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The pediatric GI fellowship is a three-year program accredited by the ACGME. Applicants must have completed three years of ACGME-accredited residency training in pediatrics prior to starting fellowship. Applicant interviews will be held in September and October.

The program is designed to train academic pediatric gastroenterologists that excel in both clinical and research skills. Depending on the individual’s interest, fellows have the choice to learn and become independent investigators in clinical, basic, and translational research. Most of our fellows have opted to pursue master degrees in clinical research or public health. Tuition is supported by the Division and/or T32 programs (for US citizens and permanent residents). All training will take place at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the UNC Health Care System. Fellows have the option of elective time at Duke for rotations in liver transplantation and pediatric motility.

The first year of our program is primarily dedicated to clinical training. Our fellows gain hands-on experience through our inpatient service, our outpatient clinics, consults to other services and by performing endoscopic procedures. Fellows participate in the teaching of medical students, residents and in weekly conferences. First-year fellows choose a mentor and scholarly activity committee (SOC) members. Fellows have three 4-week blocks during their first year to develop their scholarly projects for their second and third year of training.

The second and third years of our program allow for significant protected time for academic and career development. The SOC members provide valuable guidance throughout the years in career development.

What sets our program apart?
  • Fellows can take advantage of academic opportunities during their training, which include (but are not limited to) programs for master’s degrees in Clinical Research and Public Health. Other programs such as basic science PhD, MBA or M.Ed. are also possible.
  • Research opportunities
    • Bench research and translational opportunities are widely available within UNC campus in collaboration with other divisions in Pediatrics and/or Adult Gastroenterology, and within the Schools of Medicine, Nursing, Global Public Health, Pharmacy and other
  • A supportive and close-knit team environment
  • Close collaboration with the adult GI division
  • Protected time and flexibility career pathways for fellows
  • Chapel Hill– a beautiful, diverse, academic town that features great weather and opportunities to satisfy a variety of interests.
First Year Curriculum
Steven Lichtman, MD

First year subspecialty residents undergo an intense immersion into inpatient pediatric gastroenterology. Our fellows complete a nine-month inpatient rotation that help them progress toward competency in patient care. Inpatient responsibilities include the care of patients on the pediatric GI service, providing consults to patients on other services and managing high-risk transports from and to other institutions.

Additionally, first-year fellows utilize a variety of resources to gain comprehensive knowledge in pediatric gastroenterology such as online journals, general scientific journals and textbooks, attending journal club and other internal conferences, and taking the annual in-service exam in pediatric GI offered by the ABP.

Second and Third Year Curricula

Second and third-year subspecialty residents have one block of inpatient service and one block of clinical elective each year. The second and third years also have liver clinic one month per year. Elective courses include:

  • Liver disease
  • Motility Clinic

The third-year resident may take this motility elective again if consistent with career plans.


Diagnostic & Therapeutic Procedures
Sabina Mir, MD

The second year and third year fellows continue to perform endoscopic procedures when on-call or during inpatient service months.

Third year pediatric GI residents who would like additional training in diagnostic and therapeutic endoscopy may choose to complete an elective month were they spend 5 days/week performing all scheduled procedures in the endoscopy suite and operating room at UNC Chapel Hill.

After the second year, the fellow will show competency in the skills learned the first year, and after the third year mastery of skills.

Outpatient Rotations
Francisco Sylvester, MD & Steven N. Lichtman, MD
Continuity Clinic

Pediatric GI residents of all levels have a half-day of mentored continuity clinic per week at NC Children’s Hospital or one of our satellite clinics. Under attending supervision, subspecialty residents are responsible for the continuing care of patients with acute and chronic gastrointestinal problems and provide consultation on a wide variety of new and follow-up patients.

Liver Disease Clinic

Sub-specialty residents of all levels are required to have one month of outpatient liver disease clinic per year, supervised by a hepatologist. Additionally, there are rotations available at Duke University to gain additional exposure to the liver transplant program.

ConferenceFrequencyRequired/OptionalRole of fellow
Improve Care Now Weekly RPresents cases/Participates in Discussion
Review of Pediatric GI InpatientsWeekly RPresents cases/Participates in Discussion
Interactive Didactic Core GI CurriculumWeekly (Sept-June)RPConducts conference
Radiology ConferenceMonthly (Sept-June)RPresents cases/Participates in Discussion
Pathology ConferenceMonthly (Sept-June)RPresents cases/Participates in Discussion
Combined Pediatric GI/Surgery ConferenceMonthly (Sept-June)RPresents cases/Participates in Discussion
Grand RoundsWeekly R (minimum twice monthly) Participation limited to Q&A; component
First Year Research
Francisco Sylvester, MD

First years have a one-month block in February to identify an area of academic interest, choose a research mentor, initiate preliminary research activity (present the background of the proposed research and generate specific hypotheses) and identify a Scholarship Oversight Committee.

Second and Third Year Research

Our program trains academic gastroenterologists. The research experience of the pediatric GI training program at UNC Chapel Hill is designed to teach the fundamentals to pursue a career in academic medicine after graduation. The pediatric GI residents may choose a clinical, translational or basic science research project.

Second and third year subspecialty residents have 18 months of fully protected time without other duties (except for half a day continuity clinic and attendance to didactic sessions) to devote to their scholarly endeavor. Our fellows acquire the necessary skills through a combination of mentoring, tutorial teaching, course work, on-line tools, conferences and seminars.

UNC Chapel Hill offers virtually limitless opportunities for scholarly training. Our fellows may choose a mentor within the Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology or outside the Division, depending on career interests. Nonetheless, the Program Director closely monitors the resident’s experience, from choosing a mentor, a research environment, and ensuring appropriate support for the pediatric GI resident.

A substantive scholarly product is required to graduate from the program. Examples include:

A peer-reviewed publication in which the fellow played a substantial role
An in-depth manuscript describing a completed project
A thesis or dissertation written in connection with the pursuit of an advanced degree (e.g. MPH, Masters in Clinical Research)

A progress report for projects of exceptional complexity, such as a multi-year clinical trial
With help from a mentor, the second year fellow writes a research protocol, submits it for scientific review, addresses the comments; submits the protocol for IRB review or Animal Care Committee review and address contingencies, with the goal of having the protocol approved by the appropriate regulatory body in the first three months of the research experience. The fellow learns appropriate lab techniques, data collection and analysis, and statistical methodology to complete the project. Scientific language writing and grant writing is also taught.

At the end of the third year, the fellow is competent in all areas of scholarly research.


Current Fellows

Prathipa Santhanam, MBBS
Pediatric Gastroenterology
Prathipa Santhanam, MBBS
3rd Year Fellow
Undergrad: Anglo-Chinese Junior College, Singapore
Medical school: P.S.G. Institute of Medical Sciences and Research, India
Residency: Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center, Brooklyn, NY

Seth Morrison, MD
Pediatric Gastroenterology
Seth Morrison, MD
2nd Year Fellow
Undergrad: Gonzaga University, Spokane, Washington
Medical school: Ben-Gurion University of the Negev Faculty of Health Sciences, Israel
Residency & Chief Resident: University of Oklahoma School of Community Medicine, Tulsa, OK


Erica Brenner, MD
Pediatric Gastroenterology
Erica Brenner, MD
Completed Master of Science in Clinical Research during fellowship

Hometown: Ithaca, New York
Undergrad: Syracuse Universityem>
Medical school: SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, NY
Residency: University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill
Post Fellowship: Inflammatory Bowel Disease Fellowship at UNC
Dr Michael Rogers Michael Rogers, DO, MPH
Undergrad: Davidson College
Medical School: Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine - Virginia Campus
Residency: Eastern Virginia Medical School/The Children's Hospital of The King's Daughters

Completed Master of Public Health degree during his fellowship

Awarded 2020 Walter Tunnessen Award for Best Clinical Science Research at the UNC Department of Pediatrics Day of Scholarship

Post Fellowship Graduation: Pediatric Hepatology Fellowship, Cincinnati Children's Hospital
Program Leadership
Dr Francisco SlyvesterFrancisco Sylvester, MD
Professor of Pediatrics
Division Chief
Program Director
Find-a-Doctor Profile
Research Profile
Dr Sabina MirSabina Mir, MD
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
Associate Program Director
Find-a-Doctor profile


Katie Pattison
Division Administrator & Fellowship Coordinator
Phone: 919-966-8358
Fax: 919-966-8641


Francisco Sylvester, MD
Professor of Pediatrics
Program Director & Division Chief
Phone: 919-445-0257


Sabina Mir, MD
Associate Professor of Pediatrics
Associate Program Director
Phone: 919-962-5976


Mailing Address
247 MacNider Building, CB# 7229
333 S. Columbia Street
UNC School of Medicine
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7229

Applicants must have completed three years of ACGME-accredited residency training in pediatrics prior to starting fellowship.

Application Information:

Apply online through ERAS.
Interviews will begin in September and continue through October.
International applicants should provide a J-1 Visa and an ECFMG Certificate.
The following information should be uploaded into the ERAS program:
Completed on-line application
Curriculum Vitae
Personal statement
Three letters of recommendation, one from current program director
Dean’s letter (MSPE)
Medical school transcript
USMLE scores
ECFMG (if applicable)