Important Transplantation and Renal Fellowship Message from Hans Albin Gritsch, MD, Past President of USTRS
Organ transplantation is one of the major medical advances of the twentieth century. It is very rewarding to restore an excellent quality of life for patients with organ failure. Kidney transplantation is the most common solid organ transplant worldwide. End stage renal disease is increasing and urologists have played a major role in the development of this procedure.
Urology residency training in the United States or Canada is appropriate preparation for an abdominal organ (kidney, pancreas, liver, and small bowel) transplant fellowship position approved by the American Society of Transplant Surgeons (http://www.asts.org). There are approximately 20 fellowship training programs that are approved for Kidney transplant alone certification. The ASTS uses the National Resident Matching Program which opens in March one year prior to the intended July start date (http://www.nrmp.org). Residents interested in a career in transplantation should start looking at programs two years prior to graduation, but occasionally opportunities may be available outside the match which are posted on the ASTS website. The annual American Urological Association meeting is an excellent opportunity to meet urologists from around the world in this field (http://www.auanet.org). The Urogolic Society of Transplantation and Renal Surgery is a specialty society which also meets during the last few days of the AUA meeting (http://www.ustrs.org).
Experience with transplantation provides valuable experience in the management of critically ill surgical patients and open surgical techniques. Minimally invasive procedures are now standard for donor nephrectomy and are under investigation in other areas. Research in transplantation has increased our understanding of the immune system and has implications for oncology, infertility, infections, and urologic reconstruction.
In the US there are currently more open positions than applicants, so any urology resident that is interested in transplantation has a very good opportunity for fellowship training. Foreign graduates must check with each program to determine the eligibility criteria. The job market is challenging for all new transplant surgeons, but if one is willing to be flexible on location, great opportunities still exist.
Hans Albin Gritsch, MD
Surgical Director of Kidney Transplantation
Association Professor, Urology
David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
University of California, Los Angeles
Phone: (310) 794–7152
FAX: (310) 794–1666