum of radiologic imaging
  • Research conference, with presentations of planned or ongoing research to colleagues and the clinical faculty
  • Multidisciplinary clinical case conference focused on general gastroenterology
  • Quality assurance conference, focusing on complications of diagnostic and therapeutic endoscopic procedures
  • Chief rounds (Fridays)
  • Multidisciplinary Inflammatory Bowel Disease Program (Fridays)

The division also hosts a variety of activities for fellows and community physicians.

In addition, all fellows are encouraged to attend national conferences yearly. Fellows are given education days and financial support to attend national and regional conferences.  

First year fellows attend the ASGE first year fellows course and a regional gastroenterology conference.  Second and third year fellows routinely attend both ACG and DDW yearly as well as regional conferences. Fellows are given educational days and funding to attend conferences.

For more information on upcoming conferences and other events, contact us at 714-456-6745.

Research »

Clinical research projects are an important aspect of the Division of Gastroenterology's fellowship training. Completion of a research project, including publication, is a graduation requirement. Although the majority of fellows complete clinical research projects, basic research opportunities are available. The Division of Gastroenterology has research laboratories on the university's Irvine campus and at the VA in Long Beach.

 

During three years of training, fellows are expected to dedicate at least 4 to 6 months to active participation in clinical research. The diverse research interests of division faculty members allows our fellows to choose from a wide range of exciting and challenging research experiences. Fellows are encouraged to join a research pod in their first year to facilitate the process of choosing a research project and conceptualize it during the first year. Research pods include inflammatory bowel disease, esophageal disease, liver disease, and interventional endoscopy. Projects are completed during the second and third years. Fellows are required to submit a manuscript for publication and are encouraged to present their research at national meetings.

In addition, fellows are required to work on at least 1 Quality Improvement project during their training. Fellows are encouraged to develop process improvement projects within gastroenterology, the division, or at any of the rotating sites.

Salary and Benefits »

Salary

The 2017-2018 annual salary scale for Gastroenterology fellows is:

  • First year fellow — $62,018
  • Second year fellow  — $64,556
  • Third year fellow — $66,955

Health & Benefits

Fellows have full health benefits including medical, dental, and vision. These plans are designed to meet the needs of the fellows and their families.

Life insurance is provided at no additional cost to the fellow only.

Long-term disability insurance is offered at an additional cost through the University of California Regents.

Fellows also receive professional liability coverage for all activities that are part of the cardiology fellowship training programs.

Professional liability coverage for all activities that are part of the gastroenterology fellowship training program.

Vacation & Sick Time

Cardiology Fellows receive 20 days of vacation (15 personal days, 5 educational days), as well as 8 sick days.

Fellow Union Benefits

Fellows and residents training at UCIMC are unionized.  Union benefits are valid strictly from July 1 to June 30 each year of training. Funding is not rolled over year to year.

Below are the union benefits that apply to Gastroenterology Fellows:

  • 2 White Coats provided for entire training, plus laundering of the white coats
  • $40/month for UCIMC Cafeteria
  • Up to $1,000 in reimbursements for Educational/Conference Fees
  • Up to $1,000 for CA Medical License reimbursement
  • Reimbursement for ACLS & BLS recertification during training
  • $2,900 annual stipend for fellows living within 10 mile radius of the rotating locations

Moonlighting

Moonlighting is not permitted.

Application and Interview Process »
The Division of Gastroenterology accepts four new fellows each year.

Applications for the Gastrenterology Fellowship Program are avaliable in early July every year through ERAS. We no longer accept paper applications. For questions about the application process, go to ERAS online or call 215-966-3940.

To be eligible for the fellowship programs, applicants must have:

  • Completed residency training in internal medicine
  • Board-certification or board-eligibility in internal medicine
  • A California medical license before beginning the fellowship
  • U.S. citizenship or have fulfilled residency or visa requirements before starting the fellowship. We are not accepting H1B visas at this time.
ERAS applications should include the following:
  • Current curriculum vitae
  • A one-page personal statement
  • Scores on the United States Medical Licensing Examination®
  • A current photo
  • Dean's letter
  • At least three letters of recommendation, including one from a past or current program director

Applications for July 2019 positions will be accepted beginning July 1, 2018. 

Interviews

 

Applicants are notified by email if they are selected for personal interviews with the Division faculty members.

Interviews for July 2019 positions will occur between September 2018 - October 2018.

We recommend that interviewees traveling by air arrive at John Wayne Airport in Orange County.

Hotels nearest UC Irvine Medical Center (where interviews are held) are:

The Doubletree Hotel 100 The City Drive Orange, CA 92868 714-634-4500

Ayres Inn 3737 W. Chapman Ave. Orange, CA 92868 714-978-9168

Endoscopic Ultrasound (EUS) fellowship »

The Division of Gastroenterology also offers a highly competitive Endoscopic Ultrasound (EUS) fellowship. The aim of this one- to two-year fellowship is to train academic gastroenterologists to be able to establish an EUS unit in their own teaching hospital, as well as to continue clinical research and development that will advance the use of this modality.

EUS fellows also learn various aspects of interventional endoscopy during their training, which takes place at the UC Irvine Medical Center in Orange.
 
To be eligible for the EUS advanced fellowship, applicants must submit to the chief of the Division of Gastroenterology:

  • A curriculum vitae
  • A cover letter
  • Three letters of recommendation

One of the letters of recommendation be from a previous training program leader. If possible, a second letter should be from an endorsing academic unit delineating the applicant's future prospects at their institution.


Suitable candidates are selected for interview, preferably in person. In situations where that is not possible, a telephone interview may be scheduled. The successful applicant is chosen by the division chief in consultation with division faculty members. 

Please send letters and your CV to:

Fellowship Coordinator
Department of Medicine, Gastroenterology
UC Irvine School of Medicine
333 The City Drive, Suite 400
Orange, CA 92868
714-456-6745

Gallery of Past Events »

Learn more about living in Orange County›

For more information, please contact the division fellowship coordinator at 714-456-6745.