Fellows must accumulate at least 12 months of direct clinical experience in Pulmonary Disease (PD) on Wards and Consultations during the 36-month program to apply for Board Exams in Pulmonary Disease. Eligibility in Critical Care Medicine (CCM) also requires at least 12 months additional clinical experience in Intensive Care Units. In our three-year combined Pulmonary Disease and Critical Care Medicine training program, six months of qualifying clinical training can be applied to both PD and CCM, thus allowing 18 months of clinical training to suffice for the usual 24 months required for Pulmonary Disease and Critical Care Medicine.
The first year curriculum and a portion of the second year curriculum are heavily oriented toward the clinical aspects of Pulmonary Disease and Critical Care Medicine. The entire third year and a portion of the second year are available for research time. Some fellows may opt for electives and teaching roles during the third year. Fellows spend one half-day a week in an outpatient setting following their own panel of patients. Opportunities for participation in subspecialty clinics (ILD, asthma, CF, etc.) are available during the second and third year. Participation in conferences and teaching activities spans the full three years.
The first year of fellowship is a clinical year with rotations on the Birmingham VA (BVA) ICU and the BVA Pulmonary Consultation/Sleep Service, Outpatient Procedures at the Kirklin Clinic (TKC), UAB Hospital (UH) Pulmonary and Intensive Care Consultation Service, and the UH MICU services. A typical schedule would include 1-2 months in the UH MICU, 3 months each of UH Consultation Services, TKC Outpatient Procedures, and University Consults. The other 1-2 months would be in the BVA ICU and/or BVA Consult/Sleep rotation.
Second year fellows will spend approximately half of the year in critical care rotations, with most of that time spent in the UH MICU. Additional clinical months are assigned based on career goals. Five to six months are available, however, for research endeavors. The second year class will attend a mini-quality improvement academy and develop a project that they will complete and report as a group.
For fellows pursuing academic medicine careers, the third year is devoted to research endeavors, working closely with a research mentor and setting goals for productivity. For fellows pursuing a career in private clinical practice or in an academic setting as a clinician-educator, the year will be divided into months devoted to research or mentored quality improvement projects, as well as some options for electives, depending on your area of interest.