Nov. 30 was the last day of a month-long fellowship rotation in hepatology and liver transplant services at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson for Ying Margie Tang, MD.
She’s a second-year gastroenterology (GI) fellow at the University of Nevada School of Medicine.
She’s also nearly eight months pregnant, which she took in stride over the last few weeks as it’s her third child.
Dr. Tang was the first fellow in a special affiliation between the two institutions to allow University of Nevada, Reno, (UNR) GI fellows to do their hepatology training here, since its medical school — at UNR’s Las Vegas campus — lacks a liver transplant program.
UA Liver Research Institute Director and Professor of Medicine Thomas D. Boyer, MD, said he was contacted about two years ago about the request to allow UNR GI fellows to come here during the second year of a three-year fellowship to complete their clinical requirements. They train at Banner – University Medical Center, whose hospitals and clinics serve as the primary teaching facilities for UA College of Medicine students, residents and fellows.
“There’s nothing really in it for us, although it’s nice to have another fellow around for a month,” Dr. Boyer said. “Really, this collaboration is just a good thing to do. It helps their program, and we need more gastroenterologists in the world.”
The UA-UNR agreement also required Dr. Boyer and Archita Desai, MD, a member of the UA Liver Research Institute staff and an assistant professor of medicine, to be given clinical assistant professorships at the University of Nevada School of Medicine. The additional faculty posts and training were required for the UNR program to be recognized by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).
“Their program is fairly new and if they don’t have hepatology, they can’t be ACGME accredited,” Dr. Desai said. “We’re helping them fill that gap in their clinical education. We give them an intense outpatient and inpatient hepatology experience. And it’s not a one-shot deal. All of their fellows will rotate through.”
One more UNR GI fellow is expected here this academic year, she said.
Dr. Tang, who’ll be among the first GI fellows to graduate from UNR in spring 2017, said she feels she learned a lot in the last month. “I’ve had exposure to all kinds of liver diseases, especially in pre-transplant and post-transplant, as well as inpatient and outpatient care.”
She was most impressed with the UA’s multidisciplinary team approach to medical care, noting the liver transplant team includes multispecialty surgeons, hepatologists, gastroenterologists, pathologists, social workers, case managers and more.
“I had quite a few interesting patients” and got “a lot of different views into the whole process of how to make decisions,” Dr. Tang said. “It was a very valuable experience.”
Now in the 31st week of her pregnancy, Dr. Tang spent Thanksgiving in Tucson visiting with a friend, enjoying the sunny weather and relaxing.
“My home is in New Jersey so, even compared to Las Vegas, it’s pretty warm here,” she said.
Her husband is back with the kids, ages 6 and 4, in New Jersey, where she plans to practice after graduation. Next for her is a New Year’s holiday visit with family and then she will return to UNR to finish the second year of her fellowship. Her parents will come live with her to help after the baby is born and during her final year of study, she said.