About the Gastroenterology Fellowship Program

Welcome to the VCU Gastroenterology Fellowship Training Program website.  We are incredibly proud of our fellows, our program, and our institution. The VCU medical campus boasts state-of-the-art clinical, research, educational, and simulation facilities. But, what makes the VCU experience so productive and the learning climate optimal is the supportive, experienced faculty and the collegiality of the fellows. We invite you to explore our website and learn more about what VCU has to offer you educationally.

The fellowship program includes clinical training at VCU Health and Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center.

We offer two distinct fellowship tracks:

  • Clinical Educator: a traditional three-year program that emphasizes clinical gastroenterology and hepatology and is intended to train fellows for clinical and academic practice. Dedicated research time is provided to promote scholarly activity. 
  • ABIM program for Transplant Hepatology track: Based on trainee’s interest, we do offer ABIM program Transplant Hepatology to selective fellows where fellows can satisfy the ABIM requirements for both the Gastroenterology and Transplant hepatology board examinations in three-year training.

We have five positions for the clinical educator track.  In addition, for candidates who have completed a GI fellowship we offer training in:

  • Advanced Endoscopy: a one-year fellowship focused on diagnostic and therapeutic ERCP, EUS, and other advanced endoscopic procedures.
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Nutrition: a one-year fellowship focused on inflammatory bowel disease and nutrition. Completion of training in Gastroenterology is preferred, but not required.
  • Transplant Hepatology: a one-year fellowship dedicated to liver transplantation, diagnosis, and management of advanced liver conditions.

Welcome from the Program Director

Welcome from the Program Director

Welcome from the Program Director

Welcome from the Virginia Commonwealth University’s Gastroenterology Fellowship Training Program.  Virginia Commonwealth University (The Medical College of Virginia) has a long tradition of clinical excellence. Our health system is a busy, growing, state-of-the art facility, which is ideally situated amid the state’s population centers. Our accessibility stimulates a fast-paced work environment with a notably diverse patient population. Consistent with our socially-conscious mission to provide the best medical care regardless of financial status, we care for more than half of the state’s uninsured patients. At the same time, we provide state-of-the art primary, subspecialty, and tertiary care for the densely populated eastern half of the state. We are proud that our efforts to serve all patients in the Commonwealth of Virginia have been recognized for its excellence by US News and World Report in its best hospital rankings and by the American Hospital Association with its prestigious AHA-McKesson Quest for Quality Prize award designation. This diversity and recognized clinical excellence creates a rich, hands-on learning environment for the fellow in Gastroenterology.

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Research and Scholarship Expectations

All fellows are expected to actively engage in scholarly activities. These activities can be in basic research, clinical research, health outcomes research, and/or educational research. Essential to success is providing the tools necessary to foster the fellows’ intellectual development as investigators. These tools are provided through participation in VCUHS graduate medical education research series, which is conducted at the start of the academic year and is optional for fellows. Fellows receive three research months over the period of their training. Fellows with a strong interest in research can get additional time of 4 to 6 months.

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. The division is similarly committed to assisting with costs associated with presenting and publishing scholarly efforts. The commitment to our fellows is evident by the fact that our department chair, Dr. Patricia Sime, an NIH-funded investigator, personally meets with all fellows in advance of presenting at national and international meetings to offer additional mentorship and guidance. At VCU, we honor your education and professional growth as our greatest achievement and are proud to send our residents and fellows as our ambassadors.

Vacation Time
Each fellow is allowed three weeks of vacation per training year. The time is generally taken as either one of the following:

  1. Three 7-day vacations
  2. One 7-day vacation and one 14-day vacation.

Night calls

  • The Gastroenterology fellows provide at-home night coverage for the outpatient clinic patients, in-hospital consults, and requests for admission/transfer to the Gastroenterology team. The fellows are expected to return to the hospital as needed while on call to see urgent consults or to perform urgent endoscopy which is done under supervision of the attending physician on call. Additionally, the attending physicians provide back-up, supervision, and escalation along with feedback on the triage decisions made by the fellow. Nighttime at-home call is distributed amongst all fellows throughout the three years of training.
  • Internal medicine residents provide in-house coverage for admissions and cross-coverage related to the inpatient Digestive Health service at night.

Weekend Coverage

  • Two fellows are on call at any given weekend. One fellow covers consult service while another fellow covers all endoscopy procedures. On average, fellows take around 6-8 weekend calls per year.

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!

Ravi Vachhani, MD

Ravi Vachhani, MD

Program Director

Ravi Vachhani, MD

Ravi Vachhani, MD

Program Director

Internal Medicine

Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition

Email: ravi.vachhani@vcuhealth.org

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View Faculty Expertise Profile

John F. Kuemmerle, MD

John F. Kuemmerle, MD

Division Chair

John F. Kuemmerle, MD

John F. Kuemmerle, MD

Division Chair

Internal Medicine

Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition

Email: john.kuemmerle@vcuhealth.org

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View Faculty Expertise Profile

Class of 2023

Dr. Duong

Nikki Duong, MD
Medical School:  George Washington University School of Medicine  
Residency:  Georgetown University Hospital

Dr. Hashmi

Irma Hashmi, DO
Medical School:  University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine 
Residency:  University of Massachusetts Medical Center 

Dr. Patel

Milan Patel, MD
Medical School:  Indiana University School of Medicine
Residency:  Virginia Commonwealth University

Dr. Shrestha

Shreesh Shrestha, MD
Medical School:  Kathmandu University School of Medical Sciences
Residency:  University of Tennessee College of Medicine 

Dr. Xie

Jesse Xie, MD
Medical School:  University of Mississippi School of Medicine
Residency:  University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

Class of 2022

Dr. Abdelfattah

Thaer Abdelfattah, MBBS, MPH
Medical School: Jordan University of Science and Technology Faculty of Medicine
Residency:  University of Toledo

Dr. Fasullo

Matthew Fasullo, DO
Medical School:  Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine
Residency:  University of Massachusetts Medical School

Dr. Reuter

Bradley Reuter, MD
Medical School:  Wake Forest University School of Medicine
Residency:  Virginia Commonwealth University

Dr. Shahab 

Omer Shahab, MD
Medical School:  FIU Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine
Residency:  Inova Fairfax Medical Center

Dr. Syed

Taseen Syed, MBBS
Medical School:  Nishtar Medical School
Residency:  University of Oklahoma College of Medicine 

Class of 2021

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Chathur Acharya, MBBS
Medical School: Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College
Residency: Internal Medicine at UPMC McKeesport

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Allawy Allawy, MBBCh
Medical School: University of Cairo Faculty of Medicine
Residency: Internal Medicine at Cleveland Clinic Foundation

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Omar Nadhem, MBBChB
Medical School: University of Baghdad College of Medicine
Residency: Internal Medicine at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center at Amarillo

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Hamzeh Saraireh, MD
Medical School: University of Jordan Faculty of Medicine
Residency: Internal Medicine at University of Texas Medical Branch

Dr. Spartaro

Joseph Spataro, MD
Medical School: Drexel University College of Medicine
Residency: n/a

Alumni

Eligibilty Requirements

VCUHS can only support J-1 visas.

How to Apply:

The Gastroenterology fellowship training program at VCU is a participant in the NRMP match. All applications will be accepted through ERAS and follow ERAS deadlines.

Required Documentation

    • Application
    • Curriculum Vitae
    • USMLE score reports
    • Medical School Transcripts
    • MPSE
    • A personal statement
    • 4 letters of recommendation, including one from your program director
    • A photograph

If applicable, please provide the following: 

  • ECFMG certificate
  • Medical School Diploma (with translation if necessary)

Application Timeline:

We will review applications from July 15 through September 31. Invitations to interview will likely be issued during this time frame.

Interviews:

2020 Interviews dates:

  • September 11, 2020
  • September 18, 2020
  • September 25, 2020
  • October 9, 2020
  • October 16, 2020

The interview day consists of the following:

  • Introduction to the program and division
  • Tour of the VCUHS facilities
  • Lunch with current fellows
  • Interviews with VCUHS and VA-based faculty

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

Ravi Vachhani, MD
1200 E Broad Street 
Box: 98034, Richmond, VA 23298 
Phone: (804) 828-4060 
Fax: (804) 828-5348 
Email: ravi.vachhani@vcuhealth.org

Fellowship Coordinator

Cesley Watkins
VCU School of Medicine
Department of Internal Medicine
Box 980509
Richmond, Virginia 23298-0509
Phone: (804) 628-4497
Fax: (804) 828-4926
Email: imfellowships@vcuhealth.org