In September, the CAMC Institute for Academic Medicine received
approval to establish a new interventional cardiology fellowship by
the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, which
is the accrediting body for all graduate medical education training
programs in the country. CAMC will accept one new fellow each year for the 12 month program beginning in July 2022. 

“To achieve accreditation, academic institutions must prove they
have skilled providers with the expertise to provide high quality care,
and they must be able to translate that clinical work into academic
work, like training and research,” said Doug Knutson, MD, CAMC
Chief Academic Officer. “CAMC has a solid history of medical
education and research and has proven it has the infrastructure to
support the training and research required for our residents and
fellows to succeed.”

CAMC has long been an academic teaching hospital, currently
hosting 16 residency and fellowship training programs with more
than 180 training positions. Its physicians and clinicians treat
thousands of patients annually from throughout southern West
Virginia and neighboring states. Among its programs, it has built
successful vascular surgery residency and fellowship programs, a
pulmonary and critical care fellowship, and in 2019, it began a new
cardiovascular disease fellowship.


“This interventional cardiology fellowship feels like the next stage in
the evolution of our cardiovascular program,” Knutson said. “As an
academic medical institution, we have an obligation to provide a full
complement of services that ensures we can provide specialized
care to fill the health care needs of our community.”
“CAMC has been on the cutting edge of interventional cardiology
for more than 20 years,” said Aravinda Nanjundappa, MD, director
of the interventional cardiology fellowship. “We have a very strong
faculty, who are experts in their field and can give our fellows
knowledge and experience they won’t find anywhere else in the
country.”
“The history that CAMC has had being known for cardiovascular
services in the area has really set the stage for us to develop a
training program. It will ensure we have a good pipeline of providers
for the future,” Knutson said. “The best thing about having a group
of excellent providers is that they have a lot of information to share,
and if they can share that information with the next generation it
perpetuates a really solid program.”


“When we build academic programs, we take a look at the needs in
our community. We look at the disease burden that we have here in
southern West Virginia and identify areas where we might have gaps
in care, where we may struggle to find providers, or where wait times
are too long, and ask, ‘How could an academic program support
that?’” Knutson said. “In supporting the academic mission in areas
where we have expertise and a long-term need, we really can make
a difference.”


West Virginia leads the country in many cardiac-related
comorbidities, including obesity, diabetes and heart disease. “Our
doctors are held to the highest standard, and when patients entrust
us with their health, we have an obligation to give them the best
care,” Nanjundappa said. “That is what I want these fellows to
understand.”


The primary goal of the program is to train fellows to perform at the
highest level in the field of interventional cardiology, including the
development of clinical judgment in not only selecting patients, but
also performing interventional procedures with skill and expertise.
“Our goal must always be quality – selecting the right patients for the
right procedure, discussing treatment options with the care team and
the patient, understanding medications and potential complications,
ensuring we are equipped to handle possible complications – and
doing all of this in a kind and compassionate way for our patients,”
Nanjundappa said.


Fellows accepted to the program can expect a curriculum that
includes extensive training in the operating rooms, performing
cardiac catheterization angioplasties and other interventional
procedures, as well as advanced clinical experience, participation in
clinical trials and studying the latest research from around the world.
CAMC’s status as a teaching hospital allows the institution to remain
at the forefront of quality care and innovative research. Research
includes clinical trials looking at new treatments, as well as studies
using hospital data to learn how to improve patient care.
“Research is a critical component to what we do as an academic
medical center,” Knutson said. “It provides treatment opportunities
for our patients that they otherwise wouldn’t have access to, and it
allows our providers to support and advance their skills as well as
their specific fields of medicine.”


“Our hope is to attract capable, qualified doctors to come to West
Virginia and stay here,” Nanjundappa said. “I’ve been here almost
15 years and there’s never been a day of looking back. I’ve loved
working with all of my colleagues, I’m thankful to all of the senior
physicians who have helped me along the way, and I’m eager to do
the same for others.”