Education and Training
Obesity Medicine Board Certification and Teaching
Obesity Medicine Fellowship
Welcome to the University of Pittsburgh Obesity Medicine fellowship program. Our program is designed to fulfill the needs of trainees who anticipate their future activities to be solely clinical practice, those who expect to function as clinician-educators, and those who intend to pursue careers in clinical and/or basic-science obesity research. Our program recognizes that some trainees may evolve into specialists whose activities encompass more than one of the above career paths. The teaching environment and educational experiences for trainees will equip them to become strong clinicians, educators, and investigators.
The Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, and the Center for Obesity Medicine, provide a collegial community of faculty, trainees, and staff working in state-of-the-art clinical and research facilities. The clinical training program provides broad clinical exposure with a heady mixture of common disease and rare conditions. Our extensive inpatient and outpatient clinical activities are based at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital, UPMC Magee Women’s Hospital, UPMC Montefiore Hospital, and Children’s Hospital. The University of Pittsburgh ranks 4th among institutions of higher education in the United States; based on National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding. Our outstanding NIH T32-funded Training Program in Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism takes advantage of the rich scientific and clinical resources available at the University of Pittsburgh.
The City of Pittsburgh and its surrounding area offer vibrant and highly affordable communities with a wealth of resources to support personal development and foster the lifestyle balance critical to individual success. Please explore the website, contact us if you need more information and come for a visit.
Goals of fellowship
The goals of our fellowship program are to provide subspecialty training in the broad range of diseases that cause or are caused or affected by obesity, and the treatment of obesity itself, for physicians already trained and board-certified or eligible in Internal Medicine. Inpatient and outpatient experiences as well as multiple didactic sessions including conferences, lectures and seminars, foster trainee development and allow the trainee to become an expert in evaluation and management of obesity and related disorders. In outpatient clinics, fellows gain experience in the longitudinal care for treatment and health maintenance of patients. Humanistic and ethical behavior is stressed as a part of the training program.
Structure of fellowship
Our fellowship program is currently taking one fellow per year for a one-year fellowship. The trainees have the option to extend their training for an additional one or two years beyond the basic one-year program for the purposes of in-depth research training. The latter is intended for physicians who during their training will acquire not only the requisite clinical skill set and knowledge base to achieve subspecialty board certification in Obesity Medicine, but also the investigative skills to pursue a career in academic medicine. The trainees choosing the basic 1-year program will have a formally mentored, required research or quality improvement experience during their year of training.
Evaluation of Fellows
The fellowship program employs multiple methods to evaluate its trainees. These include individual attending evaluations of clinical performance, research mentor evaluation of research performance, and a personal portfolio review. These parameters are also employed to assess the quality and effectiveness of the training program. Meetings of the Curriculum faculty take place semi-annually and are attended by the fellows. The final meeting each year constitutes as the Annual Program Evaluation. Areas for improvement identified by the trainees and faculty are used to strengthen the program.
Sites of Clinical Training
The hospitals and clinics of the UPMC provide the venues for comprehensive clinical training. UPMC consistently receives honor roll distinction in the annual poll of the US News and World Report, and was rated the #15 hospital nationwide (2018-2019). The flagship hospital, UPMC Presbyterian is a tertiary referral center for western Pennsylvania, West Virginia, eastern Ohio, and the entire UPMC health system.
Fellows rotate on the inpatient bariatric surgery service at the UPMC Magee Women’s Hospital in Oakland, as well as the GI/nutrition and TPN service at Presbyterian and Montefiore.
Trainees will spend the majority of their outpatient clinical time in the Center for Obesity Medicine clinics in Oakland, working with Internal Medicine, Endocrinology, and Gastroenterology faculty who are ABOM diplomates. Other rotations will include Obesity Medicine Physicians’ practices in community clinics and hospitals in and around Pittsburgh, Pediatric Endocrinology/Obesity clinic at Children’s Hospital, and working in subspecialty clinics with significant obesity relevance including Sleep Medicine, Bariatric Surgery, and psychiatry/eating disorders.
- Obesity Journal Club – This journal club is held every other month in which current literature in the field of obesity is critically reviewed. A broad range of topics relating to obesity is covered; basic science literature and clinical trials are used as articles for discussion.
- Patient Care Conference – Selected inpatient and outpatient cases are presented every other month at a Patient Case Conference which is attended by clinical faculty. This conference is run by the fellows, and allows a review of clinical findings, presentation, discussion and interpretation of laboratory results, radiologic procedures, pathology slides, surgical results and treatment plans. It often leads to a lively discourse and input from other faculty members to supplement that provided by their attending for the patient, thus greatly expanding the teaching input for every case.
- University-Wide Endocrine Conference (Endocrinology Grand Rounds) – This is the weekly one-hour flagship conference of the Division of Endocrinology presented by faculty from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and by nationally recognized guest speakers. Our faculty and trainees, in addition to faculty and trainees from pediatric endocrinology at Children’s Hospital, attend the conference.
- Internal Medicine Grand Rounds – This is a weekly noon lunch conference covering broad internal medicine topics, attended by internal medicine faculty and residents. It is valuable to attend and consider the impact of obesity on each topic, and to conduct a brief literature review and discuss with obesity faculty that week.
The Endocrinology and Metabolism Division has an extremely strong basic and clinical research program. Each trainee is encouraged during the first 2 months to select a research mentor in an area of mutual interest and develop a clinical and/or basic research project under the guidance of the mentor. The trainee conducts research project under supervision of the faculty mentor during the first year and subsequent years of training if they elect to continue in the research track. All fellows are expected to present their research abstracts at national scientific meetings. The trainees prepare or participate in preparation of a manuscript for submission to peer-reviewed journals when results of project merit publication.
The Program Director initially reviews merits and feasibility of the research proposal and provides feedback and recommendations. The trainee prepares a written description of their proposed research project and the director screens the proposed project at the end of August of the first year. Research mentors submit electronic evaluations of OM trainee’s performance on the research project on a semi-annual basis. Publication of results in peer-reviewed journals and presentation at national scientific meetings are used as important indices of high-quality performance.
T32 Diabetes and Endocrinology Training Program
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) funds the postdoctoral training program in Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism through the NRSA/T32 mechanism. Due to the importance of metabolic diseases across disciplines, this training program is interdisciplinary by nature and includes mentors from a variety of departments throughout the University of Pittsburgh. The training program features outstanding research opportunities with exceptional training faculty, a wide-variety of didactic and educational experiences, individualized career development plans, and continuous progress oversight to ensure on-going success.
Only US citizens and permanent residents are eligible for the T32 award, however alternate sources of funding can be arranged for international medical graduates strongly interested in extending their fellowship training for research.
Quality Improvement Project
Trainees are required to participate in a Quality Improvement (QI) project that results in a significant contribution to understanding and/or improving clinical care/outcomes. This QI project can either overlap or be distinct from the trainee’s research.
Applications are accepted from July 1 to March 31. We recommend early completion of the application as the program starts reviewing applications and inviting candidates for interviews immediately, and will close the application process once a fellow is selected. Applicants must be board certified or eligible in Internal Medicine. Our program accepts candidates on H-1B and J-1 visas, however only U.S. citizens and permanent residents are eligible for positions on the T32 training grant. Minority applicants are encouraged to apply.
The interviews typically take place on Fridays starting in September. The candidates attend the University Wide Endocrinology Conference on Friday morning, followed by 3 faculty interviews. This is followed by a tour of the Oakland hospitals and lunch with the endocrine division chief and Center for Clinical Obesity Medicine director in the afternoon. Additional interviews may be scheduled based on the candidates’ research interests.
Obesity Medicine programs do not participate in the Medical Specialties Matching Program (MSMP). The Fellowship selection committee offers spots when an excellent candidate is discovered, and the application/interview season is concluded when the position is filled.
Questions should be directed to: