We appreciate your interest in the Gastroenterology and Hepatology fellowship training program at Cleveland Clinic Florida. Our department consists of eight gastroenterologists, two transplant hepatologists, and six fellows. The goal of our training program is to provide our fellows with a learning environment that will allow them to develop into competent gastroenterologists. Our center is uniquely poised to develop skills that the trainee can subsequently transfer into either a private practice setting or an academic setting.
The endoscopy suite consists of five procedure rooms where the majority of inpatient and outpatient endoscopic procedures are performed. In the endoscopy suite, the fellow gradually becomes comfortable and experienced with diagnostic and therapeutic endoscopy and colonoscopy. Each fellow is expected to perform about 800 colonoscopies and 700 upper endoscopies throughout their training. In addition, fellows are introduced to and gain experience in advanced endoscopic procedures such as ERCP, EUS, EMR, and POEM.
Fellows will gain experience to a wide variety of gastrointestinal and liver diseases and during the second half of their training may elect to focus on various sub-specialties within gastroenterology and work with a mentor in inflammatory bowel disease, inherited cancer syndromes, motility, hepato-biliary, and nutrition.
We invite you to explore the website to learn more about the GI fellowship program that we offer.
Fernando Castro, MD
Curriculum & Schedule
The schedule is divided into thirteen 4-week blocks. The schedule is designed to provide first year fellows maximum time and experience in the inpatient setting as well as in endoscopy so they become comfortable with the foundations of GI. First year fellows do an average of six inpatient blocks and three endoscopy blocks. As training advances, the fellows is allowed to tailor their schedule while taking into account their inpatient responsibilities. Second year fellows do four inpatient blocks, and third year fellows are responsible for two inpatient blocks. During the second and third year, fellows are provided ample opportunity to experience “real world” gastroenterology with more time spent in outpatient/specialty clinics and endoscopy.
Fellows are responsible for a weekly half day continuity clinic. During their three years of training, fellows will build a panel of patients through new referrals, hospital follows ups, and inherited patients from previous fellows’ clinics. Fellows will precept all patients with either Dr. Castro or Dr. Pimentel. Fellows are also expected to perform procedures on their patients when necessary.
The GI training program provides a robust, multi-disciplinary, academic environment.
State of the Art: An attending is responsible for presenting a topic of their clinical/research interest to the department. The attendings provide a critical review of the literature and analysis of the latest in evidence based gastroenterology.
Management Conference: The fellow is selected to provide a case based presentation of both common and uncommon GI illnesses. This is a dynamic and interactive conference where the fellow provides the latest updates on the pathophysiology, diagnosis, and management of a topic of their choosing.
Journal Club: A monthly conference that is mentored by a different attending each month. The attending is responsible for choosing four articles that fall within their area of clinical/research interest. Four fellows will each present a brief review and analysis of the chosen article which is followed by questions and discussion.
Board Review: Board review is conducted twice a month. It’s an interactive session amongst faculty and fellows. Questions, answers, and discussions are drawn from a variety of resources including DDSEP, ACG and Steinberg’s Review.
IBD Conference: A monthly multi-disciplinary conference including GI, colorectal surgery, pathology, and radiology. Unique and challenging cases are presented, and this is followed by a group discussion on issues pertaining to each case.
Upper GI Oncology Conference: A monthly multi-disciplinary conference including GI, general surgery, hepato-biliary surgery, oncology, radiology, and pathology. Cases are presented after which a discussion regarding diagnosis and medical and surgical management is conducted.
Basic Sciences: A monthly, fellow driven conference where a chapter from Sleissenger and Fordtram’s textbook is reviewed.
Radiology Conference: A monthly conference conducted by a staff abdominal/body radiologist. At the beginning of the academic year, the conferences highlight the principles of GI imaging such as CT enterography and MRCP. As the year progresses, conferences focus on the analysis and interpretation of radiographic imaging in a case based format.
Pathology conference: Cases and their associated pathology are reviewed with the staff GI pathologist.
Research/QI conference: During this monthly conference, the fellows and attendings discuss research ideas and proposals. This forum also allows for fellows to provide updates on ongoing research in addition to updates on their quality improvement projects. Prior to an abstract presentation at conferences, fellows have the opportunity to rehearse their presentations and receive feedback and critique from their faculty and colleagues.
Gastroenterology Consult Service: The fellow is taught how to manage the hospitalized patient with GI disease in a cost effective and expedient fashion. The fellow is responsible for all GI consults that are received from the emergency department, wards, and ICU’s. Each block is usually four weeks long. The fellow is supervised and mentored by an attending who is responsible for the GI service. The on-call fellow will perform all inpatient procedures during regular hours. The fellow is exposed to a wide breath of GI pathology. The average census for the inpatient service is between 10-15 patients.
Hepatology Inpatient and Consult Service: The overall educational goal of this service is for the fellow to learn how to manage the hospitalized patient with liver disease in an effective and cost-effective manner. The fellow is responsible for those patients with complications of chronic liver disease, awaiting liver transplant, undergoing pre-transplant evaluation, and those with fulminant liver failure. In addition, the fellow is responsible for consultative services for patients with liver disease. The fellow will participate in multi-disciplinary transplant rounds as well as have the opportunity to attend and participate in the selection committee, chemical dependency committee, and weekly liver tumor board.
Endoscopy: Under the direct supervision of an attending, fellows are introduced to the basic principles of endoscopy at the very beginning of their training. During their endoscopy rotation, the fellow will become proficient in diagnostic and therapeutic endoscopy and colonoscopy. As their training advances, fellows have the opportunity to participate and gain experience in advanced endoscopic procedures such as ERPC, EUS, EMR, and POEM. While fellows gain adequate experience in advanced endoscopy, the goal of the three year fellowship is not obtain credentialing in advanced endoscopy as that is obtained after successful completion of a fourth year, advanced endoscopy fellowship.
Outpatient: During the outpatient rotation, the fellow is assigned to one attending and exposed to a variety of GI diseases. At the beginning of their training, the fellow is encouraged to build a foundation of general gastroenterology, however as their training progresses, fellows have the opportunity to tailor their outpatient experience to suit their clinical interests. Fellows have the opportunity to focus on hepatology, motility, nutrition, inflammatory bowel disease, hepatobiliary, or hereditary cancer syndromes.
Manometry and Capsule Endoscopy: During their training, the fellow will learn the methodology and interpretation of esophageal manometry, impedance and pH testing, capsule endoscopy, and breath testing. Fellows also gain experience in evaluating and interpreting capsule endoscopy. The fellow is responsible for the initial interpretation of all capsule endoscopies and their findings are reviewed with the ordering attending. Manometry and capsule endoscopy are incorporated into the outpatient rotation.
How to Apply
The Gastroenterology Fellowship Program participates in the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS) for all positions. You must complete all components of the ERAS Application in order for your application to be considered complete and to be reviewed by the Selection Committee. The selection committee will review all the applications received and grant an interview based on the overall qualifications of the applicant.
Visa information – We sponsor J-1 and H-1B visas
Please refer to the table below for new salary rates, effective July 1, 2018:
|Grad Level||Current Pay Rate|
Paid Time Away: Vacation, Maternity, & Paternity
- Vacation: 3 weeks (15 working days) provided at the beginning of each academic year
- Maternity: 6 weeks paid leave for natural childbirth or adoption; 8 weeks for cesarean section. Additional time off unpaid up to a maximum of 12 weeks under the Family Medical Leave Act.
- Paternity: 2 weeks paid leave. Additional time off unpaid up to a maximum of 12 weeks under the Family Medical Leave Act.
- Healthcare: Cleveland Clinic Florida covers 50% of annual Healthcare Plans for Clinical Trainees and their families. Effective on the first day of training with no waiting period.
- Dental and Vision Care: Cleveland Clinic Florida covers 100% of annual Dental and Vision Care Plans for Clinical Trainees.
- Maternity Care: 100% coverage is provided through the health care plan that you select within the plan's guidelines.
- Pharmaceuticals: As outlined by the Cleveland Clinic Florida Health Plan.
- Malpractice: Paid by the Cleveland Clinic Educational Foundation/Cleveland Clinic Florida. Limited to activities within the training program.
- Life Insurance: $25,000 term group policy.
Travel Privileges and Other Education Activities
Senior residents, chief residents, and fellows in ACGME and NON-ACGME programs that meet eligibly criteria as outlined in the Graduate Physicians Manual may be approved to attend academic meetings for the purpose of presenting or engaging in leadership roles within national societies will be eligible up to 5 days per academic year with a maximum reimbursement of $1,200 per academic year.
- Book Allowance: A $250 educational allowance per year is available to all clinical residents/fellows. Primary use is for textbooks.
- On-call Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner: Paid by Cleveland Clinic Florida when on in house night call.
- Membership: AAN membership paid for by the program
- Cell phones: Apple iPhone provided to all residents
- Uniforms: Supplied by Cleveland Clinic Florida.
Associate Program Director
Class of 2019
- Jose Melendez-Rosado, MD
- Nikhil Kapila, MD
Class of 2020
- Vaibhav Wadhwa, MD
- Asad ur Rahman, MD
Class of 2021
- Daniel Castaneda Mayorga, MD
- Badar Hasan, MD
The Gastroenterology training program began in 2004 with 2 fellows and gradually expanded to our current complement of six fellows by 2013. We have had the same program director over this time period and all of our graduates have passed their boards in their first attempt. The names, positions and additional training of our graduates are below:
Daniel Moore, MD (graduate 2007) conducting a private practice in Quincy, Illinois his home state
Ramu Raju, MD (graduate 2007) did advanced endoscopy fellowship at Maine Medical Center and MD Anderson and currently in private practice in Boulder, Colorado
Tolga Erim, DO (graduate 2009) did advanced endoscopy fellowship at Beth Israel, Boston and subsequently joined our faculty at Cleveland Clinic
German Gonzalez, MD (graduate 2010) private practice in South Florida
Matthew Thoma, MD (graduate 2010) subspecialty in endoscopic ultrasound, private practice in South Carolina
Einar Lurix, MD (graduate 2012) private practice in South Carolina
Brenda Jimenez, MD (graduate 2013) was recruited to join our faculty at Cleveland Clinic where she has a special interest in hereditary colon cancer
Jorge Zapatier, MD (graduate 2013) private practice in Des Moines, Iowa
John Rivas, MD (graduate 2014) did transplant hepatology fellowship at Cleveland Clinic Ohio and subsequently joined our faculty at Cleveland Clinic Florida
Mariann Padron, MD (graduate 2015) private practice in Worcester, Massachusetts
Brent Murchie, MD (graduate 2016) private practice in Sarasota, Florida
Alicia Alvarez, MD (graduate 2016) advanced endoscopy fellowship at Beth Israel, Boston and subsequently joined private practice in South Florida
Bahaa Ismail, MD (graduate 2017) academic practice at University of Kentucky
Amar Podugu, MD (graduate 2017) private practice in Canton, Ohio
Leyla Maric, MD (graduate 2018) Cleveland Clinic Florida
Sandra Rodriguez (graduate 2018) private practice in South Florida
For More Information Contact
Cleveland Clinic Florida
2950 Cleveland Clinic Boulevard
Weston, Florida 33331