Mohammed Ilyas, Mohammed Iyoob (fellow 2016-2017)
I completed my colon and rectal fellowship from Henry Ford Health in 2017. Since then I have been working as a community colorectal surgeon for a multi-specialty hospital in Southern Illinois. I am their first-ever colorectal surgeon, and I established their first-ever robotic surgery program in the region. To be a solo colorectal surgeon in a community hospital dealing with the entire spectrum of colon and rectal pathologies require adequate training and preparation. Over the last 3 years, I was able to achieve some of the best surgical outcomes with complex colorectal cases independently. Good surgical training during fellowship forms the basis for your comfort and confidence in your independent practice.
Colorectal Fellowship at Henry Ford Health offers multiple advantages in your preparation for independent colorectal surgical practice. To put it succinctly, the training is tailored to the needs of the colorectal resident while meeting all the prescribed metrics. The fellowship offers you a very appropriate mix of open, laparoscopic, and robotic cases. Similarly, the mix of anorectal and colorectal pathologies, including early and advanced cancer cases, IBD, pelvic floor pathology prepares you for independent practice. You also have sufficient research and teaching opportunities without impeding your advanced surgical training. The endoscopic training is sufficient to make you comfortable with both basic and advanced endoscopy. The methodology and schemata practiced in gradually advancing to independent operating are very appropriate and helpful in churning you out as a fully trained colorectal surgeon.
The faculty is very professional and friendly, and they end up becoming some of your best friends in life. Also, downtown Detroit and the suburbs of Detroit are a great place to live and raise your family during your fellowship. I consider Henry Ford Colorectal Fellowship as one of the best fellowships available across North America.
Asai, Megumi (fellow 2018-2019)
What attracted me to Henry Ford Hospital was how happy the previous fellows were. Although the case volume, complexity and balance were one of the most important aspects in choosing a fellowship program, I wanted to feel supported and truly enjoy my last year of training. It didn’t take long to confirm that my gut feeling was right.
What I loved the most is the flexibility of the schedule. It is totally tailored to the fellow’s interests, while following ACGME requirements. If you feel like you need more experience in anorectal cases or colonoscopy, you can choose it over abdominal surgery. The case volume and diversity in pathology and type of surgery are excellent and there is almost nothing you can’t do after graduating from this fellowship. It does not matter if it’s an open, laparoscopic, robotic or complex transrectal surgery, you will be prepared.
Fellowship is not just about surgery. Henry Ford Hospital will teach you everything about colon and rectal surgery: how to run the clinic, billing and coding, how to approach each disease in different settings, when to and when not to operate, and how to coordinate care with different services. You will be ready to be an independent and competent colon and rectal surgeon with a fully developed skill set.
Elizabeth Wood (fellow 2019-2020)
I was initially drawn to the program because of the wide variety of operative cases and disease pathology here in Detroit. There are seven staff surgeons who have trained across the country, and I value their experience and unique approaches to different diseases. I truly received a well-rounded education. There is an excellent balance of endoscopy, clinic, anorectal, minimally invasive and open surgeries. You do see bread and butter cases, however there are plenty of very sick patients with complex surgical issues.
The attending surgeons, nurses, and medical assistants that you work with on a daily basis are wonderful. There is a sense of camaraderie within the group and everyone is extremely supportive of your education. This fellowship offers a significant amount of autonomy and flexibility. On any given day, there are cases in the OR, colonoscopies, or clinic, and I am able to pick and choose what I want to do. As the fellow, you work with an intern, an advanced practice nurse, and a chief resident. You are responsible for assigning cases. This freedom allows you to tailor the fellowship to your own interests and learning needs.
There are formal didactics built into the fellowship. On Monday morning, there is a fellow-driven conference where chapters from the ASCRS textbook are discussed. This keeps you on a reading schedule that ensures the entire text is covered over the course of the year. On Wednesdays, we participate in morbidity and mortality conference with the general surgery department. On Fridays, there is a multidisciplinary GI tumor board.
Henry Ford is an exceptional place that has exceeded my expectations for training. Even with a 3 month hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I have met all of my curriculum requirements, thanks to the tireless effort of my attendings. I know I am ready to enter practice as an independent colorectal surgeon, but I also know that the relationships I have forged here will last a lifetime and I am grateful for the mentorship I have received. It has been a privilege to be trained at Henry Ford Hospital.