Gastroenterology Fellowship

Children’s National Health System offers a three year fellowship training program in Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition. Our goal is to prepare fellows to become academic pediatric gastroenterologists.

Goals of the program are to:

  • Provide an environment in which the trainee will gain experience evaluating and treating a variety of gastrointestinal conditions
  • Allow the fellow to develop the knowledge and skills to manage these conditions independently
  • Foster an environment of intellectual curiosity

Expectations of the fellow are to:

  • Become proficient in the evaluation, diagnosis, and management of children with gastrointestinal, liver, and nutritional disorders
  • Become competent in procedures used to diagnosis and manage gastrointestinal disease
  • Produce a mentored work product based on basic or clinical research under the guidance of a mentor and scholarship oversight committee
  • Develop and refine skills in the six ACGME core competencies
History

History

All clinical activities are based at the main campus of Children’s National Health System (CNHS) in Washington, DC. 

Children’s National is a teaching hospital which provides services for the Washington, DC, metropolitan area and we frequently care for referral patients from the mid-Atlantic region, the nation, and many international patients. This ensures a very busy and diverse inpatient, outpatient, and procedure experience for fellows. The fellowship program is fully accredited and provides a rich and varied experience because of its many service, educational, advocacy, and research opportunities. The educational and research parts of the program are especially strengthened by our partnership with the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation at Children's National, the Clinical and Translational Science Institute at Children's National, the Pediatric Intestinal and Liver Transplant Program at Georgetown University, and close links with allied agencies, including the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Faculty hold academic appointments at George Washington University (GWU) School of Medicine, and the center is the primary pediatric training site for GWU medical students. One fellow is accepted into the program each year. Fellows rotate on the two inpatient services, Gastroenterology (GI) and Intestinal Rehabilitation/Liver (IRL). The first year of fellowship focuses on clinical training, while the second and third years are dedicated to basic science or clinical research.

Rotations

Rotations

Clinical Rotations

The first year of fellowship is clinically based. The fellow rotates through the inpatient and consult services of the GI and IRL teams. The clinical experience is supplemented by weekly fellows continuity clinic and select subspecialty clinics. The fellow supervises all aspects of the patients' care, under the supervision of the attending physician. This includes initial evaluation, formulation of a differential diagnosis, and management, including performing diagnostic procedures, and interpretation of radiologic and pathologic results. While on the inpatient services, the fellow will also perform consultation for patients whose primary condition is non-GI related. The fellow performs procedures on all inpatients and patients seen in consultation.

Second and third year fellows spend the majority of their time in the research setting (see “Research” section). The fellow will continue to have half day of continuity clinic each week at the main hospital. Additionally, the fellow will rotate through various subspecialty clinics (see below). The fellow will have two half-day procedure sessions each month during the second and third years.

During the second year, the fellow will spend one month with the GI Transplant team at Georgetown University Hospital, under the direct supervision of Stuart Kaufman, MD, medical director of pediatric transplantation. The objective is to gain an understanding and appreciation of the evaluation and perioperative care of patients undergoing liver and small bowel transplants.

Monthly Block Rotation Schedule

Year 1

7 GI
3 IR
1 Research/ Nutrition
1 Vacation
1/2 day continuity clinic/week

During IR rotation, fellow will attend the following clinics on a weekly basis: Liver, IR, and Transplant.

Research/ Nutrition elective will be divided into two, two-week blocks. Each block will consist of a half day of Nutrition/TPN, and a half day of research planning.

1-2 week GI and subspecialty ambulatory clinic blocks included in GI rotations.

Vacation will occur in one-week blocks.

Year 2*

1 GI
1 Georgetown transplant
1 Vacation

Year 3*

1 GI
1 IR
1 Vacation

*During 2nd and 3rd years:

Half day continuity clinic week
Half day outpatient procedures- 2x/month
Half day subspecialty clinic/month (IBD, Motility, Eosinophilic Esophagitis, Aerodigestive)
Half day liver clinic/month

Subspecialty Clinics

IBD
Motility
Eosinophilic Esophagitis
Aero digestive clinic
Liver
Intestinal Rehabilitation/Short Bowel
Transplant clinic

Call Schedule

Call is taken from home.
1st year: 2 weeknights/week
2nd and 3rd year: 1 weeknight/week

1:3 weekends
Friday 5pm – Monday 8am

Research

Research

First year fellows will discuss their general area of interest in research with the Program Director and seek advice on which faculty members inside and outside of the Division offer the best option for mentorship in that area. Fellows will meet regularly with their research mentors and collaborate with them to present research concepts and a hypothesis driven project to their Scholarship Oversight Committee (SOC) by the end of the second half of their first year of fellowship. Subsequently, during the second and third years, fellows will be required to meet regularly with their SOC for comprehensive oversight and assessment of the progress of each fellow. SOCs will endorse fellow accomplishments for the American Board of Pediatrics and verify that the Scholarly Activity requirement has been met.

In addition, fellows may meet on an ad-hoc basis whenever there is an unresolved issue and/or concern about their progress or resource needs, a need to review important findings, or in preparation for important events (i.e. fellow’s research presentation within the institution).

The research elective during the fall of the first year is dedicated time for the fellow to explore potential research projects for the second and third years. The fellow will use this time to meet with potential principal investigators, select a project and mentor, and begin to structure the scholarly work product. The proposed project is presented to the scholarship oversight committee in the spring of the first year. The fellow is expected to produce a work product fit for submission to a peer-reviewed journal.

Sources of funding

Fellows have guaranteed salary support during the second and third years, which allows for increased flexibility in seeking a project and mentor. Fellows are encouraged to select an interesting and meaningful project that will strengthen their foundation in academic medicine. Fellows are encouraged to look within the main campus at Children’s National, as well as outside institutions including, but not limited to, the George Washington University Health Sciences Center and Georgetown University Medical Center, both in Washington, DC, and the National Institutes of Health, in nearby Bethesda, MD.

Research Timeline

Year 1

  • The fellow will participate in a research rotation, divided into two 2-week blocks between October-January
  • Select research project by March
  • SOC meeting by May
  • Complete required training (ie. for animal research), obtain badge, etc, in time to begin research in July of Year 2

Years 2/3

  • The SOC will meet at least semiannually to monitor the fellow’s research progress
  • The fellow will aim to begin structuring the written part of the work product at least six months prior to the completion of fellowship

Additional research

Fellows are required to participate in an ancillary research project in addition to their scholarly work activity. This usually consists of a clinical project under the mentorship of a faculty member.

Research Presentation Opportunities

Fellows are highly encouraged to submit their work for international, national, or local presentation. Opportunities include, but are not limited to:

  • Children’s National Research Day
  • North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition (NASPGHAN) Annual Meeting
  • Digestive Diseases Week (DDW)
  • American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD), The Liver Meeting

Sample of Recent/Current Research Projects Within the Division:

Biomarker Discovery Utilizing MicroRNA (miRNA), Genomics, and Proteomics for Detection of Disease Activity and Response to Medications in Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

Assessment of a Feeding Difficulties Diagnostic Tool Questionnaire for Children with Oral Feeding Resistance

A Comparative Study of the Antiviral Efficacy and Safety of Entecavir (ETV) versus Placebo in Pediatric Subjects with Chronic Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) Infection who are HBeAg-Positive

What is the Current North American Standard of Practice for the Ongoing Evaluation and Management of Children with Celiac Disease?

Education

Education

Education is a key aspect of the program. In addition to division, hospital, and specialty wide conferences, fellows are expected to perform self-directed reading of pertinent textbooks and journals, effectively search the medical literature, and critically evaluate the medical literature.

GI Division Conferences

The fellow will be directly involved with a variety of scholarly activities, including a structured set of GI teaching conferences that they will be responsible for participating in and leading. The conferences will include journal clubs, case-based seminars covering key GI clinical and basic science topics, pathology and radiology conferences. All division conferences are protected time for fellows.

Fellows will also regularly provide informal teaching for residents and students rotating on the GI service.

Summary of regularly scheduled teaching conferences

  • Radiology Rounds - monthly
  • Pathology Rounds - monthly
  • Journal Club
  • Morbidity and Mortality
  • GI pathology review - one-on-one review of GI histology teaching cases between first year fellow and pathologist every other week

Fellows Core Competency Curriculum

All fellows are required to participate in the Fellows’ Core Competency curriculum in order to meet ACGME requirements. The Core Curriculum is protected time for fellows. This curriculum includes monthly two hour seminars and workshops teaching a variety of common topics required by the ACGME and American Board of Pediatrics. Fellows are grouped by year, with the sessions focusing on issues relevant to that year of fellowship. The topics revolve around the six ACGME core competencies: research, quality improvement, administration, medical education, leadership and professionalism.

Other Children’s National Conferences

Fellows are encouraged to attend hospital-wide educational conferences including, but not limited to:

  • Grand Rounds - Wednesday
  • Professorial Rounds - Thursday
  • Subspecialty Conferences
  • Small group resident and medical student teaching
How to Apply

How to Apply

Our program participates in the NRMP Match. Applications should be submitted through ERAS.

Please contact Pam King Fellowship Program Coordinator, if you have any questions (pking@childrensnational.org, 202-476-2516).

Faculty and Staff

Faculty and Staff

There are 12 gastroenterologists on staff, all of whom  supervise subspecialty fellows in caring for patients in the areas of inpatient, outpatient and procedural services.

Vahe Badalyan, MD, MBA
Dr. Badaylan graduated from CNHS GI fellowship program, during which time he completed research training at the National Institutes of Health.  He was previously Chief Resident of Pediatrics at INOVA Fairfax Hospital, and has taken the lead on several technology-related initiatives to improve the delivery of patient care.

Ali Bader, MD
Dr. Bader’s primary area of expertise is his clinical skill and experience as a general GI practitioner and expert proceduralist.  Dr. Bader also helps precept trainees in fellows continuity clinic.

Laurie Conklin, MD
Director, Inflammatory Bowel Disease Program

Dr. Conklin has taken the lead in developing the clinical IBD program, and is involved in several active research studies as part of her joint appointment in CNHS’s Sheik Zayed Institute for Surgical Innovation.  Dr. Conklin was Chief Resident of Pediatrics at Cornell/Presbyterian, and is an active member of our teaching faculty.

Anil Darbari, MD, MBD-MHS
Director, Comprehensive Motility Program

Dr. Darbari joined our faculty in 2010, and has developed our Comprehensive Motility Program.  He is one of a few pediatric experts experienced in the full spectrum of motility procedures

Benny Kerzner, MD
Professor Emeritus

Dr. Kerzner is  recognized nationally and internationally as an outstanding clinician with expertise in IBD and feeding disorders.

Muhammad Khan, MD, MPH
Director, Endoscopy Unit

Dr. Khan completed his fellowship at Stanford and joined our faculty in 2011.  He has a special interest in pancreaticobiliary disorders, and endoscopic evaluation and therapy, including ERCP. 

Seema Khan, MD
Dr. Seema Khan completed her fellowship at Pittsburgh and joined our faculty in 2011, after spending several years at A.I. .DuPont Hospital. She has a research background in intestinal allergy, and heads our multidisciplinary Eosinophilic Esophagitis Clinic along with the director of CNHS’s Food Allergy Program.

Parvathi Mohan, MD
Director, Hepatology Program

Dr. Mohan heads our Hepatology program and shares the majority of the inpatient coverage for the Intestinal Rehabilitation/Transplant/Liver Service with Dr. Torres. She continues to be involved in several national hepatology research consortiums and is a well respected regional expert in liver disease, especially in the areas of infectious hepatitis, acute liver failure, short bowel syndrome and intestinal and liver transplantation. She has developed an active clinical research program, with a special focus on infectious hepatitis. 

Sona Sehgal, MD
Dr. Sehgal is experienced in the full spectrum of general GI problems and has developed a special interest in aerodigestive disorders.  She runs the multi-disciplinary Aerodigestive Clinic with our ENT and Speech colleagues.

John Snyder, MD
Division Chief

Dr. Snyder has grown the Division from five to 12 faculty members since joining CNHS as division chief in 2007.  He is well-known for his work in celiac disease and international health, and initiated the establishment of the fellowship program.

Clara Torres, MD
Director, Intestinal Rehabilitation/Transplant/Liver Program

Dr. Torres has developed a national and international reputation as an expert in intestinal rehabilitation and transplantation.  She has developed an active clinical research program, with a special focus on short bowel syndrome.

Jaime Liou Wolfe, MD
Fellowship Program Director

Dr. Wolfe has served as Fellowship Program Director since 2012.  Dr. Wolfe completed a chief residency in pediatrics, and has continued her particular interest in education, also overseeing the division’s resident and medical student rotations.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Are fellows provided a stipend for conferences, travel, etc?

Yes, an annual stipend is provided for use towards various educational purposes.

Q. Do the fellows work with residents on the wards?

The inpatient GI and IRL teams consist of 2 interns and a senior resident who are on rotation in the GI/IRL services.

Q. Are there additional professional development opportunities available beyond the standard fellowship curriculum?

Fellows have the opportunity to pursue advanced programs in professional development, available through George Washington University School of Medicine.

Jacob's Story

Patient story

"Jacob is now five years old and his liver has completely regenerated itself. He goes to preschool, has friends, wears a backpack, and is the comedian of his class."

Read More of Jacob's Story