Fellowships

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Fellowship Programs in Orthopaedics

Foot and Ankle Surgery Fellowship

 

Program Overview

The Foot and Ankle Surgery Fellowship at the University of Texas Medical Branch is a dynamic, engaging, and educational one year immersive experience into the world of foot and ankle surgery. Led by Dr. Vinod Panchbhavi, a world-renowned orthopaedic foot and ankle surgeon, our fellowship covers all aspects of foot and ankle surgery including trauma, reconstruction, ligament and tendon injuries, arthroscopy, arthroplasty, and midfoot and forefoot surgery. Our program is designed to maximize educational, research, and teaching opportunities in order to develop you into an outstanding foot and ankle surgeon. We understand that one year goes by fast and our goal is to prepare you for independent practice as best as we possibly can, whether in academics or in the community.

Structure

The program offers one fellowship spot. Through the course of the year, the fellow will work primarily with Dr. Panchbhavi and Dr. Chen. The fellow will also have the opportunity to work with Dr. Weiss, a third foot and ankle fellowship-trained surgeon who also practices sports medicine. While the fellow will alternate between Dr. Panchbhavi and Dr. Chen’s rotation, service obligations are minimal and thus the fellow has the freedom to participate in any educational case staffed by either of the three attendings on any given day. There are no rounding or call obligations, although both Dr. Chen and Dr. Weiss take primary level 1 trauma call and thus, trauma call cases are available if the fellow has interest.

Didactics

Core curriculum: We have a comprehensive and educational didactic curriculum spanning the entire fellowship year. Every two weeks, the fellow and service residents take part in a Thursday “lunch and learn” in which topics are discussed which cover the entirety of foot and ankle surgery, with lunch provided. The fellow will be encouraged to give two talks throughout the year as part of this curriculum as an opportunity to fine-tune oral presentation skills. 

Indications conference: Every week, indications conference is held in order to review the indications and treatment options for the weeks cases. The conference is highly interactive, with input from multiple attendings, the fellow, and on-service residents.  

Radiology conference: Five times throughout the year, a joint radiology-foot and ankle orthopaedics conference is held to go over basic foot and ankle MRI reading and also to review MRI findings of interesting cases.

Journal club: Five foot and ankle journal clubs are held throughout the year at local restaurants in order to discuss recent articles from high-quality journals. Local orthopaedic foot and ankle surgeons are also invited to participate.  

Skills workshops: One industry-sponsored skills workshop is held every month to gain exposure to new, emerging technologies in the field and also to gain hands-on experience with these implants. The fellow will have heavy input on the choice of these workshops.

Research meeting:  Every other Wednesday, a medical student-focused foot and ankle research meeting is held to discuss new and ongoing research projects. The fellow will have the option of attending these conference to gain experience in research discussion.

Weekly department conference: Every Wednesday the departmental conference is held. The fellow has the option of participating, especially if there are foot and ankle topics discussed.

Research

All three attending physicians are heavily involved in research, with hundreds of peer-reviewed publications and dozens of book chapters under their name. The fellow will be expected to produce one submittable manuscript during the year, but will have the option and opportunity to complete more. The department has access to a biomechanical lab with a lab technician, a statistician, a bevy of medical students, and an editor to facilitate research.

 

Faculty

Prof. Panchbhavi Vinod Kumar Panchbhavi: Dr. Panchbhavi is the chief of foot and ankle surgery at UTMB. He has published on dozens of innovative techniques and is the Editor-in-Chief of Techniques in Foot and Ankle Surgery. He regularly presents at national and international orthopaedic conferences, and is on the editorial board for a number of journal such as Foot and Ankle International. He has run this fellowship for a number of years and has a true interest in medical education. While he practices all aspects of foot and ankle surgery, he has made especially significant contributions in advancing our understanding of charcot arthropathy and Lisfranc injuries.

 

Chen, Jie

Dr. Jie Chen: Dr. Chen is an assistant professor of foot and ankle surgery. One year into practice, he already has 18 peer reviewed publications and dozens of podium/poster presentations including a Roger A. Mann award nomination at the 2021 AOFAS annual meeting. Dr. Chen’s academic interests lie in the education of residents and fellows. He completed his fellowship training at Duke University where he performed around 100 cases of total ankle arthroplasty. His other clinical interests include minimally invasive surgery and foot and ankle trauma.

 

Weiss, William

Dr. Bill Weiss: Dr. Weiss is an assistant professor of both foot and ankle surgery and sports medicine. He is on the editorial board for Arthroscopy and the Bone and Joint Journal. Dr. Weiss is heavily involved in both medical education and research. His practice consists of general orthopaedics, sports, and also foot and ankle surgery. He is particularly experienced in sports foot and ankle injuries and has published on arthroscopic techniques of the ankle.

 
Why UTMB Foot and Ankle?

We are very excited that you have taken the time to explore our fellowship! We believe we offer an outstanding educational experience for the following reasons:

  • Clinical exposure: Between the three attendings, you will have between 500-800 cases for the year, covering all aspects of foot and ankle surgery. Each attending has his own operating style and have different backgrounds so you will be exposed to a variety of techniques and methods. In addition, UTMB provides medical care to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, which allows for exposure to some of the most complex pathology possible. Finally, the fellowship is very hands-on and graduated autonomy is given early and often.
  • Didactics: As you can see above, there is a heavy emphasis on a structured teaching curriculum with multiple learning opportunities in the lab, conference room, or even the restaurant setting. Our goal is to share all of our knowledge and experience with you.
  • Research opportunities: For the interested fellow, there are endless research opportunities. We collectively have published biomechanical studies, database studies, clinical studies, and numerous review articles in online and peer-reviewed journals including FAI, JAAOS, and JBJS. Previous fellows have been able to complete almost a dozen publications in the year.
  • Teaching opportunities: For the fellow interested in academics and teaching, there are medical students and residents on service at any given time. Opportunities to teach are abundant and the fellow will have the opportunity to give several talks throughout the year.
  • Flexibility: The fellowship is designed to be service-light and education-heavy. Although you will be assigned to an attending’s rotation, you will have the ability to scrub any interesting cases as you see fit. In addition, the fellowship is catered to your interest, so you will have input on the cadaver workshops, journal club articles, and can attend any industry-sponsored meetings/labs as you see fit.
  • Location: You will work in three hospitals in the South Houston/Galveston area. The area has a low cost of living, is a short commute into the city, and is situated right along the coast for beach and water-lovers. The food scene is fantastic, and schools are highly reputable for those with young families.
  • Life-long mentorship: The best thing about the fellowship is our investment in you. We have designed this fellowship to really give you the best chance to develop your clinical knowledge, hands, research abilities, and teaching abilities. With just three attendings, you will get to know us very well. Following your fellowship, we will always be available to you to discuss any cases, career decisions, or just chat about life. We are excited to meet you and are honored to have the opportunity to help you further your career!

 

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