Our conference schedule is extensive and allows for excellent education for our trainees. The overall schedule for conferences is designed by the Program Director and the Teaching/Training Committee in consultation with our Chief Fellow. We strive to bring in authorities in hepatology to augment our education program. Finally, our Piedmont Gut Club meetings provide a wonderful venue for our Fellows to hear national and international experts. The conferences are often attended by practicing gastroenterologists from throughout the area which allows for discussion and dialogue regarding "real world" practice. (Fellows are expected to attend at least 80% of all pertinent conferences/educational events to enhance their learning experience.)
Core Curriculum Conference takes place on a weekly basis. This conference aims to cover all aspects of the core training curriculum and is given predominantly by Faculty - Adult GI, Peds GI, Radiology, Pathology, Epidemiology and outside speakers. Certain conferences will emphasize GI Board preparedness with a question/answer format. Basic science topics are covered within the core curriculum lectures in order to improve understanding of the basic scientific principles which underlie our current practice of gastroenterology and hepatology. Each Fellow will be responsible for one basic science lecture that is comprehensive during each academic year.
Case Conference takes place on a weekly basis (alternating with Core Curriculum conference). This conference is a clinical exercise, in which interesting and instructive cases are presented and discussed in detail, focusing on diagnostic and treatment issues. The specific Fellow responsible for organizing this conference is determined on a rotating basis. He/she decides which cases will be presented, choosing from the consult, endoscopy, or clinic setting. The cases presented over the course of each year represent a broad spectrum of inpatient and ambulatory GI problems. The Fellow responsible for each Case Conference will see that all pertinent X-rays and pathology slides are brought to the conference. Depending on the anticipated length of the presentation and discussion, at least two cases are presented. The Fellows make liberal use of the literature so as to provide the latest evidence based knowledge/literature available.
The following conferences are also included as Case Conferences:
- Pathology Conference - The purpose of this conference is for the Fellows to achieve significant experience in reading luminal and liver biopsies. The Chief Fellow will coordinate with all other trainees for submitting a list of pathology cases for review to Dr. Geisinger one week prior to each conference. These cases are selected from recent endoscopic or surgical procedures. Dr. Geisinger will also bring cases from his teaching file, so that during the course of the year, the entire scope of gastroenterology and hepatology is covered.
- Radiology Conference - The conference takes an interdisciplinary approach supervised by a faculty radiologist and provides fundamental knowledge in interpreting plain films as well as cross-sectional imaging. The cases are compiled by alternating Fellows with GI Faculty guidance. Radiologic abnormalities and normal anatomy are discussed.
- Surgery Conference - Dr. Greg Waters (colorectal surgeon) from Department of Surgery, and Dr. Mishra, along with the Chief GI fellow and Surgical Chief work in concert to present cases involving combined GI and surgical decision making and treatment. The AGA core curriculum involving surgical topics will be addressed in this and other conferences.
Journal Club takes place monthly under the direction of Dr. Richard Bloomfeld. The purpose of this conference is to review the current medical literature in gastroenterology and hepatology, and to learn the process of critical appraisal. Two articles are presented at each conference (one by a Fellow and one by a Faculty member). The Fellows select and present articles. The articles are selected with the following attributes in mind: new information of significant clinical or basic research relevance, pertinence to the care of our patients, and controversial topics with conclusions that need to be affirmed or discredited. This conference focuses on original clinical or basic research, rather than review articles. Once a Fellow has selected an article, he/she discusses that article with Dr. Bloomfeld at least 2 weeks prior to the date of the Journal Club. Dr. Bloomfeld assists in the selection of articles and in defining the focus of the discussion. The Fellows responsible for each Journal Club see that all Faculty, Fellows, residents, and physician extenders receive a copy of the selected articles no later than the Friday morning preceding the Thursday conference. The fellow is expected to make a 5-10 minute presentation summarizing the methods, results, and conclusions of the article. The Fellow then offers a 5 minute critique of the article, including critical appraisal of the design and execution of the research, the appropriateness of the conclusions, and a comparison of the results to previously published information regarding the same topic. An informal discussion involving everyone participating in the conference occupies the remaining time in the 30 minutes allotted to each article.
Research Conference takes place monthly under the direction of Dr. Paul Dawson. This conference provides an opportunity for Faculty and Fellows to present their ongoing basic and clinical research to the section. The goals of this conference are not only educational, but also to increase awareness and facilitate ongoing research efforts and new research opportunities within the division. For the Fellows, this conference provides an overview of research opportunities in the section, assists in designing projects to fulfill their research requirement, and helps to monitor research progress. For the Faculty, this conference provides a forum to describe research opportunities for Fellows and to present their ongoing or new research projects. The conference focuses on the research process (project feasibility, how to initiate and fund a project, patient recruitment or tissue procurement, what assistance is needed to complete this project, what is the next step, etc.) rather than on simply presenting data. Visiting Faculty, and Faculty from other areas of the university, present research relevant to gastroenterology at this conference as well.
Morbidity and Mortality Conference takes place quarterly. The purpose of this conference is to review cases of patients under our care who have had undesirable outcomes. This includes, but is not limited to, cases of endoscopic complications. The format consists of case presentations followed by discussion of optimum management strategies, utilizing evidence from peer-reviewed publications when pertinent. Cases with the most learning potential are selected. It is the goal of this conference to learn from our past experiences, so as to improve the quality of patient care for the future.
Nutrition Conference: This conference is led by Dr. Richard Weinberg, a noted authority on nutrition and metabolism. This interdisciplinary conference meets every-other-month at noon and consists of a round-table discussion with nutritionists, PharmD, and dietitians. Topics such as short gut, malabsorption, vitamin deficiencies are discussed with relevant literature handed out ahead of time.
Additional non-mandatory but highly encouraged conferences include:
- GI Interdisciplinary Tumor Board
- Hepatobiliary Conference