Gastroenterology Fellowship: Journeys, Quests and Career Choices.



scope in hand-gi-05

The NYSGE is a nationally renowned gastrointestinal society, but a huge driving force for our successful society are the fellows in training working at our various institutions. There are 539 total members in NYSGE, and 227 of them are fellows and residents in training. Although our fellows are strong clinicians and work tireless hours seeing patients, setting up carts, and performing emergency endoscopies in the middle of the night, they somehow find time to pursue academic interests and publish very interesting research.

In the past year there have been countless abstracts, papers, and publications involving our fellows. Although there are a multitude of publications, a selected listing here includes Anoop Appannagari, AET at Stony Brook, who published an interesting case in Gastrointestinal Endoscopy titled “Two endoscopic resection methods for the removal of an over the scope clip.” Lionel D’Souza, the BI-Mount Sinai AET recently published a case in ACG Case Reports Journal titled “A rare case of isolated pancreatic Tuberculosis.” Sunil Amin, AET of Columbia, helped publish the abstract titled “Longer time interval between ERCP and surgery associated with improved survival in pancreatic cancer patients” at ACG this past year. Nikhil Kumta (formerly the AET at Cornell) and Ming Ming Xu, the current AET at Cornell, who with other co-authors recently published a video in Endoscopy titled, “Submucosal tunneling endoscopic resection of a symptomatic leiomyoma in the proximal esophagus” which was also presented at the David B. Falkenstein Fellow’s Night. Shailja Shah, Mount Sinai Fellow won the distinguished poster award for her research in Ulcerative Colitis and the winner of the Peter Stevens Endoscopic Video Forum went to Sam Seroya of BI-Mount Sinai, both presented at this year’s Annual Dinner.

These extracurricular academic pursuits by our fellows are beneficial as they expand the knowledge and frontiers of Gastroenterology, but they also benefit the applicants as they are truly important markers of dedication, hard work, and persistence which are essential when applying for jobs. The light at the end of the tunnel comes quickly for many fellows, and after years of college, medical school, residency, and then fellowship come to a close, the real world rears its head come winter and spring for all of our senior fellows.

Job hunting can be a daunting task, and below are anonymous selected quotes of recently graduated fellows in the NY area to advise the current graduating fellows:

  • “The job search can be one of the most daunting tasks for any young physician finishing training. After having our career paths determined for us though the match process for the past 6 or 7 years, we are suddenly faced with the complete freedom to explore any type of practice setting in any location. This can be both amazing and terrifying. The first and most important step is to be honest with yourself about the situation that will be best for you and your family.”
  • “Use the interview to understand each practice model’s unique benefits and risks.”
  • “Ask around!  Discuss the position with your program director and people you trust.  Try to reach out to physicians who may have been recently hired by the practice you are interviewing for, or possibly who have left that practice in recent years.  Why did they decide to join that group?  Why did they leave?”
  • “Do not sell yourself short!  While you may not have experience outside of training, remember that the employers are seeking to fill the position.  They want YOU.”
  • “Have an attorney review your contract for loopholes.  Everything is negotiable.  If the terms are not equitable, continue to push for change so that they are.  You do not want to sign something that you will regret signing later on.
  • “Be flexible to an extent.  Some groups have specific needs and may ask if you would be willing to meet that need (reading capsules, learning nutrition/TPN, etc).  Consider these as these may still be good opportunities, but of course don’t sacrifice your goals/interests and settle on something you hate doing just to get the job.”
  • “Look at the dynamics and culture of the group (academic or private), could you see yourself fraternizing with these people for several years?  Are you proud to call them your colleagues?  Remember that these people will – for better or worse- represent the practice and take care of your patients when you’re on vacation, in the hospital, on call, etc.”
  • “Get a sense of the local admitting hospitals and ancillary services. Having an awful pathology department or radiologist will ultimately hurt your practice.”


Demetrios Tzimas, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Advanced and Therapeutic Endoscopy Service – Director of Medical School GI Pathophysiology
Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology  – Stony Brook University School of Medicine

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