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Alicia Muratore, MD, MBA, is a fellow in the UNC Division of Gastroenterology & Hepatology. She is interested in general gastroenterology, a broad spectrum of gastrointestinal diseases, medical education and quality improvement. Dr. Muratore is also training for her 12th marathon overall and 6th and final of the World Marathon Majors. Learn more about how her passion for the sport and medicine below. 

Why UNC GI for fellowship?

I was looking for a program that would combine rigorous clinical training with a strong collaborative environment. I found that at UNC GI. It was clear to me during my interview day, and has proven true since becoming a fellow, that I would receive exceptional clinic training. At UNC, I am learning from and training with the world’s leading experts in the field of gastroenterology. The attendings I work with are publishing the guidelines and papers that are advancing the field. Given that I was interested in general gastroenterology, I wanted the opportunity to learn from these experts in the different sub-specialties within GI and Hepatology. Additionally, it was evident that UNC GI fostered a strong collaborative environment in which I would be supported in the various clinical interests and endeavors I would pursue.

More importantly, this culture of collaboration and support extends beyond the hospital and clinic. I sought out co-workers who not only work hard to ensure they do what is best for patients, but also for their colleagues. Since starting at UNC, I have seen firsthand and been a recipient of support for interests outside of medicine.

Tell us about your future career goals?

I would like to be a clinical gastroenterologist with a focus in nutrition and obesity science. I am interested in the diet’s role in treating common gastrointestinal diseases, short bowel syndrome, and delivering optimal therapies for obesity management. I hope to combine my clinical training with my MBA degree to establish a specialized center dedicated to the comprehensive care of patients with nutritional deficiencies, short bowel syndrome, and obesity. My goal is not only to address immediate medical needs but also to create a holistic and sustainable approach that encompasses patient education, community outreach, and long-term follow-up care.

Best advice you have ever received?

“The best subspecialists are good at what they do because they are great internists”. This was emphasized to me during my internal residency training by Dr. Marshall Wolfe a former program director at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and a cardiologist by training. I could not agree more. In my day-to-day practice I try to ensure that I put a patient’s GI disease in the broader context of their clinical care.

Running seems to be another passion of yours. Can you talk about preparing for the Tokyo marathon and your running experiences?

I am currently training for the Tokyo Marathon, which is Sunday, March 3rd. This will be my 12th marathon overall and my 6th and final of the World Marathon Majors. The six World Marathon Majors are Boston, New York City, Chicago, London, Berlin, and Tokyo.

My road to Tokyo started just under a decade ago in 2015, when I ran my first marathon, the Philadelphia Marathon. As an athlete in high school, a MCL injury senior year, left me in near constant pain, and I stopped working out altogether. My first year of medical school I found myself learning the best ways to counsel future patients on the benefits of exercise, and I found myself feeing hypocritical. Who was I to tell someone they needed to exercise 30 minutes a day, when I was not able or willing to do that myself. That’s when I started physical therapy. I ran my first mile February 1, 2015 and a short 9 months later I found myself crossing the finish line of the Philadelphia Marathon, and as a Boston Qualifier.

I ran Boston in April 2017. At the finish, I saw a woman receive a large medal with six cities on it and she was crying with joy. That was the day I learned about the World Majors. Since then, I ran NYC (2018), Chicago (2019), and London (2021) while in internal medicine residency. Most recently completing the Berlin Marathon (2022) at the start Gastroenterology Fellowship here at UNC.

While the Tokyo marathon is the destination, it is truly a culmination of months (if not years) of training. Each run has shown me that I have motivation and strength within me to run mile after mile. This extends beyond the run. Running has taught me that I am capable, that I am strong. that I can do anything if I put my mind to it and commit. Running brings me such joy and that is the reason I have continued to find ways to make it a priority in my life and daily routine. Though it certainly is not always easy, especially given the demands of having a job in healthcare. Training for the Tokyo marathon has meant waking up early before work to get in training runs. It’s meant planning a run schedule around a clinical schedule.

I am fortunate to accomplish this during clinical training. I am grateful for the support and backing from family, friends, and colleagues. When I learned I got in to the Tokyo Marathon, I was immediately met with support by my program directors, attendings, and co-fellows. This brings me back to what I said before, I am truly grateful to work in a program that supports me full heartedly in by my clinical and non-clinical endeavors.