Cardiovascular Disease Fellowship - FAQs

Below are answers to frequently asked questions about the University of Maryland Medical Center's cardiovascular disease fellowship. If your questions is not answered here, please call 410-328-8278.

Can I Fast-Track?

As programs such as Interventional Cardiology and EP have expanded, fellows have begun to seek ways to integrate part of this training into general fellowship.

We have the opportunity within EP to design a curriculum that would give fellows a substantial 'head start' in EP training, however they still require completion of two years of EP training beyond the general cardiovascular disease fellowship. Such a program could occur under the joint direction of the program director for general cardiology and the EP program director.

If I want to do basic science research, can I have more research time?

Basic science research demands longer block time commitments to ensure success.

Fellows who identify a basic science interest are paired with one of our basic science faculty, and perhaps with other members of the Department of Physiology within the School of Medicine, depending on their specific interests and background. Once formal goals and objectives have been established, the fellow and the program director can adjust the clinical schedule accordingly to afford six to twelve months of contiguous research experience.

Longitudinal care clinic must be continued for 1/2 day per week during this time, in accordance with ACGME rules, but little to no other clinical responsibilities would be mandated within this time frame. Fellows who have been productive in such an experience and who require or wish additional time in the basic sciences have the option of extending their fellowship to accomplish their goals.

Do fellows go to a national conference?

Fellows who have an abstract accepted for presentation at one of the national meetings can receive divisional support for travel and lodging as well as presentation expenses on a case-by-case basis. In past years Fellows have attended the AHA, ACC and ESC conferences to present their work.

What type of mentorship support is provided?

Mentors are chosen -- not assigned.

They are chosen by the fellow after discussion with the program director of their research and long-term goals towards the end of the first year of training. The mentor is expected to meet with the fellow to establish research plans, with concrete goals and objectives.

Mentors and mentees meet on a regular basis over the course of the second and third years to help the fellow achieve concrete milestones with regards to research development, abstract presentation, and formulation of manuscripts or other scholarly activity such as developing a case report, a review article or a letter to the editor.

How do your fellows perform on boards?

Over the past 15 years, over 98% of our fellows have succeeded on the initial effort. Additionally, beginning in the 2014-2015, academic year, several Fellows have begun taking Echo boards after completion of their second year of fellowship and have had a 100% pass rate in this endeavor.

How is vacation time handled?

Three weeks per year of vacation are allotted with no more than two weeks taken at one time.

During the first year, vacation can be taken during the cardiac catheterization or echocardiography rotations, with the appropriate coverage in place. During years two and three, vacation is taken from electives or research blocks.

For questions about maternity/paternity leave, please refer to the GME policies.

How much 'in-house' call is there?

In-house call is divided between the fellowship program and a Nocturnist, hired by the Department of Medicine.

During the AHFS rotation there are one to two nights of in-house call while the rest of in-house call duties are covered en-block during a Night Float Rotation. Per Fellow preference, this rotation is front-loaded with two weeks of NF during first year and one week thereafter.

During the cardiac catheterization and clinical cardiac electrophysiology rotations, general fellows share home call with the subspecialty fellows. There are no call responsibilities for fellows on the VAMC, Nuclear, Echo, Research, or Elective months.

What are the opportunities for learning more about study design and statistical analysis?

Research mentors will assist in engaging additional faculty members for statistical support for data analysis.

Additionally, there are 'mini-courses' for both basic science research and clinical research offered by the Department of Epidemiology in the School of Medicine. These 'mini-courses' act as a primer in study design and statistics, as well as a means of interfacing with avenues of additional support available through Epidemiology.

For those who wish to pursue more rigorous training, the Department of Epidemiology/School of Medicine offers structured coursework leading to both Master of Science and Master of Public Health degrees. Within the last five years we have had one fellow complete the MPH program during the three years of fellowship. While commitment to such a program demands rigor and possibly extension of fellowship training, it is certainly possible.

What do your fellows do after 'graduation'?

On average, 25-30% of our fellows have remained in academic medicine.

Our graduates currently hold positions at:

  • University of Maryland
  • National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the NIH
  • Brown
  • UCLA
  • Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine
  • Geisinger Medical Center

Some fellows have entered the 'industry' or the regulation of such -- one of our fellows currently works for the FDA with regards to regulation and approval of EP devices. Many of our fellows pursue additional training, such as in Interventional Cardiology, Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology, Critical Care, Adult Heart Failure, and Advanced Cardiac Imaging.

To date, all of our fellows who have desired such advanced training have been successful in matching with an accredited program.