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The University of South Alabama has been approved by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) to start a medical oncology fellowship program. Initially, two physician candidates will be chosen for the two-year program, which will begin on July 1, 2018.
Dr. David Clarkson, professor of interdisciplinary clinical oncology at USA Mitchell Cancer Institute, has been appointed as director of the medical oncology fellowship program.
“This accreditation allows us to recruit residents with three years of training experience after medical school for additional training and certification in the sub-specialty of medical oncology,” Dr. Clarkson said. “The fellowship program joins the ranks of more than 200 ACGME-certified programs nationwide in medical oncology. In addition, it adds to the already established residency and fellowship programs at USA, thus enlarging the scope and breadth of our advanced training programs.”
The program’s goals include training the next generation of medical oncologists to serve the Southeastern U.S.; training and developing potential new faculty clinicians and physician scientists; enhancing the internal medicine residency educational experience in hematology and oncology through increased access and interaction with fellows; and improving the patient experience through increased access to expertise.
“We want to develop a program in which these individuals will take their places in our own and other academic programs in the burgeoning area of medical oncology,” Dr. Clarkson said.
The accreditation process and ACGME application process involved close to 12 months of work – including developing the didactic lecture program; developing clinic rotations in breast cancer, gastrointestinal cancer, blood diseases, clinical trials experiences, and allogeneic and autologous transplantation; and refining multi-disciplinary tumor conferences in different subspecialties.
“Many of these programs were already in place but needed adaptations to make them more appropriate as a learning environment,” Dr. Clarkson said.
Dr. Samuel McQuiston, assistant dean for graduate medical education and associate professor of radiology at the USA College of Medicine, said USA Hospitals will serve as the sponsoring institution of the medical oncology fellowship program with the internal medicine residency as the parent program – comparable to the fellowships in cardiology, gastroenterology and pulmonology. The USA Mitchell Cancer Institute will serve as the major site for training.
“Each of our programs has a long history of providing outstanding training experiences and preparing residents and fellows for competent medical practice and a life of personal advancement,” Dr. McQuiston said. “We are confident that USA’s new medical oncology fellowship program will continue our tradition of excellence in graduate medical education.”
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