Visit the NEW CoM Homepage |  University of Kentucky |  UK HealthCare |  Give to Medicine |  Diversity  
UK College of Medicine logo Link to the College of Medicine web site
  • ed3
  • rs1
  • cs
  • ad2

Internal Medicine - Gastroenterology

Internal Medicine

Division of
Digestive Diseases
and Nutrition


Gastroenterology Fellowship Program

Program Information and Application Instructions

The Division of Digestive Diseases and Nutrition at the University of Kentucky conducts a 3 year training program in clinical and academic gastroenterology.   Specialized training during the third year is available in advanced endoscopy, hepatology and inflammatory bowel diseases.


New UK HospitalThe primary site for the training program is the University of Kentucky Chandler Medical Center.  This world-class new facility, which opened in the summer of 2011, establishes a new standard of excellence in health care.  From cutting-edge medical and information technology to eco-sensitive green roofs to an over-the-top art collection, UK’s astonishing Chandler Hospital takes a back seat to none.  Planning is underway to create an equally advanced new endoscopy suite on the new hospital’s main floor; but until then, UK’s existing Endoscopy Center is fully equipped to perform the complete array of standard and advanced procedures, affording comprehensive training opportunities.  And ambulatory care is provided in the recently-renovated Digestive Health Program clinic, again providing an excellent venue for patient care and learning.

A variety of clinical experiences is also provided at two additional training sites.  The Lexington VA Hospital is immediately adjacent to the Chandler Hospital and includes a complete endoscopy facility as well as recently renovated outpatient clinic space.  UK Good Samaritan Hospital, located a few blocks away but still on the University main campus, provides an acute care experience with a community hospital flavor.  It all adds up to a practice environment which is ideally suited to training gastroenterologists who will be ready to face the challenges of 21st century medicine.


Dr. Willem de VilliersBuildings alone don’t make for academic excellence.  That’s why we’re pleased to have a gastroenterology faculty who possess a full spectrum of clinical expertise, and who consider education a top priority.  Our new Division Director, Dr. Terrance Barrett, is internationally recognized for his expertise in inflammatory bowel disease.  Dr. Luis Peņa, our Director of Outpatient Clinics, is a seasoned advanced endoscopist and was formerly Program Director, while the current Program Director, Dr. Nicholas Nickl, is nationally recognized in the areas of ERCP and EUS.  And Hepatology Director Dr. Paul Angulo is widely respected for his ground-breaking work in liver diseases.  All four consistently receive top marks from fellows for their educational skills and enthusiasm. 

We continue to be gratified that formalized and anonymous evaluations by our fellows as well as exit interviews upon completion of fellowship training express a high level of satisfaction with the educational experience, including praise for the faculty for their approachability and passion for teaching. 

The faculty of other Departments strongly impacts any gastroenterology educational experience, and our Division also enjoys excellent collaborative and collegial interactions with these important colleagues, which serve to enhance the educational opportunities for trainees.  These include a dedicated GI pathologist, who conducts a monthly teaching conference as part of our GI Grand Rounds series; an excellent and well-equipped radiology department with physicians who are adept at diagnostic and therapeutic radiologic procedures; and the newly developed Minimally Invasive Surgery Center, whose outstanding surgeons provide superior surgical expertise in all types of laparoscopic procedures.


Dr. Benjamin BrysonGastroenterology is a specialty which embraces both the difficult intellectual challenges of internal medicine and the gratifying hands-on experiences of endoscopic practice.  Our training program likewise digs deeply into both ends of this spectrum; but regardless of the topic, the educational focus is on critical thinking and decision analysis rather than just current facts and techniques.  On the procedural side, fellows receive abundant experience at all three hospitals, but each has a different style of practice and each a different spectrum of disease.  Fellows completing standard endoscopy training uniformly possess complete facility and comfort in routine procedures, including skills any busy practitioner will need such as hemostasis and gastrostomy.  Those who go on to advanced endoscopy training in ERCP or EUS acquire technical facility in these examinations, with procedure counts greatly exceeding the training standards recommended in the literature and by professional society guidelines.

But gastroenterology extends well beyond the world of endoscopy, and our trainees receive exhaustive (and sometimes exhausting) instruction in the details of state-of-the-art medical practice.  Hepatology, inflammatory bowel diseases, GI motility, pancreatology – all are covered in the course of the three year curriculum, including both didactic instruction and patient care experience at the bedside.

Our conference schedule has recently been re-vamped to allow a return to the “good old days” when intellectually stimulating teaching presentations were a central part of any academic program.  GI Grand Rounds on Friday mornings includes basic sciences presentations by the faculty, clinical conferences presented by fellows, a stimulating GI journal club with input from our biostatistician, and research talks presented by everyone.  Thursday afternoon’s Core Curriculum Conference is the setting for clinically oriented conferences in endoscopy, hepatology, inflammatory bowel diseases, and GI radiology.  And throughout the year are ad-hoc conferences on practice management, teaching and learning techniques, and quality/safety improvement.

After three years of training, Fellows have been exposed to virtually every corner of GI medicine.   


The University of Kentucky, located in Lexington, is in the heart of the Bluegrass State.  With a population of about 300,000, Lexington boasts scenic and quiet neighborhoods, good public and private schools, a low crime rate, and great restaurants and shopping.  Sports excitement can be found at UK basketball and football games and the Keeneland thoroughbred race track. Great outdoor activities abound in Kentucky, from the Daniel Boone National Forest in the mountains of eastern Kentucky to almost countless nearby lakes and rivers.  Simply driving through the countryside surrounding Lexington is an amazing tour of beautiful vistas and historic horse farms. Fellows and their families find living in Lexington to be an enjoyable bonus to the excellent GI training program.


Exit interviews with finishing gastroenterology fellows consistently find a high level of satisfaction with the quality of the educational experience.   And all gastroenterology trainees completing the program during the last 23 years have achieved Board Certification in gastroenterology by the American Board of Internal Medicine.  In addition, the program has maintained full accreditation with the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).  At the most recent site visit of the ACGME Residence Review Committee (RRC) in January, 2007, the review committee commended the program for its demonstrated compliance with the ACGME’s requirements for Graduate Medical Education, and the program's first review under the ACGME's new Next Accreditation System has maintained full accreditation.


View our brochure with more details by clicking here.

To visit our web page with instructions and information about the application process as well as a time line, click here.

For more information send an e-mail inquiry to:

Dr. Nicholas Nickl, GI Fellowship Program Director

Follow us on facebook

Comments and Corrections |  An Equal Opportunity University |  Jobs  |  Terms, Conditions and Accessibility Statements   |  Privacy
© 2012, University of Kentucky College of Medicine, 138 Leader Ave., Lexington, Kentucky, USA 40506-9983
Student Affairs: (859) 323-5261 · Admissions: (859) 323-6161 · Clinical Questions: (859) 257-1000 · Dean's Office: (859) 323-6582
Page last updated Friday, July 18, 2014