About the Clinical Fellowship Program

Fellow Ramya Srinivasan and faculty member Chris McCartney examine patient.

Fellow Ramya Srinivasan practices thyroid ultrasound while Christopher McCartney, MD, Associate Program Director,  looks on.

Overview

The Endocrinology and Metabolism Training Program at the University of Virginia provides intensive clinical and research training for physicians who have completed a residency in internal medicine. The program fulfills the requirements for subspecialty certification in Endocrinology and Metabolism by the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM). We are approved by the ACGME to accept up to four fellows to our program each academic year; but this year (as in the past several years), we plan to accept three new fellows.

The major purposes of our program are (a) to educate and train outstanding endocrine subspecialist physicians to help people achieve healthy, fulfilling, and productive lives; and (b) to train the next generation of endocrine educators and scientists. A major goal of our program is train fellows for a career in academic endocrinology, although our fellows pursue careers with varying distributions of effort in clinical care, education, and scientific investigation. Through patient care, our program actively serves patients across the state of Virginia. However, through subspecialist physician and educator training, our program serves communities across the nation; and through endocrine scientist training, our program serves communities across the world. We achieve our mission through: (a) attracting an academically accomplished and compassionate group of trainees from diverse backgrounds; (b) creating a respectful and nurturing learning environment that also challenges fellows to learn and apply science and medicine at the most skillful level; (c) fostering humanitarian and caring attitudes that motivate us to give our best to maintain health and to alleviate pain and suffering; and (d) maintaining program faculty dedicated to preventing disease and treating illness, educating and inspiring future leaders in the field of endocrinology, and pursuing innovative biomedical research.

Prior to 2015, we only recruited candidates into a three-year training program. Starting in the 2015 recruiting season (for the July 2016 start date), we began offering both a traditional three-year clinical/research training track and a two-year clinical track, as described below:

Three-year clinical/research track

Our standard fellowship is a three-year training experience that combines clinical training with an intensive research experience. We believe that the three-year clinical/research track is the most appropriate track for fellows who are primarily interested in an academic research career. We also believe this track is a good option for fellows interested in a career as a clinician-educator. During the first year of training, the fellows have an in-depth clinical experience that will later be reduced when their research projects are started in earnest. Specifically, first-year fellows can expect to devote 80% their effort to clinical training and 20% to research activities; corresponding percentages are 20% (clinical) and 80% (research) for second- and third-year fellows. Note that other educational activities (conferences, etc.) are included in the effort distributions described above. Overall, fellows will complete approximately 80% of their ACGME-required clinical training in the first year, with the remainder of ACGME-required clinical training completed during the second year. Importantly, additional clinical experience is obtained in the third year of fellowship; thus, a three-year clinical/research fellow will obtain approximately 150% of minimum ACGME-required clinical training over her/his three years of training. Our three-year program places a heavy emphasis on research and learning the basic methods of scientific investigation. Meaningful participation in research fosters important critical thinking and problem-solving skills; and it provides a deeper understanding of the nature (and limits) of scientific evidence, which is the foundation of medical practice. Thus, we believe that an in-depth research experience can be beneficial to all fellows, regardless of a fellow’s ultimate career path.

Two-year clinical track

The two-year clinical track is most appropriate for fellows who are primarily interested in a non-academic clinical career. However, we also believe that this track is a fine option for fellows interested in a career as a clinician-educator. During the first year of training on this track, the fellow will have an in-depth clinical experience—essentially identical to the clinical experience described above for the three-year clinical/research track. However, a second-year fellow on the clinical track will continue to devote a majority of her/his effort to clinical training activities; the balance of the fellow’s effort will be devoted to an academic project. Overall, the two-year clinical fellows will obtain at least 160% of minimum ACGME-required clinical training over their two years of training.

For this recruiting season, we aim to match one fellow into the three-year clinical/research track and two fellows into the two-year clinical track. We participate in the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) Specialties Matching Service, and we adhere to the Association of Program Directors in Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism’s All In Match policy.

Salary support for our fellows comes from three general sources. First-year fellows (and second-year fellows on a two-year clinical track) are generally supported by funds provided by the Office of Graduate Medical Education. Starting in the second year, clinical/research fellows are generally supported by institutional training grants from the National Institute of Health or individual grants obtained by the fellows. All fellows on the three-year clinical/research track are expected to submit an entry-level grant application—either to the National Institutes of Health or equivalent institution—early in their second year of training. (This is not required of fellows on the two-year clinical track.) The division believes that training in grant-writing is an invaluable component of the academic fellowship experience. Our three-year fellows pursue basic research, clinical research, or a combination of the two, and have been highly successful in obtaining extramural support. Importantly, in the event that a fellow’s grant(s) is (are) not funded, the division is fully committed to support ALL fellows for the duration of their training.

In summary, the Division of Endocrinology at The University of Virginia is looking to attract highly motivated, bright, energetic individuals with a broad range of prior experiences in medicine. Applicants to the three-year clinical/research track must be both interested in scientific study and qualified for writing national and statewide grants and similar proposals. All physicians who train with us will receive the finest clinical educational experience available.