Pulmonary and Critical Care Fellowship Program

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The fellowship program is designed to train physicians who have successfully completed an internal medicine residency program in the subspecialties of pulmonary and critical care. The fellowship program is accredited by the ACGME for 12 Fellows (four fellows/year). The program is supported by the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center and University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, as well as NIH funded training grants.

Under the direction of Steven Strausbaugh, MD, FCCP, CPI, the philosophy of the program is to produce excellent clinicians with a research focus to succeed as leaders in academic medicine. The program is designed according to the ACGME guidelines and is a three-year program leading to board eligibility in both pulmonary medicine as well as critical care medicine. The program has an 18-20 month clinical component and a 16-18 month research component. The first year of the program is clinical. The next two years each have eight to nine months of dedicated research time with three to four months of clinical time scattered throughout the year. The clinical training is dedicated to acquiring all cognitive and physical skills necessary to be an excellent pulmonary and critical care physician (intensive care medicine, pulmonary medicine, arterial lines, central lines, endotracheal intubation, hemodynamic monitoring, pulmonary artery catheters, pulmonary function testing, cardiopulmonary exercise testing, interventional bronchoscopy, pleural biopsy, transthoracic fine needle aspirate, closed-tube thoracostomy, thoracentesis, presentation and public speaking skills). Fellows take electives throughout their three years in the program including rotations in the CICU, SICU, thoracic surgery, trauma, and chest radiology. The program encompasses both the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center and UH Cleveland Medical Center. The entire Pulmonary and Critical Care faculty mentors the trainees during their clinical training. Bi-annual formal evaluation is given through the program director and Division Chief.

To determine the fellows research focus, during the first year of the fellowship all fellows are assigned a faculty mentor to guide early clinical and research interests. Fellows also meet with Rodney Folz, MD, PhD, and Steven Strausbaugh, MD, to understand their areas of interest, and obtain guidance in selecting a research mentor and lab. The fellows have the entire division, department and Case Western Reserve University campus to draw upon to get the best mentorship and training possible. Upon mutual agreement of the fellow, Rodney Folz, MD, PhD, Steven Strausbaugh, MD, and the identified mentor, research training begins the second year of the fellowship. Fellows are required to write a research proposal for divisional review prior to the initiation of their research time. In addition, fellows are required to give yearly research conferences to the division to keep abreast of their research project. All fellows in a research path are strongly encouraged to write an American Lung Association Fellowship grant at the start of their third year as part of their training. Abstract presentation at a national meeting is required for completion of the program.

Upon completion of the fellowship a fourth research year is possible, and is decided on a case-by-case basis. The offer of a fourth year is dependent on success during the fellow’s research program, growth during the research project, and dedication to an academic career.

In this training program our fellows have been successful in obtaining entry level funding through the American Heart Association, and the SmithKline Foundation. In addition, we have been successful in identifying those individuals that have an interest in academic medicine to retain in academic positions.