About the Interventional Cardiology Fellowship Program

The Interventional Cardiology Fellowship program is designed to train fellows in the use of percutaneous interventional techniques in the management of coronary, peripheral vascular and valvular heart disease. The one-year program is comprehensive, structured and supervised by a board-certified staff totaling more than 100 years of interventional experience. Fellows train at both the VCU Medical Center and the Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center.

The Interventional Cardiology Fellowship program is designed to train fellows in the use of percutaneous interventional techniques and the management of coronary, peripheral vascular disease and exposure to percutaneous treatment of valvular heart disease. The one-year program is comprehensive, structured and supervised by a board-certified staff. Fellows train at both the VCU Medical Center and the Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center. 

The training includes didactic conferences, weekly case conferences, and individual fellow and faculty clinical patient reviews (pre- and post-procedure) to discuss risk, benefit, results, treatment strategies and complications. Fellow experience is very individualized with one-on-one faculty interactions for each procedure. Trainees also assist in teaching diagnostic fellows, medicine residents and other student groups, such as biomedical and undergraduate. 

Program emphasis is placed on giving fellows ample opportunity to learn appropriate technical skills for safe coronary and peripheral intervention using multiple devices (including rotational atherectomy, balloons, stents, filter devices), and to advance and refine diagnostic catheterization skills.

Facilities

The VCU Medical Center has four state of the art catheterization laboratories, one biplane, one with OR capabilities, and two coronary laboratories. All are digital and linked with a mass storage archival device for easy retrieval of prior comparative studies. The Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center has two labs with digital acquisition and an archival storage system. Both institutions have on-site cardiac surgery as well as cardiac transplant programs, including the availability of destination LVADS and the Total Artificial Heart.

Accreditation

We are fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education for a one-year ABIM Board eligible Interventional training program for three fellows per year. Board pass rates have been excellent. 

Welcome from the Program Director

Welcome from the Program Director

Welcome from the Program Director

Thank you for your interest in the Interventional Cardiology Fellowship training program at VCU. We are excited to have a very diverse group of interventionalists that have trained in different programs around the US and have brought their expertise to VCU. These different approaches will allow you to learn varied interventional techniques that will help you develop into a great interventional cardiologist. We have all the spectrum of patients, however, due to the nature of our institution, we have the lions’ share of complex cases in the city. By the end of your fellowship, you will be able to take care of all patients confidently. Fellows are fully prepared to hit the ground running when they graduate and start their practices.  

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All fellows are expected to actively engage in scholarly activities. Since the clinical responsibilities are quite robust and the fellowship is only one year, we understand that the time available to complete an extensive research project is limited. Academic productivity can be in the form of quality improvement project, case report, case series, review article, or presenting at academic meetings. Opportunities for research topics are primarily available in the fields of coronary intervention as well as structural heart disease.

As a sign of our commitment to the scholarly efforts of the fellows, the Department of Internal Medicine has designated funding which is set aside specifically to offset the travel cost for fellows who are presenting their work at regional, national, and international scientific and academic meetings.

Fellows are also encouraged to attend conferences specifically geared towards the field of interventional cardiology. They are all given time off to attend the SCAI Fellows Course in November as well as another meeting of their choice. 

Recent Scholarship


Look at pubmed for the following: Nayef Abouzaki, Shafeeq Ahmed, Richard H. Cooke, Zachary M. Gertz, Ion S. Jovin, Barbara D. Lawson

Vacation Time

  • Each fellow is allowed three weeks of vacation per training year.

Night Call

  • The Interventional Cardiology fellows cover STEMI call for 1 week at a time. Although it sounds daunting, they are usually only called a few times per week, and it is manageable.
  • The fellows are expected to be available by phone during their STEMI call days/nights, and to come to the hospital for urgent/emergent cases.
  • The fellows provide coverage for STEMI call at both the VA Medical Center and VCU on the same night.
  • It is extremely rare to be called from both hospitals. Should it happen, the fellow can communicate to the second hospital that he/she is currently doing a STEMI case in the first hospital that called. He/she is not expected to cover both.

Weekend Coverage

  • The same fellow who took STEMI call during the week will cover STEMI call during the weekend.
  • The on-call fellow rounds on and discharges the patients who stayed overnight after Friday procedures.

GME Resident & Fellow Well-Being
Graduate Medical Education training is not easy. With the GME Physician Well-being program, we first and foremost assert our commitment to your well-being, resilience and all aspects of a healthy lifestyle. VCU and VCUHealth are dedicated to ensuring that you have the tools you need to be your best. (Learn more)

All About VCU, VCUHealth, and RVA
First things first. We fondly refer to Richmond as RVA.  People love this city because it’s awesome. And Virginia Commonwealth University is in the middle of it all.  Learn more about VCU, VCUHealth, and RVA!

Barbara D. Lawson, MD

Barbara D. Lawson, MD

Program Director

Barbara D. Lawson, MD

Barbara D. Lawson, MD

Program Director

Internal Medicine

Division of Cardiology

Email: barbara.lawson@vcuhealth.org

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View Faculty Expertise Profile

Kenneth Ellenbogen, MD

Kenneth Ellenbogen, MD

Division Chair

Kenneth Ellenbogen, MD

Kenneth Ellenbogen, MD

Division Chair

Internal Medicine

Division of Cardiology

Email: kenneth.ellenbogen@vcuhealth.org

Read More

View Faculty Expertise Profile

Class of 2021

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Justin Heizer, MD
Medical School: Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk, VA
Residency: Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC
Dr. Idris
Owais Idris, MD
Medical School: American University of the Caribbean, St. Maarten, Netherlands Antilles
Residency: Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center, Toledo, OH

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April Shewmake, DO
Medical School: Des Moines University College of Osteopathic Medicine
Residency: University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics Department of Internal Medicine

Class of 2020

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Ali Dahhan, MD
Medical School: University of Aleppo Faculty of Medicine
Residency: Augusta University/University of Georgia Medical Partnership
Fellowship: University of Louisville School of Medicine

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Mohamad Kabach, MD
Medical School: University of Damascus Faculty of Medicine
Residency: University of Miami/JFK Medical Center Palm Beach Regional GME Consortium
Fellowship: University of Miami/JFK Medical Center Palm Beach Regional GME Consortium

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Dhavalkumar Patel, MD
Medical School: Medical College Baroda
Residency: Georgetown University Hospital
Fellowship: Cardiovascular Disease  - VCU

Alumni

Eligibility Requirements

A major aim of the Interventional Cardiology fellowship is to offer comprehensive training that will prepare fellows for careers in either academic medicine or clinical practice. 

We offer one to three Interventional Cardiology fellowship positions alternating year.

  1. Fellows must have U.S. citizenship or a permanent or J1 Visa.  YOU MUST POSSESS YOUR PERMANENT OR J-1 VISA AT THE TIME OF YOUR FELLOWSHIP APPLICATION. H-1 Visa will NOT be considered.
  2. Graduates of foreign (not U.S. or Canadian) medical schools should have three years of residency in internal medicine in the primary hospital of a university medical school in the U.S. or Canada and be on track to complete an ACGME accredited Cardiology Fellowship.
  3. Personal statements should provide background information about you. We are interested in knowing why you have chosen Interventional Cardiology and what you plan to do after fellowship.

How to Apply

Application to the Interventional Cardiology Fellowship: 

All applications to the Interventional Cardiology Fellowship Program 2021 – 2022 year should go through ERAS, starting December 1. The timeline for application for medical subspecialty fellowships has been modified. This will leave very little time for completion of applications, review of applications, and selection of applicants for interviews. 


Any interested applicants are urged to start their application process early. Requests for USMLE reports, reference letters, and other supporting documentation should be ready for submission on December 1 when you receive your applicant number from ERAS. We would recommend to applicants that they have all of the information required for the ERAS application form ready for submission on December 1. When reference letters are requested, we recommend that faculty members be notified that their letters should be ready for submission to ERAS on December 1, if possible.

*** The majority of the documents described in “Required Documents” are required by ERAS. However, ERAS will not scan several of the documents that we require, i.e. social security card, copy of Virginia medical license (if you have one), ECFMG certificate; copy of your J1 or green card; medical school diploma (and translation where applicable). **Please have original, notarized or certified notarized original documents ready to be mailed, IF selected. Do not send prior to being selected.

VCU School of Medicine
Department of Internal Medicine
Box 980509
Richmond, VA 23298-0509
Phone: (804) 828-9726
Email: imfellowships@vcuhealth.org 

Required Documents

All applicants must apply through ERAS and register with the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP). Along with your application, we require several documents that ERAS does not scan. **A copy of Virginia medical license (if you have one); ECFMG certificate; Certified original and or notarized copy copy of your J1 or green card; Certified original and or notarized copy medical school diploma (and translation where applicable); and a fourth reference letter.

Our ideal candidate has completed three years of Residency in an ACGME accredited Internal Medicine in a university hospital and has completed an ACGME accredited Cardiovascular Disease Fellowship Program.

Application Timeline

We plan on interviewing applicants starting in mid-December through February. We will begin to review applications on December 15 and priority will be given to applications that are complete. Our deadline for applications will be December 31.

Interview Information

Recruitment Itinerary:

7:30 – 8:30 am Breakfast with fellows
Tour of VCU by Fellow
3 – 30 minute interviews with faculty: Dr. Cooke, Dr. Gertz, and Dr. Lawson
11:30 – 12:00 - Travel to VA
12:00 – 1:00 Lunch with Faculty and Fellow 
3 – 30 minute interview interviews TBD
Tour of VA by fellow.

Attention:  In support of our applicants, we will be flexible in providing virtual and on-site fellowship interview opportunities.  We understand that applicants may have restrictions on travel during this time.  Our interview schedule may change as we approach the late summer and fall.  We appreciate your patience and understanding; we will absolutely work to accommodate all applicants as best possible during the COVID pandemic.

 

Program Director

Barbara D. Lawson, MD
VCU School of Medicine
Department of Internal Medicine
Box 980036
Richmond, VA 23298-0036
Email: barbara.lawson@vcuhealth.org

Fellowship Coordinator

Jeanette Wood
VCU School of Medicine
Department of Internal Medicine
Box 980509
Richmond, VA 23298-0509 
Phone: (804) 828-9726
Email: imfellowships@vcuhealth.org