Fellowships

Fellowships

Find out more

For information about our fellowships or to schedule an interview, please contact Marc P. Posner, M.D., professor and head of VCU Division of Transplantation Surgery.

Phone: (804) 828-9289
Email: mposner@mcvh-vcu.edu

The Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center now offers two fellowships within the Hume-Lee Transplant Center: a nephrology fellowship approved by the American Society of Transplantation and a two-year transplant surgery fellowship approved by the American Society of Transplant Surgeons.

Fellowship training in transplantation began at VCU in 1969, with more than 300 fellows receiving their training here in kidney and liver transplantation. The kidney transplant fellowship has been accredited continuously by ASTS since 1981 and the liver transplant fellowship since 1996.

A fellowship is offered to one fully trained general surgeon each year.

Program details

The clinical transplant program includes liver, kidney and pancreatic transplantation, and is currently supervised by five transplant surgeons, transplant nephrologists, transplant hepatologists and an immunologist.

Specialized care of kidney, liver and pancreatic transplant recipients takes place in an intermediate care transplant unit, while a multidisciplinary transplant clinic run by nephrologists, hepatologists and surgeons hosts all preoperative evaluations as well as long-term postoperative follow-ups. The program also includes nurse practitioners, physician assistants, a transplant pharmacist, a transplant infectious disease physician, transplant coordinators, nurses and an administrator.

Each year, our center performs 50 to 60 whole, segmental and living-donor liver transplants, 125 living and deceased kidney transplants and six to 12 simultaneous kidney-pancreas transplants. An additional 400 or so major surgical cases are performed on dialysis and transplant patients per year.

Our patient and graft survival results in kidney transplantation historically have been well above the national average — a reflection of the quality of our transplant program and our ongoing commitment to meticulous patient care. Our center has one of the longest continuous transplant records in the world, with some cases of kidney transplant patient survival exceeding 25 years.

Responsibilities

Transplant fellowship training at the VCU Medical Center always has been highly sought after because the training is, and always has been, a hands-on experience for the fellow. Our high volume of evaluation, work-up and postoperative care of transplant recipients provides fellows and surgical residents a broad range of clinical experience in transplantation.

Clinical

Once a transplant fellow gains appropriate experience, he or she is responsible for organ donor management and procurement, which typically involves multi-organ donation. The Central and Eastern Virginia catchment area generates more than 90 donors per year, including 25 to 30 fly-outs.

Research

The transplant fellow also has the opportunity to participate in clinical and basic experimental transplantation and transplant immunology. Fellows have the option to elect a one-year research experience under the direction of one Ph.D. and/or four doctors in areas including histocompatibility, lymphocyte subsets, HLA matching, serologic reactions to transplantation, newer immunosuppressive drugs, solid organ transplantation, infections in transplantation, hepatocyte and islet cell transplantation, transplantation tumor biology, the field of antigens and antibodies, whole liver and small bowel transplant.

Research activities are supported by extensive modern laboratory facilities, technicians and local and federal grants.

While fellows are encouraged to spend a year supplementing their clinical experience with a strong research background, it is not mandatory. Fellows may opt for a single year of clinical transplantation, or two years combined clinical and research experience. While on clinical rotation, fellows will be strongly encouraged to conduct inquiries into a clinical research field pertaining to transplantation that results in a presentation at a national meeting or publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

Qualifications

Graduates of foreign medical schools must have passed their Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates requirements, including the Visa Qualifying Examination or the Foreign Medical Graduate Examination in the Medical Sciences.

Prospective fellowship applicants are encouraged to visit us in order to meet the surgical and immunological preceptors involved, talk to the current fellow and gain a true feeling for the quality of the program.

Decisions about each year’s transplant fellow are generally made in the fall of the preceding one to two years, so please arrange interviews as early as possible. Annual fellowship salaries are commensurate with experience.