Cardiovascular Diseases Fellowship

Message from the Director

Dr. Bassam Omar A three year program.

Our program offers a three-year general cardiology fellowship training accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). The training conforms to the recommendations of the American College of Cardiology 2014 Recommendations for Training in Adult Cardiovascular Medicine Core Cardiology Training (COCATS 4 [PDF]).

A comprehensive training experience.

The general goal of the program is to provide fellows with the highest quality training to prepare them for the most successful clinical, academic, and research careers. A highly effective structured combination of didactic, clinical and research teaching tools are utilized to ensure a comprehensive training experience. Our highly experienced full-time and adjunct faculty and staff are instrumental in achieving and maintaining a harmonious, well-balanced educational environment with focus on trainee well-being and scholarship.

Invasive services at a medium-sized facility.

The Fellowship Program is centered at the USA Health University Hospital, in Mobile, Alabama. The University Hospital is a 125 bed acute care facility. There is an active and busy emergency department, regional level 1 trauma service and an active cardiac surgery program. Invasive cardiac services offered include pericardiocentesis, all forms of diagnostic cardiovascular catheterization and coronary and peripheral vascular interventions including percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty, coronary atherectomy and coronary, renal and peripheral vascular stenting. A wide array of cardiac electrophysiology procedures, including permanent pacemaker and AICD implantation and interrogation are also available.

Non-invasive services are state-of-the-art.

Non-invasive services include a state-of-the-art fully digital cardiovascular laboratory. The non-invasive laboratory is equipped to provide resting ECGs, ambulatory ECGs, event monitors, signal-averaged ECGs, treadmill exercise tests, exercise nuclear stress tests as well as pharmacologic stress tests. The echocardiography laboratory is equipped with state-of-the-art technology to provide M-mode, two dimensional, three dimensional and Doppler echocardiography as well as color flow mapping and strain imaging. Transesophageal echocardiography and stress echocardiography (exercise and dobutamine) are available. Non-invasive vascular imaging is also available, offering all modalities of venous and arterial ultrasound imaging including carotid and transcranial Doppler studies.

A busy schedule.

We currently perform approximately 1,000 adult invasive cardiac procedures per year, 12,000 resting ECGs per year, 400 - 500 ambulatory ECGs or event monitor recordings per year, 1,000 stress tests per year and 2,000 echocardiographic studies per year. The Division of Cardiology provides inpatient consultation on approximately 250 patients per year and manages a cardiology inpatient service including coronary critical care. Outpatient cardiology services are provided at the USA Health University Hospital.

A qualified faculty.

The Division of Cardiology currently consists of several full-time key clinical faculty members who possess a wide breadth of clinical expertise covering the full spectrum of cardiac procedures and services. We have a strong affiliation with many practicing cardiologists in Mobile and cardiology faculty at the University of Alabama in Birmingham (UAB), allowing adjunctive training in invasive techniques, nuclear cardiology, cardiac CT, cardiac MR and cardiac electrophysiology.

Research in flexible rotations.

Exposure to cardiovascular research is mandatory in the training of cardiology fellows whether they are oriented towards private practice or academics. All fellows are expected to participate in divisional research activities. Realizing that the level of interest in research and career goals vary among fellows, the amount of time spent in research and the timing of research rotations are flexible. Every fellow has the opportunity to play a significant role in established research protocols. In addition, faculty mentors are available to help fellows develop their own research ideas into workable projects.

Apply through ERAS.

There are currently 6 fellows in our program, with two fellows accepted every year. Our program participates in the National Residency Matching Program (NRMP). Applications are only accepted through the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS). Applicants are highly encouraged to familiarize themselves with all application procedures and deadlines. Interviews are offered to highly qualified candidates by invitation only.

Thank you for your interest in our program.

Bassam Omar, M.D., Ph.D., FACC, FAHA
Professor of Medicine and Cardiology
Director, Cardiovascular Disease Fellowship Training Program
Interim Chief of Cardiology

 

▼   Overview

2018 Fellows with Dr. Bassam Omar and Donna GregoryThe University of South Alabama Division of Cardiology Fellowship Training Program appreciates your interest in our program. We offer a fully accredited three-year fellowship program. There are currently six fellows in the program.

During the course of training, the fellow will spend a minimum of:

  • Four to eight months in the cardiac catheterization laboratory
  • Two months in the cardiac electrophysiology laboratory
  • Nine months on the combined coronary care unit / consultation rotation
  • Eight months in noninvasive cardiac laboratories
  • Two months in nuclear cardiology
  • One month in advanced imaging
  • Two months in cardiovascular computed tomography
  • Elective rotations and research time are available.
  • Each fellow has one half-day outpatient clinic per week.

Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory

Our fellows become clinically competent in the performance and interpretation of all forms of diagnostic cardiac catheterization. They acquire experience in performing temporary pacing, permanent pacemaker implantation, AICDs, intra-aortic balloon pump insertion, pericardiocentesis, cardiac conduction studies and programmed electrical stimulation.

Non-Invasive Cardiac Laboratory

Fellows become clinically competent at consultative cardiology (inpatient and outpatient) and coronary care. They receive sufficient training to become clinically competent in all areas of electrocardiography in addition to transthoracic and transesophageal echocardiography. Sufficient exposure to nuclear cardiology and cardiovascular computed tomography may be obtained to fulfill the clinical requirements for certification, if desired. Cardiac MRI training for level II training may be obtained, if desired, during the third year of training through collaboration with the University of Alabama in Birmingham.

Research

2017 FellowsWe believe that exposure to cardiovascular research is essential to the training of cardiology fellows, whether they are oriented towards private practice or academics. All fellows are expected to participate in divisional research activities.

Realizing that the level of interest in research and career goals vary among fellows, our program is quite flexible as to the amount of time spent in research and timing of research rotations. Every fellow has the opportunity to play a significant role in established research protocols. In addition, faculty members are available to help fellows develop their own research ideas into workable protocols.

Advanced Training

Fellows receive variable exposure to advanced interventional and electrophysiological techniques, but they do not receive sufficient exposure during the three-year fellowship to independently perform these procedures. A fourth year of training in interventional cardiac catheterization or cardiac electrophysiology is recommended for those fellows who seek clinical competence in the performance of these procedures.

Benefits

The Cardiology Fellowship Program at USA provides fellows with annual leave of 28 days (20 week days and eight weekend days per ABIM guidelines). Fifty percent tuition reimbursement is available for family members for college courses taken at the University of South Alabama. 

To Apply

The University of South Alabama Cardiovascular Disease Training Program participates in ERAS. Please refer to ERAS for opening dates. You will find all information regarding the application process on the ERAS website.

Application Deadline: July 31

Interviews are by invitation only.

Visa sponsorship:  J-1 only

▼   List of Division of Cardiology Committees

Program Evaluation Committee (PEC)

Faculty Chair: Christopher Malozzi, DO
Fellow Representative: Sajjad Ahmad, MD 

Cardiology Research Committee (CRC) 

Faculty Chair: G. Mustafa Awan, MD
Fellow Representative: Muhammad Awan, MD 

Quality - Patient Safety Committee (QPSC)

Faculty Chair: G. Mustafa Awan, MD
Fellow Representative: Hassan Tahir, MD 

Educational Curriculum Committee (ECC)

Faculty Chair: Bassam Omar, MD, PhD
Fellow Representative: Sarina Sachdev, MD
Fellow Newsletter Editor: Landai Nguyen, MD 

Clinical Competency Committee (CCC)

Faculty Chair: Christopher Malozzi, DO
Faculty Members: G. Mustafa Awan, MD; Barbara Burckhartt, MD; Bassam Omar, MD, PhD

▼   Cardiology Research Committee (CRC)

Dr. Mustafa AwanCRC Chair: Dr. G. Mustafa Awan, MD
CRC Fellow Representative: Dr. Muhammad Awan, MD 

Background

Cardiology Research Committee (CRC) was established to help promote scholarly activities among cardiology faculty, staff and fellows, in addition to housestaff from other specialties, medical students and other trainees. CRC will serve as a forum to discuss ongoing research projects as well as to foster new ideas and disseminate knowledge. It also serves as a tool for the development of faculty and trainee mentorship program in the conduct of research.

Objectives

  • To promote and encourage scholarly activities among faculty, fellows, residents, medical students and other trainees.
  • Trainees, including fellows, residents and students, will be involved in clinical research projects under the direct supervision of a faculty.
  • To discuss the progress of ongoing research projects.
  • To discuss and propose new protocols and identify resources.
  • To discuss the various aspects of research projects including data collection, data analysis, presentation, and manuscript preparation.
  • Researchers will be able to present their completed work for guidance and critique, including posters and/ or oral presentations, before presentation at local or national meetings.

Attendance

  • Onsite cardiology fellows at USA Health University Hospital are required to attend the CRC meetings.
  • Trainees, including residents and students, who are actively involved in the research projects with the division of cardiology, are highly encouraged to attend the CRC meetings (if their schedule allows).
  • Meeting are open to all faculty and staff who desire to attend.

Meeting Schedule

  • CRC will meet every two months in the Heart Center Conference Room in the basement.
  • More frequent meetings will be scheduled on demand to coincide with local or national meetings for trainee preparation.

Immediate Goals

Trainees will learn the following skills:

  • Analyze the literature and identify knowledge gaps.
  • Write and submit a research proposal to IRB.
  • Establish a database by collecting and organizing data in easily searchable spreadsheets.
  • Analyze data with regards to trends and perform statistical analysis.
  • Compile findings in an oral presentation or poster presentation format.
  • Submit abstracts to local and national meetings.
  • Write manuscript and submit to peer-reviewed journals.

Future Goals

  • Improve the quality and productivity of research in the Division of Cardiology.
  • Mentor faculty and trainees, including fellows, residents and students in research.
  • Serve as a forum for discussion, improvement and expansion of research activities.
  • Establish a Division of Cardiology Research Day at the end of the academic year for trainees to present their current projects and progress.
  • Develop a “Research Award” for outstanding research work.
▼   Quality Improvement and Patient Safety Committee (QPSC)

Dr- Mustafa AwanQPSC Chair: Dr. G. Mustafa Awan, MD
QPSC Fellow Representative: Dr. Abimbola Shofu, MD 

Background

Quality-Patient Safety Committee (QPSC) was established to help promote quality improvement endeavors, especially those aiming at advancing patient safety, within the Division of Cardiology. The committee is tasked with reviewing patient outcomes available from national databases and current quality improvement projects, and making recommendations towards continuous quality monitoring and improvement. QPSC will also encourage all providers including cardiology faculty and fellows, in addition to house staff, to help start-up quality projects and engage in divisional, departmental and/or hospital wide quality improvement efforts. Help will be provided to present such projects at the divisional M&M conference, at national meetings and at the USA Resident and Fellow Exposition Day.

Objectives

  • Promote adoption of a safe patient environment.
  • Encourage reporting of any patient safety or quality concerns.
  • Monitor and provide feedback on patient handouts.
  • Monitor trainee and faculty sleep deprivation and burn-out.
  • Provide adequate coverage to providers when fatigue may interfere with safe patient care.
  • Extract data from ongoing quality improvement and patient safety projects for presentation at local, regional and national conferences.

Attendance

  • Onsite cardiology fellows at USA Health University Hospital are required to attend QPSC meetings.
  • Trainees, including residents and students, actively involved in quality improvement projects with the division of cardiology, are encouraged to attend the QPSC meetings.
  • Meeting are open to all faculty and staff who desire to attend.

Meetings Schedule

  • QPSC will meet quarterly in the Heart Center Conference Room in the basement.
  • Extra meetings may be scheduled to coincide with local or national conferences for trainee preparation.

Goals

Trainees will learn the following skills:

  • Quality of care and patient safety terminology (e.g. near miss, sentinel event..).
  • Perform cause root analysis.
  • Report a safety or quality of care issue anonymously.
  • Analyze their own performance and quality data.
  • Implement a PDSA project (Plan, Do, Study, Act), analyze data and recommend improvements.
  • Submit abstracts to local and national meetings.
  • Write manuscript and submit to peer-reviewed journals.

Future Goals

  • Improve the quality and patient safety in the Division of Cardiology and Department of Medicine as a whole.
  • Mentor faculty and trainees, including fellows, residents and students in quality and patient safety projects.
  • Serve as a forum for discussion, improvement and expansion of quality care and patient safety.
▼   Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) Projects

1. Electrocardiographic recording errors

Type of Project: Quality Improvement/Patient Safety/Research

Aim Statement:

  1. Assess the prevalence of ECG recording error
  2. Devise and implement an improvement plan to decrease errors by approximately 50%

Date Project Began: February 2018

Anticipated Completion Date: Ongoing

Clinical Location: University Hospital

Brief Description: Assessment of the extent of electrocardiographic recording errors and implementing quality improvement measures to minimize such errors

Contact Name: Bassam Omar, MD, PhD

Department/Division/Section/Program: Internal Medicine/Cardiology

Participating Fellow(s): 

  • Dr. Muhammad Awan, MD. PGY VI
  • Dr. Muhammad Rafique, MD. PGY IV

Prelim Findings/Publications/Presentations:

Mohammad Awan, Mazen Omar, Bassam A Omar, Christopher Malozzi, G. Mustafa Awan. ECG Recording Errors Prevalence in a Hospital Setting. Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes; Volume 11, Issue suppl_1. P244.

2. Race and Gender Gap in Blood Pressure Control

Type of Project: Quality Improvement/Research

Aim Statement:

  1. Assess BP control in clinic in different races and genders
  2. Devise and implement an improvement plan to decrease the gap in BP control among races/genders by 25%

Date Project Began: February 2018

Anticipated Completion Date: Ongoing

Clinical Location: University Hospital

Brief Description: Assessment of BP control according to ACC/AHA guidelines among patients of different races and genders to identify difference, and address such differences to narrow the gap

Contact Name: Christopher Malozzi, DO

Department/Division/Section/Program: Internal Medicine/Cardiology

Participating Fellow(s): Dr. Sajjad Ahmad, MD. PGY VI

Prelim Findings/Publications/Presentations:

Sajjad Ahmad, Fares Hujier, Bassam A Omar, G. Mustafa Awan, Christopher Malozzi. Blood Pressure Control According to Race and Gender in a University Cardiology Clinic. Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes; Volume 11, Issue suppl_1. P136.

3. Blood Pressure and Pulse Pressure Assessment Optimization

Type of Project: Quality Improvement/Patient Safety/Research

Aim Statement:

  1. Assess the effect of a rest period on proper assessment of BP and pulse pressure according to age and gender
  2. Implement BP measurement protocols to decrease the variation of BP and pulse pressure measurement by 25%

Date Project Began: August 2018

Anticipated Completion Date: Ongoing

Clinical Location: University Hospital

Brief Description: Assessment of the effect of a brief rest period (about 15 minutes) on BP and pulse pressure proper assessment among clinic patients with regards to age and gender to identify differences which can be addressed clinically in order to limit overdiagnosis and overtreatment of hypertension

Contact Name: G. Mustafa Awan, MD

Department/Division/Section/Program: Internal Medicine/Cardiology

Participating Fellow(s): Dr. Landai Nguyen, DO. PGY V

Prelim Findings/Publications/Presentations:

Landai Nguyen, Sarina Sachdev, Hassan Tahir, Bassam Omar, Farnoosh Rahimi, Christopher Malozzi, G. Mustafa Awan. Pulse Pressure Following a Brief Patient Rest Period: Age and Gender Variations. Accepted for Presentation. AHA Epi/Lifestyle Conference. March, 2019; Houston, TX

4. Identifying Predictors of Stroke on Electrocardiograms

Type of Project: Quality Improvement/Research

Aim Statement:

  1. Assess the prevalence of left ventricular hypertrophy on ECG in relation to stroke; compare with atrial fibrillation
  2. Implement methods to screen for LVH as a risk marker for stroke and identify etiology and treatment

Date Project Began: January 2018

Anticipated Completion Date: Ongoing

Clinical Location: University Hospital

Brief description: Assessment of the prevalence and significant of LVH on ECG in patients with stroke or TIA and whether this can be use as a predictor which may be screened for or treated depending on etiology to avoid cerebral events

Contact Name: Christopher Malozzi, DO

Department/Division/Section/Program: Internal Medicine/Cardiology

Participating Fellow(s): Dr. Hassan Tahir, MD. PGY V

Prelim Findings/Publications/Presentations:

Hassan Tahir, Bassam Omar, G. Mustafa Awan and Christopher Malozzi. Prevalence of Left Ventricular Hypertrophy versus Atrial Fibrillation on Electrocardiogram in Stroke Patients. Circulation. 2018;137: AP356.

5. Risk Factor Control in Different Clinic Settings

Type of Project: Quality Improvement/Research

Aim Statement:

  1. Assess the control of BP and lipids in attending versus fellow clinics
  2. Implement methods to narrow the gap in control of risk factors in different clinic setting

Date Project Began: January 2018

Anticipated Completion Date: Ongoing

Clinical Location: University Hospital

Brief Description: Assessment of the level of control of BP and lipids in faculty and fellow clinics with different patient population and the challenge of insurance status of patients.

Contact Name: Bassam Omar, MD, PhD

Department/Division/Section/Program: Internal Medicine/Cardiology

Participating Fellow(s): Dr. Sarina Sachdev, MD. PGY V

Prelim Findings/Publications/Presentations:

Sarina Sachdev, MD, Bassam Omar, MD, G. Mustafa Awan, MD and Christopher Malozzi, DO. Blood Pressure and Lipid Control Variation in Faculty versus Trainee Clinics. Circulation. 2018;137: AP154.

▼   Division of Cardiology Conferences

Tuesday Noon: Fellow EKG/ Arrhythmia Conference

Wednesday Noon:
Fellow Echocardiography Conference: First and Third Wednesday of the month
Fellow Nuclear Conference; Second and Fourth Wednesdays of the month

Thursday Noon: Fellow Core Curriculum Conference

Friday Morning Conference (7:45 a.m. - 8:30 a.m.): Fellow Cath Conference

Friday Noon Conference (11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.): Division of Cardiology Grand Rounds (CME provided)

Daily Afternoon Resident/ Student Lectures: (2:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.)

▼   Contact Information

Donna Gregory
Cardiology Fellowship Program Coordinator
USA Health University Hospital
2451 University Hospital Drive, Suite 10-B, Mobile, AL 36617
Phone: (251) 471-7923
Email: dgregory@health.southalabama.edu