Fellowship - Infectious Diseases

Infectious Disease Fellowship

Infectious Disease Fellowship Members

“I was immediately impressed by the unique camaraderie of the group and sense of community within the division. Everyone is genuinely happy and excited about their work… . Omaha really is a hidden gem!”
— Comment of Neil Mendoza MD (a current faculty member) after interviewing for a position in our division

Program Description

The Infectious Diseases fellowship is a two-year postgraduate training program that offers a collegial learning environment with great faculty mentoring and good work/life balance. In addition to a great training environment, our fellows enjoy the high quality of living in the Midwest. The program has 30 years of accreditation. Former fellows’ careers include private practice, academic, public health, and ID critical care. In addition, Creighton offers a stand-alone one-year critical care fellowship. Combining the two-year infectious diseases fellowship with the subsequent critical care fellowship might be attractive if you are considering a career in infectious diseases critical care. 

How is this fellowship different?

  • Opportunity for ID/critical care training as a result of large number of critical care beds and faculty, with Creighton’s standalone 1-year critical care fellowship
  • Collegial learning environment with great faculty mentoring
  • Good work/life balance
  • High quality of living in the Midwest (little traffic; affordable housing)

ID/Critical Care Opportunities

  • One of our 2021 graduating fellows is staying at Creighton for a critical care fellowship
  • The other 2021 graduate is going to Mayo Clinic Rochester for a critical care fellowship
  • Our academic medical center has 3 pods (52 beds) of critical care
  • Two of our previous graduates have gone on to ID/critical care careers
  • ACGME accredited Creighton for a one-year stand-alone fellowship in critical care. This opens an attractive pathway at Creighton for training for a career in ID critical care:
    • Join Creighton for our two-year ID fellowship. See how you like training at Creighton and living in Omaha. Some of your ID consults will involve seeing our critical care patients. See how you like working with these patients in our critical care setting. Get to know our critical care specialists—and let them get to know you.
    • Submit your application for Creighton’s one-year stand-alone critical care fellowship. Critical care is NOT an “all in” the Match program; so we have the ability to accept your application without going through the Match. If your application does result in being accepted into Creighton’s critical care fellowship, then … complete Creighton’s critical care fellowship.
    • Pass the ABIM exam in ID and become certified in ID
    • Pass the ABIM exam in critical care and become certified in critical care as well.
    • In contrast to integrated pulmonary critical care fellowships, the list of ACGME-accredited fellowships does not include integrated ID critical care fellowships. (http://www.acgme.org/Specialties/Overview/pfcatid/2). ABIM does allow for a physician who has completed an ID fellowship to train for a year in critical care and (after passing exams in both fields) become certified in ID and critical care
  • Details of the process to apply for ID and critical care medicine (CCM) training at Creighton
    • ID fellowship seeks and invites applicants for ID fellowship interview. Highly qualified candidates who are also interested in CCM will be interviewed by the CCM fellowship program director (PD)
    • The ID and CCM fellowship leadership both agree on the quality of the applicant and the likelihood of successful completion of ID fellowship while maintaining agreed upon standards (below)
    • ID PD determines and submits ID rank list.
  • Standards to be met during ID fellowship to maintain candidacy for guaranteed entry into 1 year CCM fellowship immediately after completion of 2 year ID fellowship:
    • Passing score on ABIM internal medicine boards
    • Successful completion of a 2-week ICU rotation during each year of the ID fellowship, with no red flags identified on ICU course evaluations from faculty and feedback from current critical care medicine/pulmonary critical care fellows
    • Combined faculty and fellow participation in quarterly ID-CCM fellowship case conference, with the ID/CCM fellow presenting at least two conferences per year
    • ID/CCM fellow identifies a quality improvement project and mentor in first year of ID fellowship, preferably overlapping between ID and CCM subspecialties
    • ID/CCM fellow identifies a research project and mentor in first year of ID fellowship, preferably overlapping between ID and CCM subspecialties
    • Successful completion of 24 month ID fellowship in 2 year timeframe

OUTPATIENT EXPERIENCE

  • Friday morning VA continuity clinic throughout fellowship (including longitudinal care of HIV patients)
  • Monday afternoon Travel Clinic expected to resume (4 months a year)
  • Wednesday morning HIV Clinic 4 months a year
  • Thursday afternoon Bergan clinic (many hepatitis B and C; some HIV; some general ID) 4 months a year

Post-fellowship Careers of Recent Graduates

  • 2021 graduates:
    • Critical care fellowship, Creighton University
    • Critical care fellowship, Mayo Rochester
  • 2020 graduate: private practice, Arizona
  • 2019 graduates:
    • Transplant ID faculty, University of Nebraska Medical Center
    • Basic science faculty, Augusta University/University of Georgia partnership
  • 2018 graduate: private practice, Illinois
  • 2017 graduates:
    • Private practice, Los Angeles
    • ID faculty, Creighton University

IMMUNE COMPROMISED HOST

  • 1 month a year of inpatient solid organ transplant and oncology ID
  • Subacute and long term transplant patients seen at CUMC-Bergan Mercy and at VA from time to time; recent example: sepsis in a renal transplant patient
  • Subacute and long term transplant patients part of VA continuity clinic; recent example: long term itraconazole for histoplasmosis in a transplant patient

HIV

  • Substantial portion of VA continuity clinic
  • Increasing part of Thursday afternoon Bergan ID clinic
  • Challenging patients often admitted to CUMC-Bergan Mercy

MONTHLY ROTATIONS IN EACH YEAR OF TRAINING

  • 4 months of inpatient at Creighton University Medical Center-Bergan Mercy
  • 4 months of inpatient at VA Medical Center in Omaha
  • 1 month of solid organ transplant and oncology ID
  • 3 months research/scholarly, including quality improvement

ANTIMICROBIAL STEWARDSHIP

VA inpatient

  • Interprofessional experience with pharmacy faculty and students (J Osteopath Med; 116(9): 588-593 https://doi.org/10.7556/jaoa.2016.116)
  • Routine part of rounds
  • Includes discussion of patients and interventions with primary teams
  • Emphasize motivational interviewing


CUMC-Bergan Mercy program

  • Grew out of program developed by division chief that saved system hundreds of thousands of dollars
  • Remote stewardship an interest of faculty

DIDACTIC CONFERENCES

  • Monday: board review 3 weeks a month, guideline review 1 week a month
  • Tuesday: HIV roundtable 2 weeks a month, journal club 1 week a month
  • Thursday: citywide ID case conference weekly
  • Friday: ID grand rounds weekly, including in-depth journal club 1 week a month

MAXIMIZING EDUCATION: SPECIAL EFFORTS

  • CUMC-Bergan Mercy academic service is generally capped at 15 patients so service doesn’t overwhelm education
  • CUMC-Bergan Mercy service generally includes a fellow and one or two residents
  • VA inpatient experience includes eConsults—focus on evaluating and answering a question
  • VA inpatient service is small enough to facilitate didactics and study in relation to the patients

Research and QI Projects (selected)

  • Legionella antigen diagnostic stewardship
  • Prophylaxis in leukemia therapy
  • Night paging of ID fellows

Faculty Awards

Recent Faculty Awards

Outstanding Teaching Service Award from the Department of Medicine, Creighton University School of Medicine, went to our division for 2021. This is an award made by the internal medicine residents.

Marvin J. Bittner, MD, Fellowship Director

  • Walter J. O’Donohue Award from the Nebraska Chapter, American College of Physicians
  • Distinguished Research Career award from Creighton University School of Medicine


Manasa Velagapudi, MBBS, Fellowship Associate Director

  • James F. Sullivan Award from Department of Medicine, Creighton University School of Medicine
  • Dedicated Teacher Award from Creighton University School of Medicine


Renuga Vivekanandan, MD, Division Chief

  • Distinguished Service Faculty Award from Creighton University
  • Champion of Humanistic Care, 2021, Arnold P. Gold Foundation

 

John Horne, MD, Assistant Professor

  • Outstanding Course/Clerkship Director Teaching Award, Creighton University School of Medicine


Faran Ahmad, MBBS, Fellow

  • Received an ID Week Trainee Travel Award both years of his fellowship

PUBLIC HEALTH ADVOCACY

Dr. Tierney and Dr. Vivekanandan worked with the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Tierney’s recent public health awards:

  • National: Inaugural Awardee of the McKnight Prize for Healthcare Outbreak Heroes 2020
  • Nebraska Infection Control Network Distinguished Service Award 2020
  • Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists: Selected HAI Mentor for Peer to Peer Mentorship Program 2018


Dr. Vivekanandan’s award for her work on COVID-19:

  • Creighton University Distinguished Faculty Service Award 


Other faculty played active role in promoting mask mandate laws, writing infection prevention protocols and treatment protocols during the pandemic, promoting vaccine confidence, and participating in vaccine trials

Omaha: Special Opportunities

Diversity Equity Inclusion

  • Fellows
    • All continents (except Australia and Antarctica) have been represented by fellows we’ve trained in the past 20 years
    • Both Sunni and Shia (and Alawite and Ismaili) communities as well as Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, and Christian traditions have been represented in the roll of Creighton-trained fellows
  • Faculty
    • Hindu, Jewish, Christian, and Muslim traditions are represented among the ten physicians currently on our faculty
    • 6 men and 4 women

Program Tour

Overall Fellowship Educational Goal

Our fellows’ experiences include clinics (continuity, HIV, travel), inpatient rotations (including transplant ID and oncology ID), research, quality improvement, and telemedicine. We also provide educational experiences including antimicrobial stewardship, hospital epidemiology, and teaching. Ultimately, the program aims to prepare physicians for the practice of infectious diseases. The program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). It seeks to prepare trainees for certification in infectious diseases by the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM).

Mission Statement

Creighton’s infectious diseases fellowship trains internists seeking careers as clinical consultants in infectious diseases. In addition, some trainees have embarked on careers in internal medicine with an emphasis on infectious diseases, careers in state and federal public health agencies, careers with significant commitments to medical education, and careers in basic research.

In the fellowship can be seen Creighton’s Jesuit commitment to individuals in particular need of help–such as recent immigrants and economically disadvantaged individuals—in our clinical service to such individuals. The fellowship embodies the value of cura personalis that is inherent in excellent medical care for the individual and also in its opportunities to tailor the fellowship to the needs and interests of individual learners. The fellowship seeks to maintain an environment that promotes learning, an environment that goes beyond its setting in a community with affordable housing and manageable traffic.

Program Aims

  • To promote a learning atmosphere: we aim for collegiality. We assess this in two principal ways: First, all of us expect to experience among ourselves civility and respect, even in the face of disagreement; and we expect to experience kindness, consideration of our needs, and teamwork. This is a daily expectation of all of us in the division. This expectation encompasses faculty, fellows, and staff.
  • Second, we are a group from diverse backgrounds. Typically our division is made up of those with backgrounds in Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Over the years, our team has encompassed individuals from six continents. The fact of our operation as a community of diverse individuals is, on a daily basis, an example to the world of collegiality.
  • To provide effective clinical teaching: we aim for an appropriate patient population. This involves two dimensions. First, we expect a balance between service and education. We sense an appropriate balance when trainees have clinical experiences that inspire them to read about their patients and enough time available to engage in reading. Second, we expect a variety of patients. We expect to see both common and unusual conditions, with the common conditions being more common. We expect to see patients with serious problems with host defenses, including HIV, transplant immune suppression, and cancer; but we also expect to see other patients. We expect to see both inpatients and outpatients. We expect to see patients in the intensive care units and patients who are not very ill. We expect to see a variety of underlying conditions, including serious cardiac disease and major trauma.
  • We are engaged in teaching: we aim to do so at a variety of levels. In addition to teaching directed at fellows, we are involved with medical students, residents, and continuing medical education.
  • We are innovative: we aim to adopt the new when it is promising. We measure our success in this sphere by looking at the development of our antimicrobial stewardship programs, our use of telemedicine, our interdisciplinary activities especially with pharmacy faculty, and our use of motivational interviewing in a setting where it is not often seen.
  • We value health outcomes: we aim for improving the health of our patients. We do so even though we practice in a U.S. health care system that is driven by dollars. This is evident in many decisions we make to deal with the growing specter of antimicrobial resistance.
  • Within the confines of accreditation requirements and resources, we seek to tailor training to individual interests. We see this in special experiences fellows have had in sexually transmissible infections, microbiology laboratory work, and epidemiology.
  • We aim to improve clinical care through scholarly activity. This may take the form of quality improvement projects or clinical research.

Application Process

We accept applications online through the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS). We participate in the National Resident Match Program (NRMP).

For more information, please see Recruitment and Selection Criteria.