School of Medicine starts three new specialty training fellowships in Las Vegas

Goal is to provide additional medical specialists for southern Nevada

LAS VEGAS, Nev. - The University of Nevada School of Medicine made further steps in its commitment to improving health care for Nevadans by growing its graduate medical education portfolio in Las Vegas with the addition of three new accredited allopathic fellowship training programs this year.

Two fellowships, in cardiology and gastroenterology, are the first-of-their-kind training programs for Nevada. The third is in child and adolescent psychiatry.

The cardiology fellowship began this summer with three fellows in the first year of the three-year training program.

"This fellowship is the first step in bringing subspecialty training to Las Vegas and retaining subspecialists in southern Nevada to address the severe physician shortage here," said Miriam Bar-on, M.D., associate dean for graduate medical education, explaining that with the addition of cardiology, internal medicine residents now have the option to stay in Las Vegas for additional cardiology specialty training beyond residency.

According to Chowdhury Ahsan, M.D., Ph.D., professor and cardiology fellowship program director, this training will focus on complicated and routine cardio-vascular patient care in the clinical setting and also provide opportunities for robust scholarly activities including conference hosting, publishing and research.

Training sites for the cardiology fellowship include UMC, the VA and Nevada Heart and Vascular Imaging.

The new gastroenterology fellows began the three-year fellowship program this July with monthly rotations at the VA and University Medical Center. The first year of the fellowship focuses heavily on gaining clinical expertise in hospitalized patient care and becoming proficient in endoscopic procedures, according to fellowship director Christian Stone, M.D., MPH, associate professor and chief of the section of gastroenterology.

"The second and third years of the fellowship provide specialized rotations in inflammatory bowel disease, motility disorders, nutrition, hepatology, advanced endoscopy, and pancreatic and biliary diseases," said Stone.

Fellows will also participate in a continuity clinic where they follow the same patients in the same location over the three-year program.

"Our hope is to train fellows who will have superior clinical skills and research expertise. After completing the fellowship, as these newly minted gastroenterologists start to practice in the community, we can be confident that they have been well trained and will serve the best interests of patients," Stone said.

Over at the School of Medicine's psychiatry and behavioral sciences department, Lisa Durette, M.D., is program director for southern Nevada's first child and adolescent psychiatry fellowship training program that also began in July.

According to Durette, the fellowship was established to help alleviate the severe shortage of child psychiatrists in southern Nevada.

Two fellows who began the two-year program this month will be spending their time at training sites including UMC, the Clark County Department of Family Services, Clark County Juvenile Justice Services and Desert Willow Treatment Center.

In addition, they will follow the same group of patients in a continuity clinic at Healthy Minds, in partnership with the Department of Family Services. In this setting, fellows work alongside marriage and family therapists, licensed clinical social workers, psychologists and child neuropsychologists to gain a strong understanding of the multidisciplinary evaluation and treatment of patients.

Fellows will first be exposed to the fundamentals of what is normal development in children and adolescents, so that they will be able to recognize abnormal behavior, Durette explained.

"They will have wide exposure to all settings and levels of severity of conditions including children in foster care, those who are incarcerated or in public school programs," she added.

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The University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine is a community-based, research-intensive medical school with a statewide vision that has served Nevada for 50 years. The state's first public medical school, UNR Med fosters a healthy Nevada through excellence in medical education, medical care, research and community engagement, within a culture of respect, compassion and inclusion. Through targeted growth and investment in research, clinical services, education and outreach, UNR Med is improving the future of health care. For more information, visit our 50th anniversary website.