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Gastroenterology Fellowship (Minnesota)

Amanda K. Cartee, M.D.

What attracted you to gastroenterology?

When I was a first year medical student, I shadowed a physician who always provided helpful career advice. At one point, she told me that people often pick a specialty for the wrong reason. I could not hide my confusion. She explained how each time she talks to a physician about how they chose their specialty, it often starts with a teacher or mentor who was enthusiastic about and loved their job or a touching personal experience, and rarely if ever about the pathophysiology of a condition. This taught me that medicine is personal, for the patients and the providers, and the importance of mentorship.

If I sat and talked with her today, my reasons for an interest in gastroenterology would be for those same reasons. The gastroenterologists who taught the second year medical school course were enthusiastic, excellent teachers, and loved seeing patients. I wanted to emulate them. Then, I did several clinical rotations in gastroenterology, and I was hooked. I enjoyed taking care of the patients in the hospital and the clinic. I learned so much from these attending physicians — the pathophysiology and treatment of the patients’ conditions and the importance of genuine care. My continued experience with patients and supervising physicians throughout residency and fellowship only reinforces the decision I made. I love coming in to work every day to work with my colleagues and help make my patients’ lives a little better.

If I sat and talked with this mentor today about how I chose gastroenterology, I imagine she would probably smile, nod her head, and say these were the right reasons. Although, she may be a little disappointed I did not choose nephrology.

What attracted you to Mayo Clinic for fellowship training?

During residency, I had the opportunity to work on several research projects with Dr. Joseph Murray and developed an interest in celiac disease. As I mentioned above, the people I have come across have been instrumental in shaping my future. Like the attending gastroenterologists I worked with in medical school, Dr. Murray’s enthusiasm for gastroenterology and celiac disease was contagious. While I was applying at different fellowship training programs, I was looking for a program where I could further develop this interest. Mayo Clinic has a Celiac Disease Center and is actively involved in clinical and basic science celiac disease research. The second year of fellowship is a dedicated research year, and continuity clinic during that year can be tailored to your clinical interest. I knew this would allow me to develop expertise in celiac disease with strong mentorship.

What makes the Mayo Clinic Gastroenterology Fellowship unique?

There are many factors, but I will focus only on a few! First, as a gastroenterology fellow at Mayo Clinic you have your own patient panel that you follow throughout your fellowship. When you meet a patient on the hospital service, you see the patient for all outpatient follow up. This allows you see the progression and natural history of gastrointestinal diseases, have continuity, and build rapport with your patients.

Second, the fellows work with medical school students and residents on the inpatient GI service. Daily morning teaching sessions are the responsibility of the fellows. This provides you with ample opportunities to refine case-based teaching skills. In addition, there are workshops that you can attend as a fellow that focus on clinical teaching.

Lastly, the opportunities and resources for research at Mayo Clinic are unparalleled and range from epidemiology projects through the Rochester Epidemiology Project to clinical trials at the Center for Clinical and Translational Research. As a fellow, I have been able to take advantage of excellent mentorship and these resources to study the activation of the innate immune system in subjects with celiac disease.

Anything surprise you about Mayo's program?

The staff at Mayo Clinic are always approachable and willing to review a case with you. They truly have an open door policy.

What is living in Rochester like for you?

Moving to Rochester was an easy transition — you are 15 minutes from anywhere in town (unless you are lost), no traffic, and about an hour from Minneapolis. There are numerous bike and walking trails. The summers are mild, the fall colors are stunning, and you will be guaranteed a white Christmas!

What does your future look like right now?

I am completing my second year of fellowship and will graduate in June, 2019. I hope to find an academic position where I can continue my clinical and research interest in celiac disease.