Fellowships for the Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology

UNC Pediatric Gastroenterology (GI) is excited to announce the start of its fellowship training program for the 2017-2018 academic years. We will begin accepting applicants through ERAS starting in July 2016. 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 individual’s interest, fellows have the choice to learn and become independent investigators in clinical, basic and translational research. All training will take place at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the UNC Health Care System.

The first year of our program is dedicated to clinical training. Our subspecialty residents gain hands-on experience through our inpatient service, our outpatient clinics, consults to other services and by performing 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

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

What sets our program apart?

  • Research opportunities
  • A supportive and close-knit team environment
  • Close collaboration with the adult GI division
  • Protected time and flexibility for fellows
  • Chapel Hill– a beautiful, diverse, academic town that features great weather and opportunities to satisfy a variety of interests.

Francisco Sylvester, MD
Professor of Pediatrics
Division Chief
Program Director

Sabina Mir, MD
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
Associate Program Director

Jenny Kaselak
Program Coordinator

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.

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.

Procedures are integral to the practice of our subspecialty. Our goal is that all pediatric GI subspecialty residents develop mastery in diagnostic endoscopic procedures. There is no minimum number of procedures that are required to achieve mastery. The predominant type of procedure in pediatric gastroenterology is diagnostic upper endoscopy/colonoscopy with and without biopsies.
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 subspecialty residents have one block of inpatient service and one block of clinical elective each year. 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.

The second year and third year fellows continue 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.

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.

Conference Frequency Required/Optional Role of fellow
Improve Care Now Weekly R Presents cases/Participates in Discussion
Review of Pediatric GI Inpatients Weekly R Presents cases/Participates in Discussion
Interactive Didactic Core GI Curriculum Weekly (Sept-June) R PConducts conference
Radiology Conference Monthly (Sept-June) R Presents cases/Participates in Discussion
Pathology Conference Monthly (Sept-June) R Presents cases/Participates in Discussion
Combined Pediatric GI/Surgery Conference Monthly (Sept-June) R Presents cases/Participates in Discussion
Grand Rounds Weekly R (minimum twice monthly) Participation limited to Q&A; component
To apply to UNC Pediatric Gastroenterology’s fellowship, candidates must have completed two to three years of training in an accredited residency program in order to sit for the American Board of Pediatrics certifying examination.

We accept one fellow per year. Applications may be submitted starting in July through ERAS. We participate in the NRMP specialties matching service. Application deadline is August 31.

Foreign medical graduates who have completed a pediatrics residency in the United States may apply to our program. Per the University of North Carolina Graduate Medical Education Policy on Visas, University of North Carolina Hospitals will consider applicants who have been issued a J-1 Visa and who hold a current ECFMG Certificate. H1-B visas are not sponsored at University of North Carolina Hospitals.

Application package required:

  • Current CV
  • Personal statement
  • 3 letters of recommendation

Interviews will be held in September and October.

Questions and Inquires can be directed to:
UNC Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology

Francisco Sylvester, MD
Program Director

Sabina Mir, MD
Associate Program Director

Jenny Kaselak
Fellowship Coordinator