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Gastroenterology Fellowship


We have three hours of educational conferences weekly, with the explicit goals of providing the essential medical knowledge needed to become an expert consultant in gastroenterology and hepatology, preparing our fellows for success on the ABIM certifying exam, and developing the skills needed for life-long learning.   Our conferences are prepared and delivered by the fellows and faculty of our section, as well as our colleagues in surgery, pathology, and radiology.  The format of our conferences consists not only of a didactic presentation, but substantial time is reserved for discussion among the fellows and faculty.  Because of the collegial nature and diverse training backgrounds of our fellows and faculty, spirited discussions of differing points of view are a standard feature of our conferences.

GI Core Curriculum

This conference focuses on the key topics of our subspecialty and is designed to cover each of these topics over an 18-month period of time.  This allows each fellow to be exposed to each subject matter in this format twice over the course of his or her fellowship.  These presentations typically focus on the evaluation and management of the core diseases of our subspecialty, as well as the underlying basic science and pathophysiology. 

GI Case Conference

These case-based conferences focus on the evaluation and management of interesting and instructive cases of gastrointestinal and liver disease, with an emphasis on the underlying evidence that guides our practice.  The cases discussed include inpatients and outpatients, cognitive and procedural challenges, and acute and chronic illnesses across the spectrum of our subspecialty.   These presentations and discussions include the radiologic, pathologic, and surgical components of the evaluation and management of these patients.

Liver Conference – cases are presented by GI Fellows to our Hepatology faculty.  These cases focus on diagnostic challenges, management of unusual liver diseases, updates in the treatment of viral hepatitis, and the prominent role of liver transplantation in the management of acute liver failure and chronic liver disease.   These hepatologists from the Carolinas Medical Center Liver Transplant program have a Wake Forest faculty appointment and are an integral part of our fellowship training program.

Radiology Conference –  cases are presented by GI Fellows to the faculty of our GI Radiology department.  The teaching in this conference emphasizes the optimal utility of the various imaging and intervention techniques used in the evaluation and management of patients with GI and Liver diseases.  There is also an emphasis on developing the skills of the GI fellows and faculty in the interpretation of plain films, CT, ultrasound, and MRI of the gastrointestinal tract.

Pathology Conference – cases are presented by GI Fellows to the faculty of our GI Pathology department.   This conference accentuates the central role that histology plays in the evaluation and management of GI and Liver disease, with an emphasis on developing the skills of the GI fellows and faculty in the interpretation of biopsies of the gastrointestinal tract and liver.

GI Surgery Conference – challenging cases are presented by Surgery faculty and residents, as well as GI faculty and fellows.  Cases are selected for which there is insufficient evidence to guide a straightforward management plan.  Robust discussions rely on the in-the-trenches experience of the faculty and fellows as various clinical strategies are debated.

GI Oncology Conferences – these working conferences involve an in-depth discussion of patients with newly-diagnosed cancers of the GI tract and liver.  Surgical oncologists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, interventional radiologists, diagnostic radiologists, and gastroenterologists work collaboratively to design the best treatment plan for each patient.  These specialists review and rely heavily on the best available evidence to guide these discussions.

Morbidity and Mortality Conference – we have a passion for quality care at Wake Forest, and we take each of our complications very seriously.  In this closed meeting for faculty and fellows, we examine each case to try to understand what went wrong and how the complication could have been prevented.   This is a positive, collaborative process, guided by an attitude of humility and respect, with the fundamental goal of learning from each other’s mistakes and improving care for our patients in the future.

Research Conference

Our research conference serves several different functions.   There are didactic sessions on how to achieve success in a research project, including how best to work through the IRB process, and tips on preparing a manuscript for submission for publication, for example.  This conference also serves as a venue where fellows and faculty present their clinical and quality research projects in progress, in order to get ideas for improvement from the group.  In the same vein, conference time just prior to our national meetings (DDW, ACG, AALSD) is used by fellows and faculty to get feedback in preparation for their poster and oral presentations.

Nutrition Conference

This interdisciplinary conference consists of a round-table discussion with nutritionists, PharmDs, and gastroenterologists discussing challenges of enteral and parenteral nutrition.   In addition to discussion of individual patients, there is a focus on the evidence which guides best practices in nutritional support.

Board Review Conference

A primary goal of our fellowship is for each fellow to pass the ABIM exam in Gastroenterology on the first attempt.  In this conference, a GI faculty presents a brief didactic session focused on knowledge expected to be covered on the certifying exam, followed by an interactive discussion of practice board exam questions with the fellows.

Quick Reference

Gastroenterology Fellowship Program Director


Joel Bruggen, MD
Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center
Medical Center Boulevard
Winston-Salem, NC  27157
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Last Updated: 09-07-2017
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