|Letter to Prospective Fellows|
I am delighted to hear of your interest in our program. Our fully accredited three-year program combines research and clinical experiences that makes our graduates eligible for the American Board of Pediatrics Subspecialty Board in Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine. The major goal of our program is to prepare neonatologists for academic careers. Therefore, we place heavy emphasis on excellence in basic science and clinical research with up to two thirds of the fellowship time dedicated to research. Currently, we have ten fellows enrolled in our fellowship program. Our 14 board-certified neonatologists will enrich your clinical training. A competitive salary, health insurance, malpractice coverage, vacation/sick leave, and approved moonlighting opportunities are provided.
The University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine, which has been ranked "Best Up-and-Coming" by US News and World Report by deans and heads of medical departments, provides a rich and diverse environment that will facilitate a successful training experience. Areas of current research interest include control of pulmonary circulation, pulmonary hypertension, neonatal infections, oxygen free-radicals and antioxidants, assisted ventilation, mediators of infection and inflammation, necrotizing enterocolitis, developmental immunology, perinatal epidemiology and clinical trials. Depending on your research interests, you can choose to work in one of these areas or in one of the many other areas in which faculty members of the Department and the University could provide mentorship. While we advise the fellows and assist them in the design of their projects, they are never required to work in a specific laboratory or mentor and it is ultimately the fellow who selects the laboratory and mentor of his/her choice. Interaction with faculty members from basic science departments is strongly encouraged. Presently, our neonatology fellows collaborate in their research with members from the Departments of Pediatrics, Anesthesiology, Physiology and Biophysics, Obstetrics/Gynecology, Surgery, Medicine. Six full-time research nurses support fellows and faculty members on clinical research projects. In addition, you may also have the opportunity to pursue a Master of Public Health, Masters in Clinical Research, or Masters/Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology or other basic science fields at UAB. Most of these programs can be completed in three years, which will allow integration into the fellowship training program. This additional opportunity will add significantly to your academic credentials and research potential.
Your clinical experience will focus on supervisory activities and will be accomplished in our two neonatal intensive care units, a 120 bed unit at the University of Alabama Hospital (a 900 bed facility), and a 48 bed unit at The Children's Hospital of Alabama (a 300 bed facility). Over 1800 admissions to these NICUs come from a large maternal and neonatal referral population, assuring you of a broad clinical experience. The University Hospital has been rated as one of the best in the country. The Children's Hospital is the only hospital in Alabama dedicated exclusively to the care of infants and children. Our NICU at The Children's Hospital cares for a broad variety of general and subspecialty pediatric surgical problems and serves as the site of our ECMO program.
The University of Alabama at Birmingham has 11 perinatologists from the Maternal-Fetal Medicine Division who supervise approximately 4,000 pregnancies each year at our delivery service. Pediatric residents from our excellent training program and neonatal nurse practitioners provide primary care, delivery room attendance, and well baby care. The fellows have a supervisory role.
A broad and complete educational component of our fellowship training program will complement your research and clinical experiences. Neonatal Patient Management Conferences, Perinatal Grand Rounds, and Developmental Physiology and Pathophysiology Seminars are held weekly while Perinatal Mortality Conferences as well as perinatal journal clubs, and research seminars are held monthly. Guest speakers and visiting professors enrich these educational opportunities. These conferences are in addition to other educational activities of the Department of Pediatrics and the Medical School. Special yearly courses that cover study design, grant writing, data analysis, and publication will introduce you and other fellows to biomedical research.
Finally, Birmingham is a wonderful city in which to live, offering a wide array of cultural, artistic and sport activities. The Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center, one of the largest entertainment complexes in the southeast, is in continuous use for sporting events, theatrical productions, musical shows, and other spectacular events. Birmingham also has an active arts and sociocultural community with the State of Alabama Ballet, The Birmingham Museum of Art, the world's oldest continuing arts festival, the Birmingham Zoo, and the Botanical and Japanese Gardens. Lakes, Gulf of Mexico beaches, state parks, mountains, and waterfalls provide for ample outdoor life and sports. We are within a few hours driving to the gulf coast and the Blue Ridge Mountains.
In summary, our primary interest is to train academic neonatologists. Our fellowship training program is designed to assure you a very positive and comprehensive experience.
We are committed to your success, as that will be one of the primary measures of our Division's performance.
Namasavayan Ambalavanan, M.D.
The University of Alabama at Birmingham