Spring 2011
Beyond residency

synapse: University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine

Ali Shahin, M.D., sports medicine fellow

Ali Shahin, M.D., sports medicine fellow, plans to practice in Reno after completing his fellowship this year. Photo by Laura Levin

New and established fellowships provide physician opportunities.

By Laura Levin and Anne McMillin, APR

Fellowships grant a sense of prestige to the institution, aid in securing significant federal funding and enhance a medical school's ability to become a leader in medical care.

The University of Nevada School of Medicine's new urgent care fellowship in Las Vegas and the three-year-old sports medicine fellowship in Reno represent two examples of the specialty training offered through fellowships that provide in-depth, post-residency education to physicians wanting to practice a medical subspecialty.

The Department of Family and Community Medicine in Las Vegas, working with partner University Medical Center of Southern Nevada, received approval last year from the Urgent Care Association of America to establish an urgent care fellowship training program.

The 12-month training program provides enhanced post-residency clinical experience in the field of urgent care medicine for primary care physicians and takes place at UMC's 10 Quick Care Clinics throughout Las Vegas.

"Having multiple clinic sites available offers better training on the specifics of urgent care and provides a higher standard of care for patients," said Aron Rogers, D.O., the school's urgent care fellowship director. "The fellowship program will help us supply a better trained physician for the urgent care centers such as Quick Care."

Elissa Palmer, M.D., chair of family medicine in Las Vegas, said she is pleased the department was able to fulfill its vision for an urgent care medicine fellowship through collaboration with UMC.

"This fellowship will not only create a pipeline of physicians for urgent care centers, but will help to better prepare family medicine physicians for practice in rural areas," she said.

Venkataramana Nalluri, M.D., was accepted as the first fellow in this newly-established program and began last fall after completing her family medicine residency at Texas Tech Health Sciences University Center School of Medicine.

Urgent care fellows will rotate through several medical specialties during the program for more in-depth exposure to patients. Those specialties include adult and pediatric emergency medicine, orthopaedics, radiology, occupational medicine, sports medicine, cardiology and ophthalmology. The majority of fellows' time on a weekly basis will be spent in urgent care medicine settings and associated clinics.

The types of medical conditions urgent care fellows are likely to encounter range from adult and pediatric patients presenting with ear infections, colds and flu, to potentially more serious occupational injuries.

Faculty from the School of Medicine's Departments of Family and Community Medicine, Emergency Medicine and Surgery as well as UMC physicians and physicians in the Las Vegas community will provide the instruction.

"This compliments UMC's strong partnership with the University of Nevada School of Medicine and will add to the fellowships we currently offer," said Kathy Silver, UMC chief executive officer. "These fellows will be learning under the direction of some of the finest medical experts in the country."

The urgent care fellowship program came about as a result of residents wanting more training in urgent care beyond what they received in their primary care residency program, according to Rogers.

The family medicine sports medicine fellowship in Reno, which was formally accredited in January 2007, represents a more established fellowship at the School of Medicine.

"As our medical school students and residents begin to grow in number, we must add specialties," said Carol Scott, M.D., sports medicine fellowship director. "Sports medicine is growing in popularity throughout the country and is a lure for medical students."

This fellowship's participating ambulatory training sites are the University of Nevada School of Medicine Family Medicine Center, the University of Nevada, Reno Student Heath Center and the University of Nevada Sports Medicine Complex which includes Nevada Physical Therapy and the University of Nevada Athletic Training Department. Participating inpatient institutions are Renown Regional Medical Center and Saint Mary's Regional Medical Center.

"We began this fellowship because we have such a great place for training," Scott said. "Everything is located right here. For the first few months, the fellow doesn't even have to leave campus."

Ali Shahin, M.D., began the sports medicine fellowship last summer after finishing his family medicine residency at North Oakland Medical Center in Pontiac, Mich. where he was chief resident.

"I chose sports medicine because I enjoy caring for those who want to be active so that they can remain active," he said.

According to Scott, the purpose of this fellowship is to enable primary care physicians to develop expertise in the specialty of primary care sports medicine.

Fellows will maintain competence in family medicine, but will have additional training in sports medicine as it applies to exercise and sports participation.

The fellow also acquires teaching, research, practice management and administrative skills.

While treatment of sports injuries and musculoskeletal medicine will be prominent in the fellowship training, chronic medical problems, psychological issues and working as a team physician with other health care providers to enable safe participation will also be emphasized.