It is my great honor to serve as the President of the Fellowship Council (FC). I am always amazed at the dedication of this group to the education and training of fellows in key surgical specialties.
Residency training has changed with the Blue-Ribbon Commission report. Trainees completing their general surgery residency now desire and pursue fellowship training. More than 80% of general surgery graduates are taking additional training for several reasons. Graduates feel that fellowship training allows them to achieve a higher level of comfort in a specific area of surgery, and they feel that it can be of help in securing a job of their liking. There are several pathways to obtain fellowship certification. This includes fellowships that are within the ACGME resulting in a board recognition. The FC provides a non-ACGME pathway to fellowship training in Minimally Invasive Surgery (MIS), Hepatopanctreaticobiliary (HPB), Bariatrics, Advanced Gastrointestinal surgery (GI), Colorectal/MIS surgery, Flexible Endoscopy and Thoracic surgery.
The unique nature of the Fellowship Council structure is based on significant input from sponsoring societies. These societies are SAGES, AHPBA, AHS, SSAT, ASCRS and ASMBS. The sponsoring society provides the curricular content and requirements for their specific fellowship type, which is vetted through the Fellowship Council process. These requirements are used by the Membership and Accreditation Committees of the FC. Programs apply for membership and are site visited to ensure that the fellow is placed into an educational and healthy work environment. After the site visit, the program is allowed to match a fellow through the Fellowship Council’s application and matching process. The program is then evaluated by the Accreditation Committee for final accreditation status. A program can have a maximum of three-year accreditation before another evaluation (online “paper” review or site visit) by the Accreditation Committee.
The FC structure is run by surgeons and therefore is set up to be focused on surgical training. The accreditation process is robust and results in an education- centered, stringent evaluation of every one of our fellowship programs. I can say with full confidence, that all of our programs have been looked at carefully and are educationally excellent. Our future is bright with a major investment in our IT infrastructure that will result in state-of-the-art tool for real time evaluation of our trainees, case log entry, smart phone availability, and roll out of an Entrustable Professional Activity (EPA) framework for fellowship training. We pride ourselves in being forward thinking and we are continuously looking for ways to improve the current state of our processes- we are always looking forward.
We are so pleased to have you involved in the FC. Whether you are an applicant applying to the matching process, a program director that is looking for information regarding our processes, or a program coordinator that we rely on so much, we are honored to have you as part of our team. It is a group effort with the trainee at the center of it. Please join us and make us stronger as we move towards being the leaders in surgical fellowship education in North America.
Rohan Jeyarajah, MD
The Fellowship Council