AASLD and ABIM Announce New Transplant Hepatology Training Pathway

AASLD and ABIM Announce New Transplant Hepatology Training Pathway

The American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) and ABIM are pleased to announce permanent acceptance of a combined training pathway leading to initial certification in gastroenterology (GI) and transplant hepatology.

Under the new integrated competency-based training pathway, trainees can become certified in both GI and transplant hepatology after a three-year, rather than four-year, training period. This option is ideal for those who are interested in a clinical hepatology career. Training requirements include 24 months of gastroenterology fellowship, of which 18 months are full-time clinical training, and 12 months of clinical transplant hepatology fellowship.

Now in its eighth year, the competency-based pilot training program has enrolled 91 fellows in 37 programs. This represents 25% of all transplant hepatology fellows since 2012 and over two-thirds of the 54 currently accredited transplant hepatology fellowship programs in the US.

 “This new pathway is the result of many years of effort and collaboration between ABIM and AASLD to pilot an innovative, trainee-focused, competency-based training pathway for those who want a clinical hepatology career,” said Oren Fix, MD, MSc, FAASLD, Chair, Pilot Steering Task Force. “AASLD has administered this pilot program since 2012 and we are pleased that ABIM has approved it as a new permanent pathway.”

Furman McDonald, MD, MPH, ABIM Senior Vice President for Academic and Medical Affairs, added, “We are very proud to have partnered with AASLD in this effort to offer a new training option for fellows while supporting ABIM’s mission to enhance the quality of health care by certifying internists and subspecialists who demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and attitudes essential for excellent patient care.”

The traditional four-year training pathway (three years of GI fellowship followed by one year of transplant hepatology fellowship) will remain an option and is especially suitable for trainees who are interested in an academic hepatology career and/or a career with a significant research focus.

Applicants interested in the new three-year, dual-certification GI/transplant hepatology program should discuss their interest with their GI program director as early as possible and review ABIM policies for the new combined pathway.  This new training pathway is only available prospectively to those completing combined and integrated training in GI and transplant hepatology at the same institution. Requests for retrospective credit outside of the prospectively designated combined training pathway will not be approved by ABIM.

ACGME program requirements for GI will be revised to incorporate the new dual certification pathway and will soon be available for public comment. The new requirements may be implemented by ACGME as early as July 2020 but possibly in July 2021. Details will be posted on AASLD’s training webpage as they become available. The success of the pilot program is a landmark in competency-based medical education that will pave the way for future innovations in training. The new dual certification pathway will help ensure patients with liver disease will have access to expert hepatology care for the foreseeable future.

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